Author(s): F. H. Hinsley (Editor); Alan Stripp (Editor)

Second World War

Familiar to anyone versed in the history of World War II or interested in the study of modern intelligence work, Bletchley Park was arguably the most successful intelligence operation in world history, the top secret workplace of the remarkable people who cracked Germany's vaunted Enigma Code. Almost to the end of the war, the Germans had firm faith in the Enigma ciphering machine, but in fact the codebreakers were deciphering nearly 4,000 German transmissions daily by 1942, reaping a wealth of information on such important matters as the effort to resupply Rommel's army in North Africa and the effect of Allied attempts to mislead the Germans about the location of D-Day landings. Indeed, Winston Churchill hailed the work of Bletchley Park as the "secret weapon" that won the war.
Only now, nearly half a century since the end of the Second World War, have any of the men and women in this group come forward to tell this remarkable story in their own words--a story that an oath of secrecy long prevented them from revealing. In Codebreakers, F.H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp have gathered together twenty-seven first-hand accounts of one of the most amazing feats in intelligence history. These engaging memoirs, each written by a different member of the codebreakers team, recount the long hours working in total secrecy and the feelings of camaraderie, tension, excitement, and frustration as these men and women, both British and American, did some of the most important work of the war. These talented people share not only their technical knowledge of cryptography and military logistics, but also poignant personal recollections as well. Walter Eytan, one of a handful of Jews at Betchley Park, recalls intercepting a message from a German vessel which reported that it carried Jews "en route for Piraeus zur Endlosung (for the final solution)." Eytan writes "I had never heard this expression before, but instinctively, I knew what it must mean, and I have never forgotten that moment." Vivienne Alford tells of her chilling memory of hearing that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, and the stillness that came over her and her co-workers in Naval Section VI. And William Millward confides that he is still haunted by the work he did in Hut 3 nearly fifty years ago. "I sometimes wonder, especially during the night, how many sailors I drowned."
Few readers will finish this book without feeling that the codebreakers were essential to the outcome of the war--and thereby of major importance in helping to shape the world we live in today.


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"A fascinating and unique book. For the first time--and in their own words--the men and women of Bletchley Park describe in detail how they broke the most secret codes of Germany and Japan. Complex, evocative and engrossing, it is the story of an unprecedented intellectual achievement which not only shortened the war and saved millions of lives but also helped forge the modern age. Anyone who is interested in military or scientific history will want to read it."--Robert Harris

INTRODUCTION. THE INFLUENCE OF ULTRA IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR; PART ONE. THE PRODUCTION OF ULTRA INTELLIGENCE; 1. Life in and out of Hut 3; 2. The Duty Officer, Hut 3; 3. A naval officer in Hut 3; 4. The Z Watch in Hut 4, Part I; 5. The Z Watch in Hut 4, Part 2; 6. Italian naval decrypts; 7. Naval Section VI; 8. Anglo-American signals intelligence co-operation; 9. An American at Bletchley Park; 10. Bletchley Park, the Admiralty, and naval Enigma; PART TWO. ENIGMA; 11 11 The Enigma Machine; 12. Hut 6: Early Days; 13. Hut 6: 1941-1945; 14. Hut 8 and naval Enigma, Part 1; 15. Hut 8 and naval Enigma, Part 2; 16. The Abwehr Enigma; 17. The bombes; PART THREE. FISH; 18. An Introduction to Fish; 19. Enigma and Fish; 20. The Tunny Machine; 21. Operation Tunny; PART FOUR. FIELD CIPHERS AND TACTICAL CODES; 22. Recollections of Bletchley Park, France, and Cairo; 23. Army Ultra's Poor Relations; 24. Navy Ultra Poor Relations; 25. Tactical signals of the German Airforce; PART FIVE. JAPANESE CODES; 26. Japanese naval codes; 27. Bedford-Bletchley-Kilindini-Colombo; 28. Japanese military codes; 29. Japanese Army Air Force codes at Bletchley Park and Delhi; 30. Recollections of temps perdu at Bletchley Park; APPENDIX. HOW THE BLETCHLY PARK BUILDINGS TOOK SHAPE

General Fields

  • : 9780192801326SECA
  • : Oxford University Press
  • : Oxford University Press
  • : August 2001
  • : 196mm X 129mm X 19mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 940.5/48641
  • : 352
  • : 8 pp black and white plates, 23 figures
  • : F. H. Hinsley (Editor); Alan Stripp (Editor)
  • : Paperback
  • : English