back to article UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

Spooks are still withholding the vital codebreaking secrets of Bletchley Park some 70 years after its boffins first cracked the Nazis' encrypted transmissions. Even though Bletchley has not been an active military facility for more half a century, GCHQ is still refusing to release algorithms which were used to decode Second …

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  1. fnusnu

    Post war operations

    I presume that we (The Brits) gave our Commonwealth chums an enigma variant after the war and told them it was secure...

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Post war operations

      "I presume that we (The Brits) gave our Commonwealth chums an enigma variant after the war and told them it was secure..."

      Correct

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Post war operations

      > I presume that we (The Brits) gave our Commonwealth chums an enigma variant after the war and told them it was secure...

      From wikipedia:

      "After the end of World War II, the Allies sold captured Enigma machines, still widely considered secure, to a number of developing countries. As these countries did not know that the machine had been broken, their supposedly secure communications were in fact being read regularly by the major Western intelligence agencies."

      Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

    3. beanbasher

      Re: Post war operations

      Not so far off the Mark. The book "The War That Never Was" by Duff Hart-Davis make a passing referance to Egypy still using Enigma in the 1960's. So keeping every thing hush-hush might still be required even now.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Post war operations

      Yes, just like we gave the Yanks everything on the basis they would give us all they knew. Turned out, they knew nothing (they claimed). Same deal with the jet engine and the supersonic jet.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Post war operations

        We knew nothing*. But after the war, we talked the Brits (and other Commonwealth members) into smashing all the technology to bits. Or the Soviets might get it. Meanwhile we went on to commercialize that very same technology.

        *Interesting anecdote: A British telephone company engineer pioneered the use of vacuum tube logic in one of the versions of Colossus. When an American counterpart came over to look at the new machine (the US had built an older, relay based version), the Brits showed it to him. He asked if it would be possible to see it in operation and was told that it was (vacuum tubes being silent compared to the noisy relay logic of the older system).

        1. Deryk Barker

          Re: Post war operations

          All of the versions of Colossus were electronic, i.e. used vacuum tubes.

          I think your story refers to the Bombe.

          1. TheArdvaark

            Re: Post war operations

            Not quite sure what is meant here. All of the Colossus machines used valves with a small number of relays also being employed. They were not entirely silent as anyone who has seen Colossus can testify to. There was a certain amount of noise from the "bedstead", around which the paper tape spun and there was quite a bit of "clicking" from the relays.

            The Bombe machine was electro-mechanical and had a tremendous amount of moving parts, including relays; few, if any, valves were used in this machine and it was quite noisy.

            I have not heard of any American machine that was a precursor to Colossus but the US did build their own versions of the Bombe machines that did use valves, as well as relays, and these machines were considerably faster than the British Bombes.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Post war operations

        "Yes, just like we gave the Yanks everything on the basis they would give us all they knew. Turned out, they knew nothing (they claimed). Same deal with the jet engine and the supersonic jet.

        The more recent version of that story that I heard was that we sent all that info to the Yanks because of the significant threat of invasion and that all copies in the UK would be destroyed if/when an invasion occurred. The idea being that even if the UK fell, the US would get the technology rather than the Germans.

        Now, although that sounds reasonable on first hearing it, I'd have thought it would have made more sense to send everything off to Canada and be ready to evacuate the relevant people there quick smart in the event of an invasion.

        Oh, how history could have been different...But then it's hard to put yourself into the mind of decision makers faced with what looked like an overwhelming and imminent invasion.

      3. veeguy

        Re: Post war operations

        The technology was given to the US as a portion of payment for the lend lease debt owed. The lend lease "loan" was a 2% simple interest loan, the last payment being made in 2006. There is still an open debt owed by the UK to the US from WW1 in the amount of 4.4 billion US dollars. Of course the UK still has open debt obligations to various countries dating back to the Napoleonic wars. So you really shouldn't get all pissy about technology transfer made to the US.

    5. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Post war operations

      Apparantly the Russians were taking any enigmas, and presumably Lorenz, they found during and after the war as well, so no doubt they were very useful in getting a picture behind the curtain.

      What is strange is that the Russians were being given some Ultra intelligence during the war, but never seemed to realise it was from the Enigma and Lorenz machines.

      What is staggering is the total secrecy that BP worked under - even (or especially?) people that met there and married each other never let on what they did,

      1. DropBear

        Re: Post war operations

        "What is strange is that the Russians were being given some Ultra intelligence during the war, but never seemed to realise it was from the Enigma and Lorenz machines." - Oh, they knew... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cairncross

  2. NomNomNom

    JFK knew

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      @ NomNomNom

      Which would explain why GCHQ killed Kennedy? (But they probably had the Mafia's and Castro's and the CIA's help)

  3. Christoph

    I wonder what kind of computing industry we would have now if they hadn't kept this secret for so long?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      What kind of computing industry?

      Well, clearly, if this information hadn't been kept secret we couldn't have had a computing industry as we'd have been overrun by Soviets, sorry, I mean terrorists, sorry Americans. Oh, wait...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The people involved did start out computing industry, they just had to "discover everything from first principles" when at the pioneering universities.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: The people involved did start out computing industry...

        A few years back there was a very good lecture at Bletchley Park given by a historian (unfortunately I don't remember his name but think he wrote a book), who had done a lot of leg work and evidenced where people went after Bletchley. Everyone of the early centres of computing had at least one person who had worked at Bletchley during the war. Basically he disregarded the big names and due to information becoming available through the Bletchley veterans was able to identify the team members that haven't received the spotlight.

    3. Chemist

      "I wonder what kind of computing industry we would have now if they hadn't kept this secret for so long?"

      Well, given that by 1948 Manchester Uni.had developed the 'Baby' which was stored-program and all-electronic I don't think it held anyone up long - indeed the speed of improvement was impressive with the full Mk1 being available by 1949 and a commercial version from Ferranti by 1951

      Incidently Turing wrote the third program for the 'baby' which was for long division.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, given that by 1948 Manchester Uni.had developed the 'Baby' which was stored-program and all-electronic I don't think it held anyone up long - indeed the speed of improvement was impressive with the full Mk1 being available by 1949 and a commercial version from Ferranti by 1951

        ... well to quote an amazingly weird US conspiracy theory website I once stumbled across ... "all this happening in 1948 along with the "invention" of the transistor ... all just a year after Roswell .... coincidence?"

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Muppet

          So assuming any aliens who can build a flying saucer capable of extra-solar travel must be at least 100 years more advanced than us today, and in the last 60 years "transistors" and their ilk operating in computer chips today are almost unrecognisable compared to those used in Baby what makes you think we could even get close to cracking 160 years more advanced tech in a mere year from1948?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Muppet

            "what makes you think we could even get close to cracking 160 years more advanced tech in a mere year from1948?"

            What makes you think it had to be "cracked"?

            Maybe it came with manuals. Or instructors. Or "military advisers"

            Yes, thanks. The indestructible metallic looking one with four arms. ----------------->

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Alien

            Roswell?

            Read it here: The Day After Roswell by "the very credible Lt Colonel Corso of the US Army" himself!

            According to amazon, it came out on "January 1, 0010", which probably means it rode the X-Files wave and someone had some Y2K trouble with his 'puters.

            It is a waste of a perfectly good tree except for the reprinted article from the 60's I think flogging the idea of a nuke-flinging US moonbase. "Nuke them from on high", indeed.

        3. Florida1920
          Pirate

          I was "born" in 1947. But that's all I can say about it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Alien

            Less "born" than "cloned", or perhaps just "took possesion of your current human host".

            Someone call Mulder and Scully!!

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Deryk Barker

        I think the real question is what if Turing's ACE had been finished as soon as technically feasible (by some estimates early 1947) rather than delayed by poitics.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Alien

          Damn those poi-tics. They should have stayed in gamma quadrant, what are they doing in this part of the galaxy?

          Next they will be selling us galacto-opium. That they forced us to produce in the first place.

  4. Paul Westerman
    Mushroom

    Tony Sale

    Not Sales, thank you!

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tony Sale

      I spotted that too. I had a nice long chat with Tony a couple of years before we lost him, and when the Colossus envirnment was less sanitised. I also sneaked a couple of photographs {oops}

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    "A Wren reenactor at Bletchley Park"

    "ONLY THE DEAD CAN KNOW PEACE FROM THIS EVIL MACHINE"

    1. Woza

      Re: "A Wren reenactor at Bletchley Park"

      A GRAVEDUST system would prevent such evasion.

  6. Perpetual Cyclist

    Still secret because we sold it as secure post war to tin pot regimes - or were our targets more domestic? Would it turn out that that a programmable decoding machine could decode the transmissions of embassies to Germany, France, or even more trusted partners?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Read Spycatcher, the autobiography of Peter Wright.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    Did Dennis Feltham Jones The Author of Colossus 1966 - turned into move The Forbin Project) have knowledge of Colossus. Can't find much on him apart from the fact he was a British naval commander in World War 2. Did he work for Naval Intelligence ?

    1. Deryk Barker

      Re: I wonder

      Even if he had it's highly unlikely he'd have know about Colossus by name.

      Even Winterbotham (whose 1974 The Enigma Secret is hilarious when it comes to details of what BP were actually doing) could only refer to the Bronze Goddess (by which he presumably meant the Bombe).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deeper Still

    @fnusnu ... It's deeper than that; We SOLD Enigma and Lorentz variants to many countries post 1945..... and told them they were secure...... :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deeper Still

      Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

    2. Ian Ringrose

      Re: Deeper Still

      Enigma was still very hard to break unless the person using it did not choose truly random keys, or put lots of text in a message that was known to the team trying to break the code.

      (Or they had a much better way of breaking enigma then has been admitted too.)

      1. DropBear
        Boffin

        Re: Deeper Still

        "Enigma was still very hard to break unless the person using it did not choose truly random keys, or put lots of text in a message that was known to the team trying to break the code." - I've read a rather interesting article somewhere stating that Enigma messages could have been broken using WWII-level technology using nothing but sheer brute force (no cribs required etc.). Not that this was possibly done, but that it would have been feasible. It admittedly required a few messages longer than the officially allowed maximum (and quite a few Bombe-like machines), but reportedly several of those were received daily anyway. I can try to find it again, but I think it should be easily Google-able...

    3. Deryk Barker

      Re: Deeper Still

      I think more to the point: who would have captured most of the Lorenz machines and probably decided to adopt and use them themselves?

      The Russians.

  9. Dazed and Confused

    Not yet declassifying the algorithms yet

    Looking at some of the algorithms that have been published or at least hinted at, especially in the Jack Copland book, I suspect that they've still got methods that were discovered during the war that are still useful today.

    1. MrT

      That book is excellent...

      Colossus: The secrets of Bletchley Park's code-breaking computers" B. Jack Copeland and others

      A really interesting collection. About 85% of it is written by the people who did the work, including Tutte and Flowers.

      1. bonkers
        Happy

        Re: That book is excellent...

        thanks, I just ordered it on your recommendation.

  10. yossarianuk

    Microsoft

    And now Microsoft sell operating systems to the Commonwealth and they tell them that's secure...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Microsoft

      Shhhhhhh! Do you want the NSA/GCHQ to rendition you to North Korea or something!!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft

      Is there much to spy on in Massachusetts?

  11. Rustident Spaceniak
    Trollface

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but

    a) Colossus was only used to automate the code breaking of the Lorenz machine after the manual deciphering was considered too slow;

    b) The whole deciphering job only became possible after two very similar long messages were sent with almost identical settings on the Lorenz encoder, making it possible to deduce the cipher principle;

    c) Depending on whether you consider relais as electronics, the Zuse Z3 which came before Colossus, could claim the title of "the world's first electronic programmable digital computer".

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Zuse Z3

      Yes this is one of those quirks of history. It is unfortunate, due to the war and the simple fact that descriptions his work weren't translated into english until 1965 and hence wasn't widely known outside of a small circle of German scientists, Zuse's pioneering work wasn't built upon. Whereas the work at Bletchley did strongly influence the development of modern computing.

      1. Deryk Barker

        Re: Zuse Z3

        Well, Zuse restarted work on the Z4 in 1949 and sold one in 1950 to EFTH in Zurich, where it was in use until the early '60s.

        So I'd say "small circle of German scientists" was exaggerating the case somewhat.

        1. jphb

          Re: Zuse Z3

          Zuse's Z4 is now on display in Munich. It is, I believe, the third oldest computer in the world and the oldest complete machine. Unfortunately, so I've been told, nobody knows how to adjust the relays so it sits there in silent splendour. As GPO old timers will know, for long term reliable operation electromechanical relays require skillful mechanical adjustment. And fortunately when TNMOC came to restore the WITCH (which I enjoyed programming in the 1960's) retired GPO engineers were available.

          Incidentally I find it really sad that there seems to be some silly spat between TNMOC and the Bletchley Park Trust. I've also got some nice photos of the Colossus rebuild which I took when I first visited TNMOC a few years ago before it was moved to its present rather gloomy home. Not sure whether, in the present state of affairs at BP, I could pass them on.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Zuse Z3

            @jphb

            "Konrad Zuse (German: [ˈkɔnʁat ˈtsuːzə]; 22 June 1910 – 18 December 1995) was a German civil engineer, inventor and computer pioneer. His greatest achievement was the world's first functional program-controlled Turing-complete computer, the Z3, which became operational in May 1941. Thanks to this machine and its predecessors, Zuse is often regarded as the inventor of the computer.[1][2][3][4]

            Zuse was also noted for the S2 computing machine, considered the first process-controlled computer. He founded one of the earliest computer businesses in 1941, producing the Z4, which became the world's first commercial computer. From 1943[5] to 1945[6] he designed the first high-level programming language, Plankalkül.[7] In 1969, Zuse suggested the concept of a computation-based universe in his book Rechnender Raum (Calculating Space).

            This from the Wikipedia in English. Are you loosing your dick because of this, or did you ever have one.

          2. TNMOC peter

            Colossus location

            "I've also got some nice photos of the Colossus rebuild which I took when I first visited TNMOC a few years ago before it was moved to its present rather gloomy home."

            Colossus is in exactly the same place as when Tony Sale started the rebuild... being over 5 tonnes and miles of wiring it was not possible or practical to move it. What has happened is the room has been completely re modelled around it allowing visitors to see a full 360 degree view of the machine.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Zuse Z3

        The Americans would claim the first computer was made in the USA. I think the Russians had claims too, so this is normal "my kids are better than your kids". (I am for Zuse on this). And "a feat regarded as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of World War II" sounds a bit like "The world series" in the USA.

        There is a lot of this in most countries, ask a Britt about the propeller, but so what, always remember that my kids are better than yours.

    2. Deryk Barker

      Your point a) is fairly self evident and Colossus was used almost exclusively (at least at first) for wheel setting not wheel breaking, which was still done by hand. (Donald Michie figured out an algorithm for Colossus to do that too.)

      b) yes, although I'm not sure what your point is here - yes, had the Germans maintained strict signals discipline (Lorenz or Enigma) the outcome, or at least the duration, of the war might have been very different.

      c) Does anybody consider relays electronic? They're electro-mechanical and Zuse's machine is frequently cited as the first electro-mechanical programmable computer.

    3. TheArdvaark

      A slight correction.

      May I slightly correct the post writtenn by Rustident Spaceniak.

      a) Colossus was designed by Tommy Flowers of the Post Office Research Establishment at Dollis Hill in London. He did this as he had been asked to go to Bletchley Park to see if he could improve another machine that was there called Robinson (or Heath Robinson as it was nicknamed). This machine was designed to find the pin positions (patterns) and wheel start positions of the first 5 Lorenz wheels. After that information was determined the patterns and start positions of the remaining 7 wheels could be calculated manually. The problem was that Robinson was not realiable and Tommy Flowers decided he could not improve it but had a better idea, and the result of that was Colossus.

      b) A German operator, on the Athens to Vienna link (some believe on the Athens to Berlin link) of the High Command had a 4000 character message to send; this was on 30th August 1941. He sent the message twice on exactly the same settings of his Lorenz machine - the settings were supposed to be changed for each message.

      The second time round, after he had typed in the first 7 characters of the message, he realised he could abbreviate certain words which he did throughout the rest of the message. Our listening station at Denmark Hill in London picked up those two messages and got them up to the Park where Colonel John Tiltman saw them and realised what the operator had done. Using those two dissimilar messages he extracted the entire string of original 4000 plain text characters (called the Keystream) but didn't know how to take it further. It was Bill Tutte, who was brilliant at statistical mathematics, who used those two messages and the Keystream to work out the entire logic of Lorenz - a feat often referred to as: "the greatest intellectual feat of WWII". Colossus was used to work out the patterns and start positions of all 12 Lorenz wheels and that information was then plugged up on another piece of machinery that the Park had (called Tunny - the code name that was given to Lorenz as nobody knew the real name or who made it) and it was Tunny that did the actual decryption.

      c) The Zuse 3 used 2000 standard relays, which were electro-mechanical, Colossus used valves which were purely electronic so which really was the first programmable, electronic, digital computer? I'm afraid I'm not clever enough to answer that one so let's just say that either, or both, could claim that title!!!

  12. Peter Simpson 1
    Black Helicopters

    In the 70's

    I took a programming course on the CDC Cyber 74 from a CDC apps engineer. He pointed out the "count number of 1 bits in word" assembler instruction and asked if anyone knew why it had been included in the instruction set. Nobody did, and he told us that it was included at the request of one of their most important government clients, who used it in a cryptanalytic application.

    1. PhilBuk

      Re: In the 70's

      I thought that instruction was in the Cray-1 rather than the CDC.

      Phil.

      1. Tromos

        Re: In the 70's

        No, the Population Count instruction was definitely present in the CDC machines and apart from any spook uses got occasionally used in arcane pieces of highly optimised code as it executed in its own functional unit and hence in parallel with other instructions (provided none of these were using the same registers).

      2. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: In the 70's

        It was in the Cray-1 as well IIRC. I'd imagine it was included for the same customer(s).

        1. DaveB

          Re: In the 70's

          I think the pop count was missing from the original VAX 11/780 running VAX VMS V1.0, however version 2.0 of VMS came with a new set of CPU boards which included pop count.

          1. BlueGreen

            Re: In the 70's

            I believe the ibm power chip has popcount.

            Emulating popcount efficiently is covered in Hacker's Delight (1st edition hugely recommended, just this second discovered the 2nd edition is out, here: http://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Delight-Edition-Henry-Warren/dp/0321842685 which I shall get pronto. Looks like one of my colleagues' suggestions will have made it into 2nd ed. Web site here http://www.hackersdelight.org/, table of contents here http://www.hackersdelight.org/hacker2TOC.pdf).

            Applications for popcount listed in 1st ed are hamming distance between vectors (used for error correcting codes), and fast indexing into a sparse array. Also for counting trailing zeros,the uses of which he gives as Gosper's loop detection algorithm (just get the book, if you have the least sense of curiosity, just get it, it's brilliant).

            1. phil dude
              Coat

              Re: In the 70's

              i don't know about in the 70's but bit counts are useful in biology today (bioinformatics)....

              P.

  13. Squeezer

    My father-in-law Bill Chandler was the chief engineer who actually built and debugged Colossus -- among other things, he got the first Colossus Mk II working a few days before D-day which led to it happening at all by confirming that the German High Command had fallen for the "Calais invasion" feint.

    This meant working through the night on his own on live kilovolt valve circuits; when water started running across the floor towards him he donned his wellies and carried on until he got it working...

    Unfortunately he said almost nothing about this before he died, fortunately after writing a paper for the Annals of History of Computing about building Colossus, so I hardly got to talk to him about the whole subject :-(

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      "According to this decrypted telegram, the attack on Normandy came as a complete surprise!"

      "What does it say, then?"

      "WTF? LOL!"

    2. Charles Manning

      kV

      Were they really kV? I played around with valves a bit as a yoof and they were normally under 100V.

      I was under the impression that the valves were run a low voltages to improve life.

      Most valves of the era would have been at less than 100V, but neon tubes (often used in logic circuits of the day) fired at 90V so greater than 90V was often useful.

  14. TNMOC peter

    Colossus and tunny in action & help save their heritage

    [blatant plug mode on]

    Don't forget you can see Colossus and Tunny operating at TNMOC every day - and the rest of the Museum (limited opening days) is also worth a visit to see how the computing revolution, started by many involved in the design of Colossus, continued after the war.

    www.tnmoc.org/visit

    Also please help us keep the heritage of Bletchley Park intact and stop BPT fencing off one of the greatest successes in code breaking history and in the development of computing.

    http://www.tnmoc.org/news/news-releases/bigger-picture-fragmenting-heritage-site

    http://www.justgiving.com/nationalmuseumofcomputing

    [Blatant plug mode off]

    And to prove my point you will see no mention of the 70th anniversary of the first Colosus decrypt anywhere on the BP website, or Facebook page. BPT do not consider Colossus and Tunny part of the Bletchley Park Heritage and removed any mention of Colossus from their guide book or let any visitor know they can see Colossus in Block H - absolutely crazy!!!

    www.tnmoc.org

  15. dssf

    What if the reason is due to heinous, embarrasing, or frightening info?

    Suppose:

    Heinous:

    -- The Allies gleaned or learned the locations of ALL the Nazi concentration camps, but would not bomb them as it would have revealed the Allies had broken the German code

    Embarrassing:

    -- The Allies gleaned that the Russians had obtained samples of the machines, tweaked them, and then left the UK in the dust, meaning the Allies (or at least the UK and their cousins) to keep the machines classified, maybe because the Russians/Soviets adapated them but not so far ahead as to be totally elusive

    Frightening:

    -- Maybe the Germans internally communicated the suspected/verified location of Alien bases, and to this day, the US/UK alliance wishes to keep that a sceekrett... Maybe an alien or two sit on high seats in both countries?

    After All, there are STILL secrets about JFK's assassination being held back (despite a recent release of lots of sstuff around the subject), probably because certain people in the loop are still alive.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: What if the reason is due to heinous, embarrasing, or frightening info?

      Erm... Why would the Allies want to bomb concentration camps full of thousands of jews and other unfortunates the Nazis wanted dead?

      Germans? Alien bases? Aliens sitting in high seats?

      Try smoking a slightly milder mix!

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What if the reason is due to heinous, embarrasing, or frightening info?

      If that's on "embarrassing" level, you need to read up on the Yalta-and-after shenanigans pronto.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: What if the reason is due to heinous, embarrasing, or frightening info?

      On the heinous side, that wouldn't have been actionable anyway. Neither Bomber Command nor the U.S. 8th or 15th Air Forces had sufficient mastery of the air to bomb the death camps (which were in Poland) until mid-1944. If they had tried in 1943 and over the huge distances involved, it would have been even more costly than the Schweinfurt and Regensburg ball bearings raids that nearly crippled the 8th air force in the Fall of 1943.

      By mid-1944, the bulk of the Final Solution was achieved, and the camps at Sobibor and Treblinka had been closed and even demolished by the SS. Only Auschwitz and the deportation of Hungary's Jews to Auschwitz was left as major implements of Jewish extermination. Within Hungary, diplomatic and humanitarian efforts by people like Raoul Wallenberg saved a large majority of Budapest's Jews anyway, but Hungarian Jewry outside the capital were systematically deported and other than those who survived selection for slave labor, destroyed.

      Plus the allied air forces were understandably diverted to supporting Operation Overlord, plus prominent decision-makers (including David Ben-Gurion in Jerusalem) felt that bombing Auschwitz would allow the Germans a propaganda victory as they rolled out the corpses of Auschwitz inmates killed by savage Allied bombing.

  16. Buzzby
    Big Brother

    I Was There

    I was a Bletchley Park ( BP ) a few times in the late 60's. It was then a Post Office telephones training establishment. The only odd things about the place was the large radio aerials and the fact we were told that if your radio ( Walkman, mp3 player of the period ) did not work in the accommodation you were in, try it outside where it would work. You were probably in a faraday screened building but we weren't told that..

  17. gon

    was this the volounteer that was sacked last week.???

    i wonder if the 86yr old volounteer was the one the stroppy bletchley park trust sacked last week.?

    seems a shame that the group that pocketed loads of money cant sort out things with the computer people who have spent many hours rebuilding the computer..who do these trust people think they are conserving bletchley for ...us the public, whe want to go there and see all the exhibits without fencing and petty bickering with the computer geeks..

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    You can't handle the truth, and it be self classifying too way above any paid grades

    Do you know anything about the secrets of Bletchley Park? We'd like to hear more. Get in touch – click the author's name at the top or get stuck into the comments below – and tell us all about it.

    Ok. Bletchley Park type secrets are of Dark Web Matters and thus does Immaculate Stealth and Universal Security require and dictate that the Presentation of Future Events, which be in Substantive Essence the Bletchley Park AdVenTuring Legacy and ITs Forte, be a Special Access Program with a Practically Permanent Classification TS/SCI available to only the Few who can handle and discover its Magic Keys. And this is most apt and more APT that ever will be freely admitted by front line pioneering personnel and quite rightly attributed to that and those who do.

    Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” ….. which is just but a sound bite in an august monologue in monumental change times, to be read of here …… http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/113-the-few

    1. Pavelow

      Re: You can't handle the truth, and it be self classifying too way above any paid grades

      Do you know anything about the secrets of Bletchley Park? We'd like to hear more. Get in touch – click the author's name at the top or get stuck into the comments below – and tell us all about it.

      you might want check out this story on the BBC

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26015436#

  19. maimonides

    Polish

    One important fact is missing from this discussion. Brits did almost nothing of the real enigma work. Polish did and brought it, when fleeing from Germans. Brits(and other nationalities) did just put it together and pretended its theirs. The genius was elsewhere.

    1. TheArdvaark

      Re: Polish

      This is not true at all, let me explain. The Poles had been working on breaking the early Enigma machines since the late 1920's and made the first break in 1931-32. The only time that they imparted this information to anyone else was at a meeting at Pyrie in mid 1939 when they gave the information they had to British and French intelligence. This was because the changes made by the Germans to Enigma locked the Poles out from using their normal methods and had to rely instead on the Zygalski sheets, which British Intelligence helped to make up for them as their original sheets couldn't cope with the changes that the Germans had made.

      In entirely separate work, Dilly Knox had been working on the family of Enigma machines here in the UK and had already broken the Italian Enigma in 1936. He was almost there in breaking the full German Military Enigma in 1938-39 but was stuck on one point and this point was cleared up at the 1939 meeting with the Poles. As a result of that Knox came back to Bletchley Park and made the first break in the full military Enigma in January 1940.

      Alan Turing/Gordon Welchman's design for the British Bombe machine was on an entirely different principle to that of the Polish Bomba and was, in essence, light years ahead.

      We do, however, acknowledge the work that was done by the Poles and, as a result, have a permanent memorial to them at Bletchley Park.

  20. Sultitan

    Irrelevant

    All this Bletchley business is quite OTT. British participation in WWII was peripheral - it was the Russians wot 'won' it.

    1. JustNiz

      Re: Irrelevant

      Try telling that to the Americans. They are all brainwashed in school and by their media to think that the US single-handedly saved the entire planet.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Irrelevant

      To start with, the Bletchley business was important superb, add any positive adjective you want. Regarding the Russian part in WWII you will face a number of questions (and I am faced with the fact that my English is not good enough for this topic). First of all, and in no order (proof number one), Russia received help in the form of food and arms, if rather late, from the USA, and keeping up the route to Murmansk was indeed a very heavy task for both GB and the USA. All the same the Nazi army lost the war at the eastern front, and that would have happened without the D-day. British and Americans tend to think that the WWII ended with the D-day. And what the hell, it was part of the end, no doubt. Our western view (forgetting, omitting the Russian part) in this respect, is much due to the fact that the Russians "liberation" of east Europe had nothing to do with "liberation". All just the start of the cold war.

      One of the clips, at Youtube, I find both fascinating and disturbing is the one with Hitler asking for help from some kids on the street in Berlin a few days before the Russians arrived. Look at his face, not any "Heil" left. And I cannot laugh nor weep nor feel anything, just this feeling that deep down I might have the same face, and I hope it will stay hidden. Looking at the kids I feel, even as not a German, I could have been anyone of them.

      To some of my German friends, the very few still with feelings for Adolf, I recommend the same clips. Anyway, the not so irrelevant thing to remember is that nazism did not die in WWII in any part of the world,

      As for Americans (referred to in a later comment), you are not out of luck, you have Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States.

  21. cortland

    Since scraps of encrypted and recovered plain text messages have been published in books and articles, given the power of modern computers, even laptops, it's not unreasonable to wonder why someone hasn't deduced the algorithms used from what is publicly available. An Enigma simulator is already out there; scroll down at

    http://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/enigma/

  22. sbs

    Video of BP

    Here's my chat with Tony Sale - a bit noisy for obvious reasons!

    https://web.clesh.com/videos/view/Thesecre-1356342594.lan/

  23. TheArdvaark

    Heard the latest "class act" from BP Management?

    Latest barmy idea from Bletchley Park's Management.

    This can be seen on Bletchley Park's website:

    1940'S BOUTIQUE

    15 MAR 2014 FROM 9:30 TO 17:00

    Join us for a day of 1940's glamour and learn how to style your own hair and make-up to achieve that iconic 1940's look.

    Hairdresser and make-up artist XXXXXXX will show you how to recreate some iconic styles including the famous victory rolls as well as make-up to match. The day will include refreshments and lunch as well as admission to Bletchley Park exhibitions and facilities.

    09.30 Arrival with tea, coffee & mini muffins

    10.00 Demonstration of 1940's look, hair & make-up

    11.30 Practical make-up session, eyes, lips and brows.

    13.00 Lunch - tea, coffee & sandwich selection

    13.30 Free time to enjoy Bletchley Park exhibitions and facilities

    14.30 Victory roll demonstration

    15.00 Practical hair session, victory rolls, creating curls, 1940's accessories (snoods, hats etc).

    Participants will need to bring:

    Free-standing mirror

    Hair brush and comb

    Their own make-up bag containing

    brow pencil

    eyeliner

    lip liner and lipstick, preferably red

    Tickets £65 each available here.

    TICKETS £65 EACH!!!!! And this "Boutique" day is scheduled to run for several days throughout the year. Yet another crazy idea for making money from the Bletchley Park Trust/Park Management that has nothing to do with what happened at the Park during WWII. What next?? Workshops in how to stop ladders running in nylons; cookery courses in 1001 things to do with Spam; how to cook potatoes in 57 thoroughly boring wartime ways???

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