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Why was Bletchley Park able to break the German Enigma codes?

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Introduction

2. Why was Bletchley Park able to break the German Enigma codes? Bletchley Park had no clue to what the Enigma machine looked like and so figuring out how it worked would be even harder than anticipated. However during the 1930's Polish intelligence had recruited a spy who was in the German army and he was able to supply secret documents describing the layout of the keys, settings and instructions of how to use them. From this information the Poles made two replica Enigma machines and just before they were invaded by Germany they handed one over to the French and the other to the British. This was a major break for the British as they now had something to work with. Many other clues or slip ups from the Germans helped as the British now knew that no one letter ever represented itself and sometimes the Germans sent the same message by Enigma and also by another simpler code, which allowed the two to be compared and the settings worked out. A bigger clue however was that many messages were less than twenty six letters in length. ...read more.

Middle

Bletchley Park believed that the Germans thought Enigma was unbreakable and so Herivel supposed they would not be too careful when they sent the first messages, which were to establish contact with other operators. What were needed were the first messages of the day from as many operators as possible. And if they were similar they would give the settings away for that day. During the 1940's Alan Turing made further progress by constructing the first 'bombes'. They were electric machines which tried to speed up the process of deciphering messages by going through all the possible combination of settings of an Enigma machine. So altogether a bombe was equivalent to ten enigma machines. A code breaker would pass on a clue which would then be run through the bombe until a message occurred. This would then be typed into a replica enigma machine to see if it resulted in a German message. The main reason for the cracking of 'Dolphin' the German naval code was sheer luck and hard work. The luck being of capturing two U-boats which contained parts of an enigma machine and some instruction books. ...read more.

Conclusion

They looked for mistakes and repeat phrases, the Germans thought this code was unbreakable and so they were even more careless. The code breakers noticed that there was a sequence of forty one symbols, which suggested the first wheel had forty one teeth. This enabled them after two months to construct one of the machines. To make deciphering fish easier one of the code breakers designed 'Robinson' a machine that used two paper tapes which were run through the machine at high speeds. On one tape the German code and on the other was a key which looked for evidence of the wheel settings. However the paper tapes tended to rip and so 'Colossus' was invented, it was the first programmable computer and it did the same job as Robinson just with out paper tapes and at a quicker speed. This saved the code breakers time and made solving the codes easier. The main reasons for Bletchley Park cracking the enigma code was that of German carelessness and hard work. I believe that the most important reason was that of determination and drive of the code breakers at Bletchley Park who didn't give in even when it looked as though there was no hope. ...read more.

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