Digital Archives

Elements of Cryptanalysis

Author:  Friedman, William F.
Publisher: Government Printing Office, Washington

Physical Description:

157 pages.

Subject: Cryptology

This is a textbook used at the Signal School in William Friedman’s course. His course was designed to demonstrate how certain codes could be so easily solved or deciphered. Relatively understandable to a novice cryptanalyst. Folder contains a review of the book, in a handwritten letter signed by Hitt. The first manual ever issued by the War Department on cryptanalysis and therefore of great historical importance. Now quite rare and not procurable at GPO, it is interesting to record the fact that this was written in his spare moments by William Friedman, when employed in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Washington, DC.

William Friedman had no idea that the document was to be published. Paper bound copy of training Pamphlet No. 3 preface stated this pamphlet was the basis of a course in Military Codes and Ciphers given at the Signal School in New Jersey. Thirty five years after the date of publication, William Friedman endeavored to ascertain from the Signal Officer the then classification of this document. They could find no record whatsoever of it ever having been written by William Friedman or printed by the GPO.

This small book was important because for the first time in the English language the science of cryptanalysis was organized in a coherent and accurate manner. It was also important because WFF coined the term “cryptanalysis” which later became the standard term for methods and processes involved in the solution of cryptograms. Up until the time this document was published, the general term cryptography was used indiscriminately for both “the making” and “the breaking” of codes and ciphers.

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Elements of Cryptanalysis


Location: Stacks
Holding ID: Item 213