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Espionage During World War I

Autor:   •  December 5, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,382 Words (6 Pages)  •  34 Views

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During World War I, both sides used various methods to gain information about the enemy that could give them an advantage in the war. Obtaining secret information without the knowledge of the source is called “espionage.” At the time, most espionage not only involved spying on enemy territory, but also eavesdropping on enemy communications. Code-breaking and cryptography were both very important because both sides used coded messages over the radio and telegraph. Cryptographers created complex codes to encrypt messages so that they can not be understood when intercepted by the enemy, where as Code-breaking was used to decrypt these messages. Rapid advances in spy craft were made because of the lessons learned from the sheer volume of spies used during the war. These untold number of spies were created not only from the war’s long duration and dozens of countries involved in the war, but also because each country had their individual national interests to protect and advance. Not only would enemy countries spy on each other, but they would also spy on friendly ones as well. As spy organizations continuously improved their methods of communication and spy craft, they also improved their counter spy techniques and technology.On the battlefield, in the realm of battlefield communications, the war saw a number of technological advances with each advance being spurred on by the need to adapt to improvement made by the other side. When the war first started, communication by wire were not encrypted, but by 1916, the Germans had developed a machine called 1

the “Moritz” that was able to intercept messages from British field phones. These field phones often ran their transmission lines right through the area between the front lines called “No Man’s Land.” The Germans were able to eavesdrop on the Brits by putting a device around the transmission line and using the machine to pick up the electronic transmission signals through the wire without needing to cut it. This allowed the Germansto listen in on Allied communications for a while until they realized that their messages were being eavesdropped on. This realization lead to messages being encoded or falsifiedto deceive the Germans. The need to have secure communications led to several advancesin cryptology, but with every technological advance the enemy eventually was able to figure out a way to break the code. The allies needed an unbreakable code and they found it not by developing new cryptography techniques or creating complex cypher machines, but by using America’s Native American Indians (Code Talkers) to transmit information using their native language. Native American Indian languages are considered the hardest languages in the world to learn because of their complex grammar and usage of tones. For example, The Navajo dialect is considered to be much more difficult to learn than Chinese. In the field, the sending and receiving side would each have a Native American Indian


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