But what about the case that the goal is to not be understood? In military tactics, one of the most crucial requirements is the ability to quickly and reliably send messages that your enemy cannot understand, but your friends can. It’s a tough balance to strike. And at the height of World War II, the Allied forces found themselves in a pickle.
After getting permission to take on the project, Johnston assembled an elite team of twenty-nine Navajo boys, some as young as fifteen, and together they set to work building the perfect code, one that would completely alter the course of the war. The code itself was deceptively simple. The Code Talkers used Navajo words for things that resembled the military words they wanted to convey. For example, they used the word “tortoise” to mean tank, inspired by the hard shell common to both. Dive bombers went by “chicken hawk,” since chicken hawks also dive-bomb their prey.
The Navajo Code Talkers proved to be a crucial element in winning key battles that ultimately determined the outcome of World War II. Cool!