ENIGMA: The World's First Electromechanical Encryption Device

The Enigma Unveiling event scheduled for March 19th has been postponed due to the current COVID-19 concerns. Continue to check here, subscribe to the newsletter, or follow us on social media for updates.

The Enigma Machine

The Enigma Machine is an encryption device developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication. It was employed extensively by Nazi Germany during World War II, in all branches of the German military.

Believed to be unbreakable at the time, Enigma encryption was broken first in 1932 by cryptanalytic attacks from the Polish Cipher Bureau, which passed its techniques to their French and British allies in 1939. Subsequently, a dedicated decryption center was established by the United Kingdom at Bletchley Park as part of the Ultra program for the rest of the war.  The United States helped with the cause of breaking Enigma.  The United States Naval Computing Machine Laboratory was established in 1942 by the Navy and National Cash Register Company (NCR, relocated to Atlanta in 2009) to design and manufacture a series of code-breaking machines (“bombes”) targeting German Enigma machines.  The laboratory constructed 121 bombes and was pivotal to the Allied effort to win the war.

Event Details

Do you remember watching The Imitation Game, the story about a small team of young British men (and Joan Clark) charged with cracking the code of the German’s “unbreakable” decryption device?  CMoA is excited to soon unveil its Enigma exhibit.  Although the original date of  March 19th for the unveiling of Enigma at CMoA could not happen due to COVID-19, we are re-planning the event now that Georgia businesses are opening.

Several dignitaries and notable guests will attend the event, including British Consul General in Atlanta Andrew Staunton. Staunton has been in Atlanta since June 2018 and is the senior United Kingdom government representative in the Southeast whose responsibilities, among others, include working to promote U.K.-U.S. trade and investment, and building scientific and research cooperation.

We will also have Dr. Kristie Macrakis, author, historian and professor at Georgia Tech deliver a keynote address during this special event. Her work focuses on the intersection of espionage history and the history of technology. After her presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to slip on a white glove and use the machine before it takes its place under a secure plexiglass column. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!

Please keep checking back to see when the event is rescheduled

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