John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘War Is Over’ poster campaign is launched

12.00pm, Monday 15 December 1969 (44 years ago)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono flew to Toronto, Canada on this day to begin the next stage of their peace campaign. To coincide with the launch, huge posters and billboards were erected in 12 countries proclaiming “War is over! If you want it. Happy Christmas from John & Yoko”.

The campaign was launched in 12 major cities: New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Helsinki. The posters were white with stark black lettering. Two years later Lennon turned the message into the basis for his Christmas song Happy Xmas (War Is Over).

In some of the countries the message was translated into the native language. In Toronto, 30 roadside billboards were set up, as well as thousands of posters and handbills. Only in London were the posters defaced.

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