Enigma Code

There’s a movie coming out this month called The Imitation Game. It’s a WWII story so that got me immediately, and it EnigmaMachineLabeledstars Benedict Cumberbatch. Score! I also feel a personal connection to seeing it because my husband creates computer code. Yeah, I married a nerd.

The movie is based on the enigma code that Alan Turing and his team of code breakers at Bletchley Park helped to break against the Germans. To keep their intelligence secret, the Germans built a complicated machine with knobs, dials, and numbers that would take their message and transform it into secret code which they called Enigma. Ever so talented, the British built a machine of their own and used the code “Ultra” to break the encrypted enemy radio and teleprinter communications at their facility at Bletchley Park. The name Ultra came because the intelligence obtained was considered more important than the highest British security classification of Most Secret and was thus regarded as Ultra Secret. According to Churchill, it was because of Ultra that we won the war, and that it shortened it “by not less than two years and probably by four years”.

Today, you can view these code breaking machines in museums around the world. If you enigma_messagehappen to be in the DC area to visit yours truly, you can check them out in the National Cryptological Museum up in Fort Meade, MD. They’ll even let you try your hand at deciphering the mystery codes.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

8 Comments

  1. Tom Threadgill

    Looking forward to seeing this movie on Netflix. We don’t go to the theater much. Code breaking was such a big part of WW2. It sure helped us at Midway with the Japanese navy!

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I just think these people who can break these codes are incredible. What amazing gifts of intelligence God gives to some people, and then to use it to bring peace. Wow.

      Reply
  2. Lisa Betz

    Thanks for the tip, I added it to my Netflix cue. Speaking of enigma movies, have you seen U-571? Interesting that I was just reading the book The Information, which chronicles Turing and others who worked on code-making and -breaking.

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I’ve seen the beginning of U-571, but submarine movies give me claustrophobia. Weird.

      Reply
  3. Susan F. Craft

    Interesting post, J’nell. Did you watch the PBS series Bletchley Circle about women who worked At Bletchley Park? It was fascinating. I agree that codebreaking is a gift.

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I know of the show, but haven’t watched it. Yet. Love me a good PBS period piece. And to know it’s based on fact!

      Reply
  4. Kathleen Rouser

    Thanks for the movie tip, J’nell. It’s amazing how much intelligence went on behind the scenes to help win the war!

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      It’s amazing that it still goes on. Half of this intelligence that we’ll never know about, or maybe not until 100 years from now.

      Reply

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