The Navajo Codetalkers: The Beginnings Essay

1480 words - 6 pages

During the Second World War, a certain group of Native Americans joined the war and possibly changed the course of history. Over 420 Navajo fought in WWII and communicated with their unique language. Their rights were taken away from them by the country they were responsible for protecting. Despite being prosecuted and treated harshly, the situations their country was facing such as the stronger Japanese offensives early on in the war, Americans needed to use all of its resources, and the Navajo pride in warriors and warfare ultimately led to the involvement of the Navajo in the Second World War.
Despite advances in American espionage, Japanese code-breaking technologies surpassed America, and, in order to win, the Americans needed an unbreakable code. The language of the Navajo itself is extremely hard to learn, with an entirely different grammatical structure from most other languages, and requires years of exposure at a young age to understand it. From a tactical point of view, Japan obviously had the advantage. As General Yamamoto of Japan stated he would “run wild and win victory upon victory…” and his forces controlled most of Southeastern Asia at the peak of Japan’s reign (Yamamoto). In terms of espionage, Japan was able to crack many of America’s codes at an alarming rate. Early on in the war, Japanese forces subjugated most of Southeast Asia by strategic planning, and defeated the Allies in every naval engagement until June of 1942. For almost 8 months since the US declared war on the Japanese, merely days after the Pearl Harbor attacks on Dec. 7, the Japanese were undefeated ("Timeline of Pacific War"). At such odds, the United States needed more wartime resources: troops to fight, workers to produce the war machines, and new recruits to aid the US in the wartime effort.
During WWII, the US recruited as many of its citizens as possible, and in many cases, the U.S. called upon ethnic groups, and women, who normally would not take part in such jobs, to assist them in the war. 216,000 women, and thousands of African-Americans participated in WWII on the Allies’ side (Kennedy, Cohen, Bailey). This unconventional tactic led to America’s advantage. America’s perspective on ethnic groups of its citizens changed drastically, and allowed Native Americans, African-Americans, and other minorities the right to work in factories and fight overseas. “There is one front and one battle where everyone in the United States—every man, woman, and child—is in action” stated Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942, proclaiming his wish for all the denizens of the U.S. (Roosevelt). Even with all these extra workers, the number of people still fell short, and America made an agreement with Mexico and brought in thousands of Mexican workers to harvest crops. Along with the others, the paucity of workers forced America to recruit a larger workforce to support themselves in the war, and the Navajo were just one of the many who were recruited. Though they were...

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