A good background article on the history of the "V for Victory" sign from the Washington Post:
From Churchill to Libya: How the V symbol went viral
By Nathaniel Zelinsky, Friday, March 25, 8:41 PM
As coalition planes began enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya, rebels in the streets of Benghazi celebrated by cheering and extending their index and middle fingers in the air in the V symbol — a ubiquitous and unmistakable sign of . . . what? Victory? Peace? Celebration? All of the above?
The story of the V symbol spans cultures, time zones and decades. From World War II through the Arab spring of 2011, it has been used by the powerful and the powerless, by young and old, by warriors and peacemakers. Its meaning has evolved, yet it is understood around the world as a symbol of resistance. A brief history:
In a series of BBC broadcasts in 1941, Douglas Ritchie, better known as the radio figure “Colonel Britton,” urged resisters in German-occupied lands to take up a V sign as “the symbol of the unconquerable will of the occupied territories.” Soon, underground movements started chalking V’s onto Nazi tanks all over the continent...
Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/from-churchill-to-libya-how-the-v-symbol-went-viral/2011/03/18/AFzPiYYB_story.html