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American WWII poster stamp promoting the V for Victory campaign

Object | Accession Number: 2018.233.1

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    American WWII poster stamp promoting the V for Victory campaign

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    Brief Narrative
    “V for Victory” campaign poster stamp distributed in the United States during World War II. Poster stamps were collectable stamps, slightly larger than postage stamps, with designs similar to posters. Although they were not valid for postage, poster stamps could be affixed to letters and envelopes as a means for fundraising, propaganda, and educational purposes. In early 1941, the “V for Victory” campaign was conceived by Victor de Laveleye, who broadcast for the BBC in German-occupied Belgium. He proposed the idea to his audience because “V” is the first letter of the French and English words for “victory” (victoire and victory), as well as the Flemish and Dutch word for “freedom” (vrijeid). He then called on his listeners to write the V everywhere as an act of resistance against the occupiers. The idea caught on and spread to the Netherlands, northern France, and England. Later, it was observed that the Morse code for “V,” three dots and a dash (. . . —) were coincidentally the first three notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. British radio broadcaster, Douglas E. Ritchie (broadcasting under the name, Colonel V. Britton) further encouraged the V as an act of resistance, and used Beethoven’s symphony as the theme song for his program. It was so popular, Winston Churchill began flashing the V sign with his index and middle finger in public. The campaign caught on in the still neutral United States, and in the late summer of 1941, ephemera began appearing with “V for Victory” and the Morse code “V” printed on them. After America entered the war in December 1941, the campaign was officially made a part of the government’s efforts.
    V for Victory
    publication/distribution:  1941 August-1945
    distribution: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Forrest James Robinson, Jr.
    front, center within image, printed, blue ink : V / FOR VICTORY
    front, bottom, printed, blue ink : STARS & STRIPES FOREVER

    Physical Details

    War Propaganda
    Object Type
    Poster stamps (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular poster stamp on white paper with a graphic design, perforated edges, and an adhesive backing. The stamp features a central blue letter “V” flanked by two waving American flags above a soaring blue eagle with outstretched wings and a blue line of text along the bottom edge. There is adhesive residue on the back.
    overall: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    United States.

    Administrative Notes

    The poster stamp was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Forrest J. Robinson, Jr.
    Record last modified:
    2024-03-19 09:20:17
    This page:

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