Polish codebreakers ‘cracked Enigma before Alan Turing’

Alan Turing could not have cracked the Enigma Code without the help of Polish mathematicians and it is time to “right the wrong” and acknowledge their contribution, the Polish government has said.

Deciphering the German system is believed to have shortened World War Two by two years and saved countless lives.

But few people realise that early Enigma codes had already been broken by the Poles who then passed on the knowledge to Britain shortly before the outbreak of war.

  • G

    But Turing was a fag so the narrative must give him top billing.

    • Brett_McS

      I suspect that you are correct. For some as yet unknown reason, fags are significantly smarter than average. It’s not like they pass on their genes for intelligence so there must be something else going on.

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      • H

        Until the last 20 years or so, gays DID tend to pass on their genes, since society wasn’t quite so enamored of homosexuals previously. But now, of course, to be accepted by society they no longer have to live double lives and therefore will not bother marrying people of the opposite gender and having offspring.

        This changed societal attitude toward homosexuality is in fact one of the theories suggested as an explanation for the decline of IQ in the western world. (Lots of other possibilities, of course, such as mass immigration from low-IQ countries like Somalia.)

        ( http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/researchers-western-iqs-dropped-14-points-over-last-180634194.html )

    • El Martyachi

      Having heard the Polish story before, I thought he got top billing because he was English. Same diff I guess..

      • G

        What BCF is saying is that it was the POLES not the POLE SMOKERS who defeated the Nazis.

  • Brett_McS

    “Pollack” became a synonym for dumb in the US for some reason. Perhaps the Polish emigrants of the time came only from the lower classes. But the Poles have always been at least as smart as Germans, especially in fields such as mathematics.

    • Bataviawillem

      Copernicus was polish.

  • Xavier

    Well, I knew it. Poland was a scientific and cultural jewel until the Germans got at them. I could be biased though, since great-grandma came from the old country in 1886.

  • AlexanderGalt

    While it’s true that the Polish broke Enigma. The Germans later added an extra reel which made it even more insanely difficult to crack. So Turing still deserves the credit.

    • Brett_McS

      The enigma with the extra wheel was never really cracked. It was basically impossible given the technology of the day, but with the help of other intelligence and the fact that some German officers didn’t use Enigma properly, they were able to make enough astute guesses about the meaning of the codes to obtain useful information.

  • Barrington Minge

    Surprised yer mooslims have not claimed they did it….

  • simus1

    Almost all newspaper stories about how the Enigma mechanism relates to WW2 code breaking are complete crap. The Poles deserve plenty of accolades for their very tremendous prototype work plus laying the foundation and initial outline of how to bust into the system, But every time every day of the war, the Germans would change settings or “software” and then it was a brand new ball game for the codebreakers.
    A simple example of a parallel wartime situation:
    British scientists through research and trial and error discovered the cavity magnetron tube which could give radar a tremendous boost in power in a smaller package. But factories were maxed out doing other more time sensitive work. The only answer was to share the secret with the USA which could then quickly mass produce the item in the tens of thousands needed by all the Allies. Once such radars were fitted in hunter aircraft the loss rate of German U boats soared.

  • lgeubank

    I read the book “The Ultra Secret” long ago. (“Ultra” was the name given to Enigma messages, which were of a higher category even than “Top Secret” or “Most Secret.”)

    Enigma machines were manufactured in Poland, among other places. The Poles gave the allies some of the machines even before the war began.

    “Breaking” the Enigma codes really boiled down to finding the “starting state” or set-up for each day’s messages. The allies had the machines, they had the resulting messages, but each day they had to find the set-up or starting state of the machines that gave that message.

  • Minicapt

    David Kahn wrote the story in his “Codebreakers” of 1967. It would appear to be a government PR pissing game.