Winston Churchill Treen V-Sign, 1941
Winston Churchill Treen V-Sign, 1941
Winston Churchill Treen V-Sign, 1941
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Winston Churchill Treen V-Sign, 1941

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Height: 13cm (5in)

Caved wood. A Second World War patriotic treen hand modelled as a hand making the two finger V-for Victory salute.  

This patriotic wartime item was emblamatic of Churchill and his unshakeable faith in victory over the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. In a BBC broadcast in January 1941 the director of Belgian-French programming suggested that Belgians use a ‘V’ for victoire and vrijheid for freedom as a rallying emblem against German occupation. The emblematic use of the letter ‘V’ subsequently spread as graffiti throughout occupied Europe. Buoyed by this success, the BBC started the ‘V for Victory’ campaign and used an audible Morse code ‘V’ as the call-sign for its foreign language programmes to occupied Europe. 

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In July 1941 Churchill referred approvingly to the ‘V’ for Victory campaign in a speech and started using it himself (often with trademark cigar between the fingers) and sometimes with the back of the hand outward as a mocking snub to the common enemy. Other allied leaders jumped on the bandwagon including de Gaulle who used it in every speech until 1969. Meanwhile, as the Germans were not able not remove all daubed ‘V’ signs in occupied territory, they also adopted it as a German symbol, painting their own ‘V's on walls, vehicles and adding a massive ‘V’ on the Eiffel Tower.