::Enigma machine


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Military Enigma machine

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An Enigma machine was a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and used in the early to mid twentieth century for commercial and military usage. Enigma was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I.<ref name="Singh2011">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Early models were used commercially from the early 1920s, and adopted by military and government services of several countries, most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Several different Enigma models were produced, but the German military models are the most commonly recognised.

German military messages enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, beginning in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologists, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence. Rejewski reverse-engineered the device, using theoretical mathematics and material supplied by French military intelligence. Subsequently the three mathematicians designed mechanical devices for breaking Enigma ciphers, including the cryptologic bomb. From 1938 onwards, additional complexity was repeatedly added to the Enigma machines, making decryption more difficult and requiring further equipment and personnel—more than the Poles could readily produce.

On 25 July 1939, in Warsaw, the Poles initiated French and British military intelligence representatives into their Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment, including Zygalski sheets and the cryptologic bomb, and promised each delegation a Polish-reconstructed Enigma. The demonstration represented a vital basis for the later British continuation and effort.<ref>Gordon Welchman, who became head of Hut 6 at Bletchley Park, has written: "Hut 6 Ultra would never have gotten off the ground if we had not learned from the Poles, in the nick of time, the details both of the German military version of the commercial Enigma machine, and of the operating procedures that were in use." Gordon Welchman, The Hut Six Story, 1982, p. 289.</ref> During the war, British cryptologists decrypted a vast number of messages enciphered on Enigma. The intelligence gleaned from this source, codenamed "Ultra" by the British, was a substantial aid to the Allied war effort.<ref>Much of the German cipher traffic was encrypted on the Enigma machine, and the term "Ultra" has often been used almost synonymously with "Enigma decrypts". Ultra also encompassed decrypts of the German Lorenz SZ 40 and 42 machines that were used by the German High Command, and decrypts of Hagelin ciphers and other Italian ciphers and codes, as well as of Japanese ciphers and codes such as Purple and JN-25.</ref>

Though Enigma had some cryptographic weaknesses, in practice it was German procedural flaws, operator mistakes, failure to systematically introduce changes in encipherment procedures, and Allied capture of key tables and hardware that, during the war, enabled Allied cryptologists to succeed.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}

Enigma machine sections
Intro   Design    Operation    History    Breaking Enigma    Surviving machines    Derivatives    Simulators    In popular culture    See also    References    Further reading    External links