A Belgian refugee named Victor de Laveleye first had the idea. In a shortwave broadcast from London to his countrymen he asked them to chalk the letter V (for victoire) in public places as a sign of confidence in their deliverance.

That was six months ago. Nobody took the idea very seriously then—except in Belgium, then in The Netherlands and France. But last week, as news leaked out of Europe, the world awoke to the fact that something almost as frivolous as a parlor game might play an important part in international politics....

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