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Navajo Indians

Why were Navajo Indians important for the success of the US in the Pacific?

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06/03/2014

The use of bilingual Navajo- English speakers to create codes that were able to be rapidly encoded and decoded but unbreakable to non-Navajo speakers, meant military could send real time battle orders over open radios to direct assaults across the Pacific. Other methods of coding took 20 to 30 minute per message at the time. Using a simple code in a unknown language with bilingual speakers made rapid communication possible. It is almost impossible to decode an unknown language. Also as a extra benefit, Navajo is tonal with some very unusual and difficult consonants. For a non-native speaker to replicate it or even transcribe it would be very difficult. A non- native speaker would be immediately obvious. There was no code book to capture as we did with one of the Japanese Naval codes. There was no mistakes they could make that would help decoded them as we used to break another Japanese coded. Also, even if a Navajo speaker was captured the simple code would make it nonsense to him. This did happen with a soldier in captured in the Philippines. If they had been able to talk with him and trick him over a long time to teach them Navajo they might of gained some headway. However, the Japanese who thought it might be a native Indian language, tortured him which (as usual in these cases) got them no where. The US agents had a great deal of success by not using such methods but by making the Japanese POW feel safe. Because we had speakers of Japanese we could also use things like frequency analysis of their codes. The Japanese could not do that back.