world war ii: enigma machine

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Breaking Enigma  
German military messages enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, beginning in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologists, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence. Rejewski reverse engineered the device, using theoretical mathematics and material supplied by French military intelligence. Subsequently the three mathematicians designed mechanical devices for breaking Enigma ciphers, including thecryptologic bomb. From 1938 onwards, additional complexity was repeatedly added to the Enigma machines, making decryption more difficult and requiring larger numbers of equipment and personnel–more than the Poles could readily produce.On 25 July 1939, in Warsaw, the Poles initiated French and British military intelligence representatives into their Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment, including Zygalski sheets and the cryptologic bomb, and promised each delegation a Polish-reconstructed Enigma. The demonstration represented a vital basis for the later British continuation and effort.During the war, British cryptologists decrypted a vast number of messages enciphered on Enigma. The intelligence gleaned from this source, codenamed “Ultra” by the British, was a substantial aid to the Allied war effort
The Imitation Game is a movie about  Alan Turing who joins to the cryptography team of Hugh Alexander , John Cairncross, Peter Hilton Keith Furman and Charles Richards and is trying to decrypt the Nazi Enigma machine.Then he is naming the Enigma-breaking machine “Christopher” after Turing’s childhood friend. In actuality, this electromechanical machine was called ‘Victory’. Victory was a British Bombe machine, which drew a spiritual legacy from a design by the Polish Cryptanalyst Marian Rejewski. Rejewski designed a machine in 1938 called bomba kryptologiczna which exploited a particular, but temporary, weakness in German operating procedures. A new machine with a different strategy was designed by Turing (with a key contribution from mathematician Gordon Welchman, unmentioned in the film) in 1940.

Born on June 23, 1912, in Maida Vale, London, Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS, was an English computer scientist, mathematician and logician who broke ciphers generated by the so-called ’Enigma Machine’ during World War II (a device thought by the German high-command to be so uncrackable, it was used to transmit top-secret orders and battle plans to field and U-boat commanders) - thereby enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in crucial engagements, including the ’Battle of the Atlantic’ - Alan Turing’s work in cracking those codes having been so vital, it’s estimated he shortened the war by more than two years - thereby saving an estimated fourteen million lives.

An alumnus of Sherborne School, Alan Turning formed a significant friendship with fellow pupil, Christopher Morcom (a boy said to have been the love of Turing’s life) - but their relationship was cut short by Christopher’s death from complications of bovine tuberculosis, contracted after drinking infected cow’s milk some years previously.

In 1952, Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts and forced to undergo a process of chemical castration (homosexuality being a criminal offence in the UK at that time).

Alan Turing died June 7, 1954, from cyanide poisoning (a part-eaten apple found by the side of his body leading an inquest to determine he’d committed suicide by taking a bite from the apple he’d prepared by injecting the lethal chemical into it).

In 2001, a statue was unveiled in Manchester’s Gay Village depicting Turing sitting on a bench whilst holding an apple. The cast bronze bench carries the text ’Alan Mathison Turing 1912–1954’, and the motto ’Founder of Computer Science’ as it could appear if encoded by an Enigma machine: ’IEKYF ROMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ’.

A plaque at the statue’s feet reads ’Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice’.

In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology on behalf of the British government for the appalling way Alan Turing was treated – he was also granted a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.

An officer of the Order of the British Empire and Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, Alan Turing was cremated at Woking Crematorium - his ashes scattered where those of his father had been.

Alan’s OBE has been entrusted to the Archives of Sherborne School.



Depicted: an electro-mechanical cipher machine, known as an ’Enigma Machine’ - German military models (having a plugboard) being the most complex.

    An Enigma Machine in use in 1943.
During World War II, the Germans used the Enigma, a cipher machine, to develop nearly unbreakable codes for sending messages. The Enigma’s settings offered 150,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible solutions.
An enigma machine was decoded at Bletchley Park, in England, by the allies.

Born on June 23, 1912, in Maida Vale, London, Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS, was an English computer scientist, mathematician and logician who broke ciphers generated by the so-called ’Enigma Machine’ during World War II (a device thought by the German high-command to be so uncrackable, it was used to transmit top-secret orders and battle plans to field and U-boat commanders), thereby enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in crucial engagements, including the ’Battle of the Atlantic’ - Alan Turing’s work in cracking those codes having been so vital, it’s estimated he shortened the war by more than two years - thereby saving an estimated fourteen million lives.

An alumnus of Sherborne School, Alan Turning formed a significant friendship with fellow pupil, Christopher Morcom (a boy said to have been the love of Turing’s life) - but their relationship was cut short by Christopher’s death from complications of bovine tuberculosis, contracted after drinking infected cow’s milk some years previously.

In 1952, Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts and forced to undergo a process of chemical castration (homosexuality being a criminal offence in the UK at that time).

Alan Turing died June 7, 1954, from cyanide poisoning (a part-eaten apple found by the side of his body leading an inquest to determine he’d committed suicide by taking a bite from the apple he’d prepared by injecting the lethal chemical into it).

In 2001, a statue was unveiled in Manchester’s Gay Village depicting Turing sitting on a bench whilst holding an apple. The cast bronze bench carries the text ’Alan Mathison Turing 1912–1954’, and the motto ’Founder of Computer Science’ as it could appear if encoded by an Enigma machine: ’IEKYF ROMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ’.

A plaque at the statue’s feet reads ’Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice’.

In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology on behalf of the British government for the appalling way Alan Turing was treated – he was also granted a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.

An officer of the Order of the British Empire and Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, Alan Turing was cremated at Woking Crematorium - his ashes scattered where those of his father had been.

Alan’s OBE has been entrusted to the Archives of Sherborne School.



Depicted: John Henry as ’Alan Turing’ in ’Breaking The Code’ (The Little Theatre, Chester) - Breaking the Code’ being a 1986 play by Hugh Whitemore about Alan Turing’s life and work and the disgraceful treatment to which he was subjected.