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Room 40- The First Bletchley Park

Discussion in 'Codes, Cyphers & Spies' started by GRW, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Think this is the right place for this-
    "The fascinating work executed by genius codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War Two is now the stuff of legend, thanks in no small part to Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in the award-winning Imitation Game.
    But perhaps the most crucial - and relatively untold - story in Britain's codebreaking history is that of Room 40, an organisation which intercepted and deciphered a series of German messages during World War One which dramatically changed the course of the bloody conflict.
    The organisation, the Government's top secret listening post, carried out decoding work which paved the way for the the now-famous Bletchley Park, where crucial intelligence exploits was carried out behind closed doors to defeat the Nazis.
    Now, a new exhibition has opened at the Buckinghamshire manor house which provides an insight into life at the Admiralty's intelligence department during the early 1900s as some of Britain's most famed eccentrics gathered to deduce enemy tactics.
    Sarah Ralph, research coordinator at Bletchley Park, said learning about the country's first codebreakers is vital because their efforts allowed Alan Turing and his fellow mathematicians to 'hit the ground running' at the outbreak of World War Two.
    During World War I, Room 40 - the predecessor to GCHQ - achieved brilliant successes in cracking German codes. Under the direction of an inspired former battlecruiser captain named Admiral Sir Reginald 'Blinker' Hall, they exploited the talents of academics who worked together to defeat the enemy.
    The department remains best known for their work on the Zimmerman telegram, one of the greatest coups mounted by Britain's intelligence services which all-but guaranteed victory in the Great War for Britain.
    The telegram, sent from the German foreign minister Arthur Zimmerman to their ambassador in Mexico, urged Mexico to 'make war together, make peace together'. It even promised Texas, New Mexico and Arizona - which had been lost by Mexico to America 70 years earlier - back to Mexico if they became a Germany ally.
    But on its electrical journey from Berlin to Washington, the Zimmerman note was encrypted in a new cipher which Admiralty codebreakers had only just begun to crack. The paper proved Germany's hostility to the U.S which, in turn, guaranteed President Woodrow Wilson's entry into the World War One, supporting the Allies.
    After weeks decoding the note, in a moment which has been cemented in wartime history, one of the codebreakers Nigel de Grey, addressed a meeting where he announced: 'Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to win the war.'
    Another legendary codebreaker who worked on decoding the document was Dillwyn 'Dilly' Knox, a classics scholar who worked for the secret organisation from 1915. According to reports, Knox liked to work while sat in a hot bath - and even cracked one of the most important German codes while enjoying a long soak.
    Knox, who was keen on poetry, was studying German communications when he realised that words ending in 'en' - Frauen, Rosen and Lieben - might be derived from a poem. His stroke of genius helped crack that the code was the enciphered version of a poem by Schiller."

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