In the depths of World War II, when so many young men were fighting abroad, women across the United States began receiving clandestine letters from the Navy.
The military was recruiting smart women who were good at math and languages. As long as they could protect classified information—and didn’t have family members in enemy territory—they were eligible to take a special course on code breaking.
The 10,000 or so women who went on to work as code breakers in Washington, D.C. were some of the most effective intelligence gatherers during the war. They established what we now think of as the cybersecurity field, protecting data, communications, and networks against enemy attacks. They also deciphered coded messages from the Japanese military and the Nazis.
With American lives hanging in the balance, these women broke tough codes and ultimately helped win the war. Learn more about their heroic story with our Instaread on Code Girls.