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Modern Mysteries

Did Poles break the Nazi Enigma code?

By T.K. Randall
October 10, 2012 · Comment icon 22 comments

Image Credit: CC 3.0 Bob Lord
Poland are to pass a resolution acknowledging three Poles as the first to break the Engima code.
Up until now it had been British code breakers attributed with the distinction of being first to break Enigma, a code used during World War II by the Germans to prevent their communications from falling in to enemy hands. Correspondences were run through a special 'Enigma machine' which looked a bit like a manual typewriter. British cryptologists at Bletchley Park have long been hailed as the first to succeed in breaking this code but now it seems that Polish mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski may have got there first.

"In both popular literature and official information the public was told that the breaking of the Enigma codes was due to the work of the British intelligence services to the complete omission of the work of Polish scientists," reads the new resolution.[!gad]Up until now it had been British code breakers attributed with the distinction of being first to break Enigma, a code used during World War II by the Germans to prevent their communications from falling in to enemy hands. Correspondences were run through a special 'Enigma machine' which looked a bit like a manual typewriter. British cryptologists at Bletchley Park have long been hailed as the first to succeed in breaking this code but now it seems that Polish mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski may have got there first.

"In both popular literature and official information the public was told that the breaking of the Enigma codes was due to the work of the British intelligence services to the complete omission of the work of Polish scientists," reads the new resolution.
As part of the effort the upper house of Poland's parliament is to pass a resolution praising Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski, the three Polish mathematicians who first broke the codes back in 1932.


Source: Telegraph | Comments (22)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by the L 12 years ago
By the way you forgot the work of De Broglie; HelBronner; Fermi, Marie Curie born Maria Salomea Sklodowski. Whereas the Poles, they fought both nazis and soviets, the firsts for 6 years the seconds for 63 years. And you forgot Leó Szilárd.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Paracelse 12 years ago
And you forgot Leó Szilárd. Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Comment icon #15 Posted by the L 12 years ago
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa No problem Paracelse. Personally I learned a lot from your posts. It was about time that I add something smart to them.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Paracelse 12 years ago
Thanks. When people stop learning and take everything they have learned in the past for granted without being ready to change their point of view it's time then to retire
Comment icon #17 Posted by Chooky88 12 years ago
WW2 was the biggest event in human history. So many brave intelligent and resourceful people were involved. I agree I was a bit harsh on the Poles. They deserve better from history which portrays them simply as victims. I retract my prior comments and hope they get some nod from history in their contribution to defeating the Nazis. I love how they beat the Communists.. . By singing!
Comment icon #18 Posted by andy hair candy 12 years ago
just go to poland... that is old news. The polish mathematics men are revered
Comment icon #19 Posted by lizt 12 years ago
dont know wether the poles broke it but... we had a recent visit to Bletchley U.K (home of the code breakers) heres some pics of the code breaking machines, hope these photos work never tried posting pics before its a huge place and most of the old buildings are intact. the large house is open to the public and its also the home of national museum of computing. its just south of milton keynes in the uk. the 2 photos below are collossus code cracking machine
Comment icon #20 Posted by Aus Der Box Skeptisch 12 years ago
As an aside the USA had the only ccode not broken during wartime. Navajo wind talkers...
Comment icon #21 Posted by questionmark 12 years ago
the 2 photos below are collossus code cracking machine calling Colossus a "code breaking machine" humbles the device a little. Colossus was the first open architecture computer that existed in the world. While much slower than a Cray it could emulate one without a problem.
Comment icon #22 Posted by the L 12 years ago
As an aside the USA had the only ccode not broken during wartime. Navajo wind talkers... Same as Egyptians use Bedouin language because it isnt written language so Hebrews couldnt learned it in 6day war and Yom Kippur war.


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