"Code talkers" were Native American soldiers in the US military who transmitted secret messages using codes based on their native languages. Though code talking was used as early as World War I, it is chiefly associated with Navajo language speakers in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Navajo code baffled the Japanese, and, according to military officers, was key to the American victory in the Battle of Iwo Jima. What was it about this "code" that made it so difficult to crack?
Back in the day
The first Sino-Japanese War in the late 19th century damaged relations between the two countries for decades, as it marked the emergence of imperial Japan and saw harsh terms imposed on a badly defeated China. Relations did not improve until Kakuei Tanaka was elected prime minister of Japan in 1972. Shortly after his election, Tanaka visited China and signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations between Japan and the Beijing regime. Who else made a historic visit to China in 1972?
Born on a day like today
Cervantes was a Spanish author best known for Don Quixote de la Mancha, his novel about an aging "knight." A superb burlesque of the popular romances of chivalry, the work was an enormous success and has had an indelible effect on the development of the European novel. Cervantes himself led an eventful life: he was imprisoned several times, captured by pirates, and sold as a slave. How long was he enslaved before his family managed to scrape together the money to secure his release?