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The History Behind The Unbreakable Machine: Enigma

The Enigma Was An Important Component For The Germans And Led To Millions Of Saved Lives

Enigma was used throughout WWII and played a key component for Germany’s plan. The enigma was used by the Germans to encrypt and decode top-secret messages. While men fought at war, women intercepted messages sent by Germans but only heard gibberish. The enigma machine was considered to be unbreakable with 150,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible solutions. In addition, Germans reset the code used to encrypt messages at midnight. 

Allies in the war built a team from Bletchley Park to try and decrypt this impossible machine. After working for months the group had made little progress. If the team spent more than 24 hours all their progress would be lost because the code would change by morning. Using their method it would take far longer than 24 hours to decode. Days? No, years. They discovered that at this pace it would take them 20 million years to decode Enigma. 

While the others worked diligently, Alan Turning, a member of the group, decided to build a machine to decipher Enigma. His attempts seemed to be futile as the rest of the group had at least made a little progress. While Turning was working on the machine the rest had decoded a message that they had intercepted months before. The decoded message didn’t reveal anything they didn’t already know, but it shows that it isn’t impossible to decode. 

After many long months and millions of people dead, Turning had finished his machine. Sadly the team was told not to notify the military as the Germans would surely realize they had deciphered the code. Cracking this code was a silent victory for the Allies, saving 14 million lives and two years of war.


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