Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Bletchley Park & the Enigma Machine

During World War II Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, England became the principal center of Allied code-breaking. It became the headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). It was at Bletchley Park that Alan Turing and other code-breakers built Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. It was this computer which was responsible for decoding the messages created by the German cipher device, the Enigma machine.A feat which many believed shortened the war by at least one to two years.

Bletchley Park is now a museum open to the general public. The museum's Bletchley Park interactive map is a useful plan for visitors to the Bletchley Park site and to its facilities and attractions. The map contains lots of useful information about the Government Code and Cypher School and the role that its different buildings played in the breaking of German codes.

The map itself is an oblique pictorial plan of the Bletchley Park Estate. It features a couple of animated features, such as birds flying over the estate and a working fountain. Labels on the map reveal the name's of the museum's significant buildings. If you click on a building's label an information window opens providing information of the building's role in the GC&CS during the war. 

Huts, 3 and 6 are two of the code-breaking huts where Enigma messages were decrypted. Hut 8 was where Alan Turing's office was located and where Enigma messages were also decoded. The Bletchley Park Museum website provides lots of additional information of the role that the site played in the war, the amazing people who worked there, the challenges they faced in decrypting enemy codes and how they created and built the world's first programmable digital electronic computer.

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