Morse Code, German WWII Technology, And Allied Ingenuity
Prior to WWII, Germans improved upon a machine that became known as “Enigma,” built in the 1920’s enabling a message to be encrypted before it was sent and then the process reversed to decipher it upon receipt. These machines could easily be carried in ships, submarines, airplanes and to army field headquarters operations. The machine utilized a series of rotating four inch wheels that scrambled plain textual messages into unreadable gibberish. Since the wheels could be set into billions of positions, an unlimited number of combinations provided the German high command the ability to transmit and receive Morse code messages without concern that the Allies would intercept and know the operational plans. During the early years of the War, Hitler’s armies enjoyed a tremendous advantage through utilization of this method.
After the War ended, a great shield of secrecy kept information about the Allied deciphering efforts from the public eye for more than fifty years. In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK broke the silence to honor one of the last surviving code-breaking operatives, Margaret Fick. She had been sent to the Isle of Man, while just 17, to learn Morse code and join the secret German Intercept Service. From the listening station near Harrogate, she along with other listeners, copied thousands of coded messages and passed them along to the Bletchey Park group for deciphering. This whole operation was guarded and the Nazi high command never realized that the Allies knew their secret plans within hours. This fact allowed the Allies to test their plans for the D-Day invasion of France by sending out false messages and seeing the reaction from the German generals. This deception allowed the Allies to invade while the bulk of the German resistance was centered far away.
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