This is an essay about how the Navajo code came to be used by the army and also the reasons behind the code’s success in the war.
Since the beginning of wars, each side has always tried to use something different to surprise one another. The ‘Navajo code talkers’ can be considered as one such surprise element of the Second World War. The armed forces had been longing for a code for long and the initiative came from an individual named Philip Johnston. In view of the fact that he had grown up with them following their customs and speaking their language, Philip became of the extremely scarce non-Navajos who spoke the Navajo language.
Johnston had complete faith in the language to become a code as it was a unique multifarious system. The language was a complex one because firstly it was an unwritten language and moreover it was completely based on tonal eminences rather than dialects. Moreover during the start of the Second World War it was estimated that only a handful of non Navajos spoke the language and out of which none of them were Japanese, this language became a prized weapon during the course of war.
When Johnston brought his idea in 1942 in front of the Major General Clayton b. vogue it wasn’t paid much heed to it as there had been previous attempt of endorsing Native American languages as codes but they were found to be lacking words and were to a level decipherable. After adequate tests, Vogel forwarded his application and Navajo was accepted as the executive code for the war.
The Navajo code was very successful during the war, and the major reason behind it was the speed in which the message could be relayed from one point to another. Before a message to be sent would take hours, and it was seen in the test that a three line English message could be send only in twenty seconds compared to thirty minutes by a former code. Apart from the speed the exclusivity of the language was also an integral reason for the success of the code. Moreover these code talkers who were recruited were actual Navajo natives, and apart from performing excellent code communication they performed their military and war duties to perfection. The following will explain the importance of the code during the war:
‘The Navajo code talkers played a large role in the Allied success in the Pacific and the Navajos had created a code the enemy was unable to decipher’
(Courtesy: Jennifer Rosenberg, “Navajo Code Talkers”. Retrieved on November 1, 2008 from http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/navajacode_2.htm)
1) Jennifer Rosenberg, “Navajo Code Talkers”. http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/navajacode_2.htm