V for Victory

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 11 15:03:37 UTC 2001

Way back on 08/06/2001 1:20:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Barry Popik wrote:

>  Winston Churchill gave the "V" sign (for Victory) in 1941.  One web site
says that
> it was invented that year by Belgian propagandist Victor De Lavalaye.
>  However, as I've posted, I've found the sign in the food service and
>  industry ("table for 2?"),

Dr. Doolittle in his memoirs quotes from a _Los Angeles Times_ article
describing a military airshow held November 25, 1918:

"...Then forty of the spidery Thomas-Morse Scouts took the air and the huge
squadron moved over Point Loma, gradually working into the form of a huge V,
which we all know stands for Victory."

{General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle _I Could Never Be So Lucky Again_ New
York: Bantam Books, 1991.  Quote is from pp 44f of the Bantam paperback
edition, ISGN 0-553-58464-2).

The obvious conjecture is that "V for Victory" is a World War I slogan that
was recycled for World War II.

Also from the same book, for those interested in tracking down the origin of
the title "Department of Defense" (or the usage of the word "Defense" to mean
"Armed Forces"), Doolittle quotes General "Billy" Mitchell as stating in 1921
"An efficient solution of our defense needs will not exist until a Department
of National Defense is organized."  (Mitchell,  "Report of the Operation of
the First Provisional Air Brigade in Naval Ordnance Tests", August 29, 1921.

       - James A. Landau

P.S. Another use of the "V" sign:  in Washington DC a taxicab from Virginia
is not allowed to pick up fares within DC unless the fare is going to
Virginia.  (A similar rule applies to Maryland taxicabs.)  Hence Virginia
cabs will frequently refuse to be flagged down by potential customers in DC,
since the odds are the would-be rider is illegal (i.e. not going to
Virignia.)  One day someone in DC who wanted to go to Virginia saw a Virginia
cab approaching and successully hailed it by holding up two finters in a

                          - Jim Landau

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