Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

From the Ground Up: American Cryptology during World War I by Betsy Rohaly Smoot — Free Download

Here is the story that Betsy Rohaly Smoot  tells in this valuable 414-page resource for World War One students.

. . .  American leaders, diplomats, commanders, and forces were not ready for what awaited them “Over There.” Once engaged alongside our French and British allies, the US Army and US Navy had to learn fast—and indeed had much to learn. Both communications security and the art of exploiting it had progressed dramatically since the war began in 1914, making it imperative that the Yanks learn new methods (and develop new mindsets) as fast as possible if they were to contribute to an Allied victory. To their lasting credit, they by and large did exactly that, ending the war in 1918 as junior partners but nonetheless valued members of the coalition team that defeated Germany.


Download the Full Book in PDF Format Here


  1. Mike-
    Thanks for this. I was in the Army Security Agency 1959-62: signals intel (SIGINT). As a WWI buff glad to know about my intel forefathers.
    Brooke Anderson

  2. I just downloaded this book. Scanned a few items and am very impressed. I love the chapter that includes information on the FIRST Code-Talkers from the American Indians in various divisions. Good stuff.

  3. Thanks to you, Mike and to Beth Rohaly Smoot for making this book available.

  4. NSA (National Security Agency) hosts a National Cryptologic Museum open to the public at Fort Meade, Maryland. Worth the visit. I retired from NSA and have visited several times during my working years. During that time, codebooks were the most difficult to crack, unless you were fortunate enough to capture one from the enemy.