Bletchley Park - UK Cryptanalysis in WWII

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History of Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, also called Station X, is an estate located in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, since 1967, on the territory of the city. Milton Keynes, England. Full address: The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Dr, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB.

During World War II, Bletchley Park was the headquarters of the UK's leading cryptanalysis organization. The codes and figures of several Axis states have been deciphered here, the most important being those of German cars. Lorenz's enigma, hosting the property Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers.

About the Enigma encoding machine

The Enigma machine is the name of a family of cryptographic electromechanical machines with rotors used to generate ciphers for encrypting and decrypting secret messages. Enigma has been used commercially since the early years 1920, being adopted by the armies and government services of several countries - the most famous case being that of Nazi Germany before and during the Second World War.

The machine gained notoriety because Allied cryptologists were able to decrypt a large number of messages that had been encrypted with this machine. Decryption became possible in 1932 thanks to Polish cryptographers Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski of the Bureau of Digits. In mid-1939, the methods of reconstruction and decipherment were introduced by Poland to the United Kingdom and France.

About the Lorenz coding machine

Between 1939 – 1945 the most advanced mathematical and technological knowledge was put at the service of German communications. The German military has asked Lorenz's company to produce a transmission encryption machine for them, which will allow them to communicate by radio in complete safety.

The company invented a cipher based on the additive method of encrypting messages, invented in 1918 by Gilbert Vernam, in America. The machine was not based on the 26-letter alphabet and Morse code, on which Enigma was dependent, but used Baudot code, based on 32 symbols.

The Baudot code consists of 5 channels, each of them being a string of bits that could be represented by 0 or 1, dot or cross. The Verman system encrypts the text message, gathering, character by character, a set of obscure characters, thus producing encrypted characters, which were transmitted to the recipient.

The GC&CS team

Bletchley Park's GC&CS code-breaking team consisted of Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander, Bill Tutte and Stuart Milner-Barry.

According to the official British intelligence service, "Ultra" information produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain..

The Bletchley Park team has designed automated machines to help decrypt, culminating in the development of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. Bletchley Park code-breaking operations have ended in 1946 and all the information about the operations during the war was classified until the mid-1970s.

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Bletchley Park today

After decades of secrecy, Bletchley Park is now open to the public, and visitors can see how code breakers lived and worked, and of course the largest collection of historical computers in the National Museum of Computing. The location receives hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

The name Bletchley Park will be forever associated with World War II coding exploits and will be revered as the birthplace of the modern computer. Bletchley Park is today a museum open to the public.

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