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Posted: September 6th, 2023

The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII – Annotated Bibliography

Navajo Code Talkers of WWII: A Contribution to the Allied Victory

The role of Navajo Code Talkers in the Allied victory during World War II cannot be overstated. These brave individuals used their native language, which was unknown to the enemy, to transmit messages that helped the Allies to secure key victories in the Pacific theater. This paper presents an annotated bibliography of three sources that offer insights into the experiences and contributions of Navajo Code Talkers during WWII.

Primary Source: Code Talker by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila

Chester Nez, one of the first Navajo Code Talkers, wrote this primary source titled “Code Talker”. The book offers a detailed account of the struggles and triumphs of the Code Talkers during World War II. Nez’s account takes us through the process of how the Navajo language was utilized as a code during the war, and how critical this use was to the victory of the United States Army in the Pacific. He offers an insider perspective of the training the Code Talkers received, the importance of their work, and the unique cultural aspects that contributed to their success.

Nez also offers a firsthand account of his personal experiences as a Code Talker. He details how he left his home in the Navajo Nation to serve his country during the war, how he was recruited into the Code Talker program, and the impact of his work on the war effort. This book is a valuable resource for those interested in learning about the Navajo Code Talkers and their contributions to the Allied victory in World War II.

Secondary Source: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac’s “Code Talker” is a captivating novel that brings to life the stories of the Navajo Code Talkers. The book focuses on sixteen-year-old Navajo code talker Ned Begay and his experiences during the war. Bruchac’s narrative style effectively portrays the struggles of the Navajo people during the time of war, as well as the importance of their language in securing key victories.

The novel’s themes center around the bravery and resilience of the Navajo people, their contributions to the war effort, and the unique role of their language in securing the Allied victory. Bruchac’s work is particularly important for younger audiences, as it introduces them to the historical context of World War II and the experiences of the Navajo people during that time. The novel also highlights the value of indigenous knowledge in war and conflict, which is often overlooked in mainstream accounts of military history.

Scholarly Journal: Navajo Code Talkers Created an Unbreakable Code by Shondiin Silversmith

In this scholarly journal, Shondiin Silversmith provides an overview of how Navajo men joined the Marines in 1942 and created an unbreakable code that was used across the Pacific during World War II. Silversmith details how the Code Talkers sent communications via phone and radio in their own tongue, which the Japanese were never able to crack. This code proved invaluable to the Allied war effort, as it allowed for secure communication between troops and leaders, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Silversmith’s article also highlights the unique cultural context that contributed to the Navajo Code Talkers’ success. She notes that the Navajo language was not a written language, which meant that the Code Talkers had to rely on their memories to transmit messages accurately. This cultural practice of memorization and storytelling was a critical aspect of their success, as it allowed them to communicate quickly and effectively in the field.

The article also details the challenges faced by the Navajo Code Talkers after the war, including the long-lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the difficulties.

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Sample Research Paper, Writing Guide:

Navajo Code Talkers of WWII: A Significant Contribution to the War Effort

The Navajo Code Talkers played a crucial role in the success of the United States during World War II. Their use of the Navajo language as an unbreakable code helped to secure critical victories in the Pacific. This paper will examine the history and contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers during WWII, their challenges, and their legacy.

Chester Nez, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers, authored the primary source Code Talker. Nez’s book provides an in-depth insight into the struggles and triumphs of the Code Talkers during World War Two. It gives a general summary of how the Navajo language was utilized as a code during World War II and how important that use was to the victory of the United States Army in the Pacific. The Code Talkers’ story, including their recruitment and training, was classified for over twenty years. Nez’s account offers a personal perspective of the Navajo Code Talkers’ experience during the war.

Joseph Bruchac’s novel Code Talker brings the stories of the Navajo Code Talkers to life for young adults. Bruchac’s novel focuses on the life of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo code talker who became a significant contributor to the war effort. The novel highlights the significance of the Navajo language and culture, which played a crucial role in the war effort. It is a moving tale that commemorates young men like Ned who served and the Navajo culture and language.

The Arizona Republic is a scholarly journal that provides an overview of how Navajo men joined the Marines in 1942 and created an unbreakable code used across the Pacific during World War II. The Code Talkers sent communications via phone and radio in their own tongue, which the Japanese never cracked. Their code saved many American lives in some of the war’s fiercest fighting. The Pacific opponent broke every military code in the early stages of World War II, which complicated enemy strategy. Early 1942 suggested using Navajo language as a code. In 2017, Navajo Code Talker Peter MacDonald remarked at the White House.

History and Contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers

In 1942, the US military approached the Navajo Nation with the idea of using their native language as a code to transmit critical information during World War II. Navajo leaders and tribal members saw this as an opportunity to serve their country, despite the US government’s history of mistreatment towards Native Americans. The Navajo Code Talkers volunteered in large numbers, with approximately 400 eventually serving in the Marines.

The Navajo language was used as a code because it is a complex and tonal language with no written form. The Marines used it as a code for transmitting messages by radio and phone, including information about troop movements, tactics, and enemy positions. The Navajo Code Talkers were trained to memorize and send messages using the Navajo language, which the Japanese could not decipher.

The Navajo Code Talkers were deployed in the Pacific theater of the war, where they played a vital role in the war effort. They served in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, and Iwo Jima. The Code Talkers were essential in the success of the Battle of Iwo Jima, where they transmitted critical information to the Marines. The Navajo Code Talkers’ contribution was instrumental in the success of the US forces in the Pacific.

Challenges Faced by the Navajo Code Talkers

The Navajo Code Talkers faced numerous challenges during their service in World War II. They were subjected to racism and discrimination by their fellow soldiers and officers. The Japanese could not understand their language, they were also faced with technical difficulties in transmitting messages. Their radios were often unreliable, and they had to work in harsh conditions, such as extreme heat and cold temperatures, which made it difficult to communicate effectively.

In addition to these challenges, the Navajo Code Talkers also had to deal with the psychological stress of war. They were often placed in dangerous situations and had to remain calm under intense pressure to communicate critical information accurately. The experience of war was particularly difficult for the Navajo Code Talkers, as their cultural values emphasized the importance of peaceful and harmonious relationships with others.

Despite these challenges, the Navajo Code Talkers were successful in their efforts to provide critical communication support to the US military. Their work in the Pacific theater was particularly instrumental in the US victory against Japan. The Japanese were unable to decipher the Navajo Code Talkers’ messages, which allowed the US military to communicate securely and coordinate their operations effectively.

Legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers

The legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers lives on today, and they are regarded as heroes who made significant contributions to the US war effort. In 2000, the US Congress passed the Navajo Code Talkers Recognition Act, which recognized the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers to the US military during World War II. The act also provided financial compensation to surviving Code Talkers and their families.

The Navajo Code Talkers have also been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and films, which have helped to raise awareness of their contributions to the war effort. Chester Nez, one of the original Code Talkers, wrote a memoir titled “Code Talker,” which details his experiences during the war. Joseph Bruchac’s novel, “Code Talker,” also highlights the experiences of a fictional Navajo Code Talker named Ned Begay.

Considering all this, The Navajo Code Talkers played a critical role in the US military’s efforts during World War II. Their contributions to the war effort were instrumental in the US victory against Japan in the Pacific theater. However, the Navajo Code Talkers also faced significant challenges, including racism, discrimination, technical difficulties, and psychological stress.

Despite these challenges, the Navajo Code Talkers persevered and provided critical communication support to the US military. Their legacy lives on today, and they are regarded as heroes who made significant contributions to the war effort. The recognition and compensation provided to the Navajo Code Talkers by the US government and the numerous books, documentaries, and films that highlight their contributions are a testament to their bravery and sacrifice. The Navajo Code Talkers will always be remembered as an essential part of US history and a source of inspiration for future generations.

Works Cited
Nez, Chester, and Judith Schiess Avila. Code Talker. Penguin, 6 Sept. 2011.

Bruchac, Joseph. “Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac: 9780142405963 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books.” PenguinRandomhouse.com, 2023, www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/288494/code-talker-by-joseph-bruchac/. Accessed 11 Apr. 2023.

Silversmith, Shondiin. “Navajo Code Talkers Created an Unbreakable Code. It Helped Win World War II.” The Arizona Republic, Arizona Republic, 11 July 2018, www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2018/07/11/navajo-code-talker-facts-unbreakable-code/460262002/. Accessed 11 Apr. 2023.

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