The Navajo Code Talkers: How Native American Languages Helped the United States Win World War II

TLDR During World War II, the United States utilized the Navajo language as a secret military code, developed and implemented by Navajo recruits known as code talkers. This unbreakable code played a crucial role in the Pacific Theater, contributing to the US victory over Japan and the South Pacific.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 During World War II, the United States used Native American languages, including Navajo, as a secret code to communicate with their forces.
01:46 During World War II, the United States used Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, which became the only unbroken code in modern warfare and helped assure victory over Japan and the South Pacific.
03:14 During World War I, Native American soldiers from the Choctaw Nation were used to develop a code based on the Choctaw language, which proved successful in preventing the Germans from understanding American communications.
04:38 Philip Johnston, who grew up in the Navajo Nation and learned the Navajo language as a child, pitched the idea of using Navajo as a military code to the US Marine Corps, and after a successful demonstration, a pilot program was initiated with 29 Navajo recruits.
06:05 The Navajo code talkers created a code based on the Navajo language, using English words that started with each letter of the alphabet but were communicated using Navajo words, and they also developed hundreds of words for commonly used terms and phrases, ultimately only using the code talkers in the Pacific Theater.
07:40 The Navajo code talkers were vital in almost every battle in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima where they transmitted 800 messages and were credited with the Marines' success, and they eventually had to be assigned personal guards for protection and to prevent capture by the enemy.
09:06 In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the original Navajo code talkers and other code talkers, and there are plans for a code talker museum; while the Navajo code talkers were the most well-known, there were also code talkers from other Native American tribes, and their codes were never broken.
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