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Bletchley Park

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Bletchley Park Coursework

1.) What can you learn from Source A about the work of Bletchley Park?

From reading through source A, the reader can analyse that the work done in Bletchley Park was kept extremely confidential, due to the fact that when it came to infiltrating enemy intelligence, organisations had a tendency to keep the knowledge within the vicinity. In addition, the cryptologists and mathematicians that worked there had no idea as to what was happening in the consecutive huts because it was so departmentalized. In times when countries were at war, there was an almost obligatory need for secrecy, because one wrong move could determine the fate of either side. Any decoded messages were passed onto the other huts through narrow wooden tunnels that connected them. However, we only have the opinion of one worker within one hut, making it hard to decide whether or not this evidence is unsubstantiated. We do not know whether the government became lenient with the strict rules they implemented, whether it was towards the end of the war or at the middle.

2.) Does the evidence of Source C support the evidence of Sources A and B about the work of Bletchley Park? Explain your answer.

In comparison with source C, A and B often convey a sense of perplexion, due to the fact that a significant amount of people weren’t aware of whether war was declared or not. Moreover, you have the continuous notion that people did not know the outcome of their work, or the purpose of the work done within the other huts. In some aspects, what the code breaker in source C has wrote is often similar to what the previous workers also wrote. For example, the source continues to mention the secrecy kept within the huts. Because there was such a crucial need for it, the workers did not know whether their breakthroughs were futile or not, for if the code they cracked had no significant meaning, then it would clearly be a waste of time if they received simultaneous discoveries which were of no value. If they did come across something of importance, it would be for the benefit of the war that they would not be informed, due to the fact that a minority of people would carry out certain acts of espionage. Since they were all written by workers that worked closely within Bletchley Park, I can only say that the sources inevitably have certain similarities, regarding the fact that their work was very covert, and that the groups were all departmentalised.

However, the origin of the sources can cause differences between them. Source A was written in Hut 3, where as Source C was written in Hut 6, meaning that Source C may not support Source A after all because of the different locations that they were written in. This evidently causes problems, as the sources are of different origins. Again it is slightly biased, as they may have been recorded at different dates. Who knows whether they implemented a certain level of secrecy within each of the huts, depending on the necessity of the work they would have done.

3.) How useful are Sources D and E in helping you to understand how Bletchley Park was able to crack the Enigma codes?

Source E is not exceptionally useful in helping you to understand how the British cracked the enigma code, as it is just a visual source. Nevertheless, you can see that this Machine helped them to interpret the incessant gibberish that they received from the Germans, via wireless stations that they had situated all across Britain. This machine or the “Enigma Machine” as it became known was where their mainstream of information was translated from the German ciphers into our dialect. It was a military cipher device, which helped the British purge the seas of enemies that lurked beneath the waters. All it consisted of were 3 reels which had the whole alphabet imprinted on them, and the whole of the alphabet on buttons that you pressed. Yet the German’s soon found out that their machine wasn’t as secure as they would have hoped, so they added another reel into it. In order for the cryptologists to translate the German codes, the Enigma machine had to be calibrated with exactly the same settings as the Enigma Machine that had sent the message. Source D simply sheds a negative light on the outcome of their work. Although logically categorising information seems to condense the ciphers that they received, it only made things more laborious as thousands of messages had to be decoded everyday. Pressure would mount as the codes to be cracked accumulated, making the cryptologists and other workers very anxious indeed.

As always, there is always a “but”. Source D does not give any relevant information in some sense, because that is not where the main work took place. The codes were translated in Hut 3. On translating the ciphers, they would then be sent to Hut 6 to be deciphered. What's more, is that being a visual source, source C does not offer any other information, other than the fact that they used this machine to decipher codes. This was not the only military machine that was used, as a newer version “Ultra” succeeded the Enigma Machine.

4.) Use Sources F and G and your own knowledge, to explain the importance of Bletchley Park to the war effort.

During World War 2, many people weren’t aware of the audacity of Bletchley Park’s work towards the war effort, although vague details were described to them which weren’t enough to convince them of the magnitude of their work. However, the Prime Minister of Britain considered it as a great asset to the war.

Winston Churchill was unlike his predecessor Neville Chamberlain, for he took a keen interest of the activities and the purpose of Bletchley Park. He considered it as an extremely significant help to the World War 2 effort, as can be seen from Source F, “Make sure that they have all that they want extreme priority.” He then follows on to say that they must take action this day, which signifies how much he admired their efforts to help facilitate with the English army.

One of the beneficial uses of Bletchley Park was that they were able to get direct information of the German’s intentions. For example, whether they were planning pre-emptive strikes, or whether they were planning to ambush the British in areas known to them. Because the German’s assumed that the Enigma was safe to use, they passed noteworthy information on to people with high rank, even Hitler himself. They were also able to determine whether tips that they had received were bogus or not. Nonetheless, although they were able to get hold of information of some sort, it was sometimes ignored. The reader needs to keep in mind that it was not Bletchley Park that dealt with the physicality’s of war. In addition to what they knew, they could also form battle plans, and obtain information about reserves, which evidently put the British at some sort of an advantage, because they knew of their enemies attributes.

One of the many successes of Bletchley Park was “Ultra”, for it provided an immense amount of information for the naval intelligence. It allowed the British to prevent German U-Boat’s from attacking their convoys. This was an extremely major triumph because: Britain was dependant on the convoys from America and Canada; they would often supply raw materials and food and send them through convoys. But with so many German U-Boats hidden within the endless depths of the Atlantic, the possibility of a convoy being sunk was almost inevitable.

When the German’s introduced the four wheeled enigma “Shark”, the British intelligence lost almost all contact with their enemies U-Boats. The number of convoys sunk in the Atlantic rose rapidly, only until they were able to crack Shark in December 1942. The Germans once again had the advantage in the treacherous Atlantic. With the unravelling of Shark, the British were once again able to locate the positions of German U-Boats, which then led onto the success of the Battle of the Atlantic.

5.) Study all the Sources.

The writer of Source I believed that Bletchley Park had a very great impact on the outcome of the Second World War. Use the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view.

Bletchley Park, which was otherwise known as Station X had indeed a great impact perhaps not on the outcome of the war, but certainly on the progress of World War II itself. Although some historians would argue that Bletchley Park did not help Britain emerge victorious at the end of the war, they cannot deny that it was beneficial to the progress of the war, other than the outcome.

From looking at Sources A to D, one can analyse that the work the cryptologists did wasn’t just a mere triviality of every day life. Its significance is perhaps not expressed as it should have been in the sources, but the workers obligation to maintain secrecy within their huts says enough. If their superiors did not uphold the need for secrecy, then perhaps the war would not have turned out as it has today, for espionage in such a reckless place would certainly be expected.  

In addition, the Prime Minister Winston Churchill took such a keen interest in Bletchley Park, that it was hard for individuals not to consider its work extremely valuable towards the war effort. The role of Prime Minister is considered very influential in Britain, and a position which grants its occupant a great deal of power. Hence this shows that because Churchill was importuned with such a grievous burden (leading Britain through World War II), the thing that he perceived to be a solution for the ominous U-Boats was Bletchley Park. In fact, it was partly because of them, that the number of German U-Boats diminished, during the battles fought at sea.

The writer of Source I believed that Bletchley Park had a huge impact on the outcome of World War II, but to what extent?

The many codes that Bletchley Park used to crack German codes, is supposedly the very reason why they were renowned for shortening the war. Due to the fact that they were able to crack German codes that they had intercepted by using codes such as “Ultra” or “Shark”, it allowed them to pin-point the location of German U-Boats, which were dealing severe blows to the convoys that were to export goods to Britain.

Once they were able to translate German naval codes with “Dolphin”, destroying U-Boats during the Battle of the Atlantic became uncomplicated. And tonnes of shipping were saved from being sunk.  However, once the U-Boats were withdrawn from the Atlantic, they began to pose a new threat in the Mediterranean. The British enjoyed a considerable amount of ease during the battles that they fought in North Africa, until the German U-Boats arrived. But once again, the British intelligence was able to crack the code permanently, which enabled them to fight back the German and Italian forces.  

Yet it was not always to their advantage for at times, they weren’t able to crack the codes fast enough. Perchance when they did, the translation would have no significance because of efforts made to crack it. By the time machines such as Bombe or Colossus were made, they would already have suffered from needless losses, which would have been prevented, if time were in their favour. This is indeed what happened in North Africa, for the messages that the Americans sent to the British were intercepted, and those that the Y Service received would be cracked a week after the Germans had transmitted them.

Of course, the British obviously had other advantages over the German other than destroying their U-Boats. Because the Y Service was able to intercept messages of many origins, they were able to acquire information which they could then relate to their army. For instance, they could set up battle plans and formation tactics for the army, consequently helping them to succeed in battle. The messages that they intercepted would often lead into the army being aware of the Germans moves, for the reason that some messages were sent to the German general, or someone with a similar position. Information about their reserves was acquired, which meant that the English army new what they were up against, and therefore they would know when to take coercive actions or not.  

Nevertheless, no matter how much information Bletchley Park could intercept, it wasn’t them that would have to deal with the battles themselves. It was the soldiers and sailors that were to enforce these plans into actions, and it was them that had to fight the physical battle, the most imperative part of War. There was always a possibility that the British would suffer heavy casualties at the hands of the Germans, despite the fact that they knew of their intended actions. Other than that sometimes the information was ignored, since it wasn’t considered as something worth taking note of.

Bletchley Park helped organise D-Day, on the 6th of June 1944. They helped to provide the Germans with bogus information, making them think that the allied army had camped in an area known to them. In reality, they merely used cloth and wood to reconstruct a camp which seemed real from a distance. So while the Germans were planning to ambush a camp that was non-existent, the Allied forces began the liberation of Europe. But again, it wasn’t Bletchley Park that brought final victory, for it was the army that enforced the information in a beneficial way. It was their actions and organisation offence wise, which made everything successful. After D-Day, Bletchley Park lost its influence. They were ignored when they passed on additional information, because the end of the war truly in sight.

In conclusion, Bletchley Park was nothing more than a great help towards the War effort. Their labours was not what finalised the fact that the British would emerge victorious from the War, for it was not they that had to enforce plans and actions amongst men, who have different minds to that of computers. When victory was in their grasp, the Army neglected the information sent to them by Bletchley Park, to no consequence. The end of the war was in sight, as was Bletchley Park.

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  1. The writer of Source I believed that Bletchley Park had a very great impact ...

    For him to give Bletchley Park all they need when supplies were vary short becuase of rationing it shows that Bletchley Park were doing things of great importance. Source G says that the codes they were breaking were not just in German, but also in Italian and Japanese, this shows

  2. Describe the organisation and work of the people at Bletchley Park

    Most new recruits were mathematicians from Universities, but they did not get on well with the code breakers, as they had different methods of decoding messages. As the mathematicians, were younger and worked in completely different ways, opposed to the more experienced code breakers.

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