Invented in 1918, the Enigma cipher was originally designed for banking communications but fast became the unbreakable code of German military and intelligence communications. The complexity of the code made it virtually impossible to calculate manually.
Plain text was typed into the keyboard creating electrical impulses through rotary wheels, this lit up an enciphered letter on a panel above the keyboard. Without knowing the appropriate settings, the chances of decoding the text was 150 million million million to one!In 1932 the Polish Cipher School broke the Enigma code whilst the machines were under trial by the German Army. They also managed to reconstruct a machine though the settings changed frequently. In 1939 they shared knowledge with the British who were able to exploit the critical flaw that no letter could be encrypted as itself.
The British broke into Enigma again in January 1940.Raw material came from 'Y' or Intercept Stations throughout the country who monitored foreign broadcasts. They then transmitted these messages straight to Bletchley where the Huts were able the decrypt the messages and analyse their content.
Mathematician, Alan Turing was able to develop a machine that could reduce the combinations and speed the process up, this was called the Bombe.
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