GCHQ Releases WWII Enigma Code Breaking Turing Papers

20/04/2012 10:27

Papers written by the Nazi Enigma code breaker Alan Turing, have been released by the government communications office, GCHQ. The release marks the centenary of Turing's birth.

The papers, called "Paper on Statistics of Repetitions" and "The Applications of Probability to Crypt", which were written while Turing was at Bletchley Park breaking German Enigma code, explore mathematical approaches to code breaking and mention of Hitler's age at the time.

A spokesperson for GCHQ said in a statement: “We are delighted to release these papers showing more ofAlan Turing’s pioneering research during his time at Bletchley Park. It was this type of research that helped turn the tide of war and it is particularly pleasing that we are able to share these papers during this centenary year.”

A GCHQ mathematician told the BBC that the fact they have only now been released "shows what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations of our subject".

More on Bletchley Park:
The Huffington Post speaks to Enigma machine code breaker, Mavis Batey.

During WWII, Turing and his team at Bletchley Park, were tasked with cracking the secret Enigma code used by the Nazis.

Turing's work led to the development of bombes, or large electro-mechanical machines, which helped to identify the correct settings to smash the Enigma code.

In 2011, another highly significant top secret report on the full extent of Bletchley Park's involvement in cracking Enigma was released.

The report was made public after 66 years of top secret "ultra" classification, and it's late release to the public denotes just how crucial Turing's thinking was for current day code-breaking.

Simon Greenish, CEO of Bletchley Park National Code Centre told The Huffington Post over the phone: "This extraordinary document was kept under wraps for 66 years, because the code breaking techniques used by the team at Bletchley Park to crack the Nazi Enigma codes were so advanced that it was relevant for codebreakers until very recently. Bletchley Park was decades ahead of its time."

View the two papers at the National Archives at Kew, west London.

A sculpture of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park.

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