V is for Victory


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It didn’t take much to unite the citizens of allied nations against the Nazi’s, just one letter or four simple notations. Those familiar with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony or Looney Tunes know it by heart. Three short notes followed by one long. Likewise, in Morse Code, three dots followed by one dash represents the letter V.

An article by icons.org sums it up best, but essentially by throwing up a V sign, painting a V, honking a V, or clapping a V to children, was a protest used in Nazi occupied territories during WWII. The idea was attributed to Victor de Laveleye who might have had his own interests in promoting the letter, nevertheless his message was broadcast over the BBC network on January 14th 1941 via shortwave radio.

Music has also played a part in the history of shortwave radios, espionage and Numbers Stations. Many of the Numbers Stations broadcasts begin with a few bars of a familiar melody. Usually a nationalistic folk tune. Speculation suggests that this would alert the spy to the incoming message, and to ready themselves to take down the incoming code. Clandestine documents this by using these melodies as source music through much of the documentary and narrative parts of the film.