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The Imitation Game - Preface

The Imitation Game (Illustration) World War II Biographies Film Famous Historical Events STEM World History

At its production peak, during World War II, Bletchley Park (also known as “Station X”) employed around 10,000 people. In this image, from the Bletchley Park Trust / SSPL, we see code-breaking personnel during 1943.

 

The geese who laid the golden eggs
 and never cackled.

Winston Churchill
on the
Bletchley Park Code Breakers

 

On a Friday afternoon, in late 1928 or early 1929, someone in Warsaw’s railway customs office received an urgent phone call.  At the other end of the line was a German-speaking person demanding the release of a package.

Claiming the item was for German diplomats in Warsaw, the caller was agitated.  He demanded that Polish customs officials immediately clear the package for release, before it was inspected.

Someone in Berlin had apparently made a mistake.  Instead of sending the package via diplomatic pouch, it had traveled to Warsaw by ordinary freight.

The high anxiety, displayed by the German caller, aroused the suspicions of Polish customs officers.  Telling the caller the package had not-yet arrived and, in any event, the office was about to close for the weekend, the matter would have to wait until Monday morning.

What could be in that package?  The item, which had actually arrived at the rail station, included a customs declaration stating that it contained radio equipment.  Customs officials alerted Poland’s Cipher Bureau whose employees were always interested in learning about new radio equipment.

Polish officials made good use of the weekend. Unwrapping the package, intended for the German legation, they not only inspected it ... they took it apart.  

Before Monday morning, when the machine was reassembled and repackaged, the Polish Cipher Bureau had learned all about the equipment inside the package.

It was a brand-new military Enigma machine.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5123stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 31, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016


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"The Imitation Game" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 31, 2014. Oct 17, 2017.
       <https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/The-Imitation-Game>.
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