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Buoyed by this success, the BBC started the "V for Victory" campaign, for which they put in charge the assistant news editor Douglas Ritchie posing as “Colonel Britton”.Ritchie suggested an audible V using its Morse code rhythm (three dots and a dash).As a result, there is a tendency to shy away from discussing it in detail. On 14 January 1941, Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-language broadcasts on the BBC (1940–44), suggested in a broadcast that Belgians use a V for (Dutch: "freedom") as a rallying emblem during the Second World War.It is "known to be dirty" and is passed on from generation to generation by people who simply accept it as a recognised obscenity without bothering to analyse it... In the BBC broadcast, de Laveleye said that "the occupier, by seeing this sign, always the same, infinitely repeated, [would] understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure." Within weeks chalked up Vs began appearing on walls throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France.He maintained that he passed this to friends at the BBC, and to the British Naval Intelligence Division through his connections in MI5, eventually gaining the approval of Winston Churchill. President Richard Nixon used the gesture to signal victory in the Vietnam War, an act which became one of his best-known trademarks.Crowley noted that his 1913 publication Magick featured a V-sign and a swastika on the same plate. He also used it on his departure from public office following his resignation in 1974.The article attracted a number of complaints about its alleged racism, but the now defunct Press Council rejected the complaints after the editor of The Sun stated that the paper reserved the right to use vulgar abuse in the interests of Britain.

Shortly thereafter, it also became adopted as a gesture used in photographs, especially in Japan.

Protesters against the Vietnam War (and subsequent anti-war protests) and counterculture activists adopted the gesture as a sign of peace.

Because the hippies of the day often flashed this sign (palm out) while saying "Peace", it became popularly known (through association) as the peace sign..

As the rousing opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony had the same rhythm, the BBC used this as its call-sign in its foreign language programmes to occupied Europe for the rest of the war.

The more musically educated also understood that it was the Fate motif "knocking on the door" of the Third Reich.

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