War is a situation where two sides flex their Amery and ammunition with no clear point in the battle. History has shown that war often led to both sides losing. But often these disasters have led to technological evolution across the board. But looking at it on the flip side, does the evolution of technology the one that ultimately leads to war? Many argue necessity is the mother of invention, but could it be necessity’s evil counterpart – war?

The Trojan War

Without a doubt the Trojan War is one of the most iconic wars due to the fact that it was fought for love. But more importantly, the enemies feel for being too naïve. You can argue with the same logic when looking at the Enigma machine.

The Enigma Machine: Germany

During WWII, the German’s invented the machine that could protect sensitive, commercial and military information using code. The Enigma machine was an electro-mechanical cipher machine and was later utilized by the British to translate German’s signals traffic during the war.

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It was invented by a German engineer known as Albert Scherbius at the end of WWI. Initially, Albert had built the Enigma machine to interest commercial companies and enable them to send secure coded messages among themselves. In 1923, he set up his manufacturing company and started mass producing the machine. Three years later, the German army had begun producing its’ own version and their Air Force shortly after. The Japanese, Italians, Americans and the rest of the world, then took over from there, producing their own versions of the machine.

What the code was used for?

During the war, German’s were confident that nobody would be able to break their Enigma code, so they went about their business of communicating military strategy to their army, air force and the navy using the system. To some extent, they were probably right. The way the machine was made, it was tough to decipher the code due to a large number of settings that kept changing almost on a daily basis.

What changed everything was the German Army’s next plan to invade Poland.

Poland invasion

The Polish Cipher Bureau had close ties to the German engineering industry, and they managed to reconstruct an Enigma machine, complete with all its accessories. This was courtesy of a German spy who had allowed the French to take photographs of it. The Poles then shared their intelligence with the British who then turned the Britain’s Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire into the Allied forces Center for deciphering the Germany’s Enigma code, and the war games began.

Alan Turing

By the time the Second World War began, Alan Turing was working part-time for GC&CS as a mathematician. Although the Poles had figured out how to read the code, the German’s tightened their system security when the war began, and the code was changed daily. It was Turin’s duty to decipher the new changes. Together with fellow code-breaker Gordon Welchman, they invented the machine called the Bombe. This was an electromechanical device that helped translate the German Enigma code, giving the Allies an upper hand in the war.

How breaking the code shortened the war

Turing’s efforts to break the code shortened the Second World War by several years, and this led to a lot of lives being saved. The outcome and the course of the war was determined, and the conflict came to an end.

Turing’s output during the war was kept a secret until the 1990’s when full disclosure was made. Apart from the war, Turing also opened the way for computer science as The Bombe is recognized as one of the earliest pioneer computer- like inventions, as well as the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), which he went on to invent after the war.

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