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Sat Dec 2, 2017, 06:56 PM

History behind WWIIs great unsung female codebreaker is finally unravelled

Even as the United States fought the Axis Powers in Europe, Africa and Asia during World War II, a new threat emerged at home — this time from a Nazi spy ring operating out of South America.

The cell sought to conduct both political and military operations as they worked to sway the politically-neutral continent towards the Germans, while reporting on Allied ship movements, putting vessels at risk of destruction by German U-boats.

J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI had no answer for the ring. But Elizebeth Smith Friedman did.

Working for the Coast Guard under the Treasury Department, the veteran codebreaker (whose Jewish-American husband, William Friedman, was himself a legendary name in intelligence history) had honed her skills battling Prohibition-era smugglers — who, it turned out, had used codes similar to those employed by the Nazi spies.

Friedman not only cracked the Nazi codes, she helped bring down the spy ring. In January 1944, Nazi isolation from South America was complete when Argentina broke off relations with the Axis.

Yet for decades, this story — and the woman behind it — were lost to history.

Now, a new book, “The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies” by Jason Fagone, aims to correct this oversight.

It comes on the heels of the 2014 movie “The Imitation Game” — about Friedman’s British codebreaking contemporary, Alan Turing — and this year’s film “Hidden Figures,” about African-American women in the space industry who were also ignored by history.

“You go back and look at public sources, and women are there,” Fagone said. “They’ve been there all along. They were omitted from the story when the story got told by men, sometimes even outright erased. Elizebeth and her WWII heroics were papered over by J. Edgar Hoover. All the while, Hoover claimed credit for what Elizebeth and her team were doing.”


https://www.timesofisrael.com/history-behind-wwiis-great-unsung-female-codebreaker-is-finally-unravelled/

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Reply History behind WWIIs great unsung female codebreaker is finally unravelled (Original post)
Mosby Dec 2017 OP
shenmue Dec 2017 #1
Pope George Ringo II Dec 2017 #2

Response to Mosby (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 07:02 PM

1. I just got the book "Code Girls"

It's very good.

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Response to Mosby (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 07:13 PM

2. I don't want to take anything away from Alan Turing

But there are a lot of people in that field who should be honored every bit as much as he is.

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