It was supposed to be the unbreakable code. But during World War Two, Nazi Enigma communications were successfully decoded by a team of mathematicians and problem-solvers inside Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.
The Enigma machines, originally developed by Dr Arthur Scherbuis in 1923, allowed an operator to type in a message and then scramble it by means of three to five notched wheels displaying different letters of the alphabet. The receiver needed to know the exact settings of these rotors in order to reconstitute the coded text.
Over a series of months, the codebreakers inside Bletchley Park, led by the father of computer science, Alan Turing, developed a machine known as a “bombe” that successfully decoded German messages by working out the vast number of permutations in Enigma settings.
It was a breakthrough that significantly shortened the war and saved the lives of countless British soldiers.