The Home Front
4 of 16

V is for Victory

NE Governor Griswold & Girl Scouts in a V for Victory
Gov. Dwight Griswold buying war bonds from a Girl Scout Troup on the steps of the Capitol in Lincoln.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2183-1944-0520-1

The V for victory image was one of the most powerful propagandistic images. It began in 1940 when a Belgian refugee, Victor de Laveleye, made short-wave radio broadcasts from London to his country. He suggested that Belgians mark the letter V for Victorie in public places to show their defiance of the German occupation. The V symbol caught on because of its versatility: in Dutch the V stood for Vryheid (freedom); in Serbian for Vitestvo (heroism); in Czech for Vitezstoi (victory).

However, Germany also adopted the symbol, declaring that "V" stood for Viktoria — the German word for victory. Winston Churchill frequently flashing the "V" for victory in England during the war. Or who could forget President Nixon boarding the airplane, after he resigned in disgrace in 1974, turning to the crowd, and flashing the "V" for victory sign?

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