Watch this short video about the enigma code.
- In partners, small groups, or as a whole class, have students respond to the following questions:
- What was the enigma machine and why did the Germans think that its code was unbreakable?
- Why did the Poles believe that it was important to decode the enigma machine during the late 1930s?
- How were the discoveries of Polish codebreakers transferred to the British and French intelligence services?
- Alan Turing and the team at Bletchley Park were able to break the German enigma code after a stroke of insight. Watch this clip from the award‐winning 2014 biopic “The Imitation Game” for a dramatic (and historically‐condensed) rendition of their important discovery. Then discuss the following questions:
- Hitler’s cult of personality and Nazi dogma allowed Turing and his team to break the enigma code. Which habit of enigma operators was Turing and his team able to exploit? Specifically, what were the exact words the Nazis normally included in messages?
- In the clip, Turing is shown using a large machine. Make a prediction. How was the invention of this machine able to help break German codes and shorten the war?