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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Was the Navajo code better than other WW2 codes?

Over the past few days, I had a long debate with John T Reed about this. His take can be found here.

Here are the relevant facts:

1. There have been many times when obscure languages have been used as codes.

2. The Navajo code had a simple structure.

3. The Japanese tried to break as shown by the interrogation and torture of Navajo POW Joe Kieyoomia.

4. The Japanese succeeding in breaking some conventional Allied codes. The Allies broke various Axis codes including the extremely sophisticated Enigma code.

5. The Japanese failed to break the Navajo code.

Reed's take is the reason the Japanese failed to break the Navajo code because they were either incompetent or thought the code was not important enough to break. Facts #3 and  #4  show that this cannot be true.

If Navajo code was never broken despite being attacked by competent cryptographers and the other ones were, doesn't that prove it was better?

Suppose it was the Germans who were using the Navajo code or one like it. Would the cryptographers at Bletchley Park have succeeded in breaking it?

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