« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Codes! Axis Cryptography in World War II

2012-09-05 | 🔗

In this special episode co-hosted by TechStuff's Jonathan Strickland, the focus is on the codes, cipher machines, and cryptologists of World War II. Tune in to learn more about the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, Code Talkers and more.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by Maloney cookies work. Sometimes that longs in yoga classes just now in the cards, so maybe a cookie is peppered farm. Olano believes you should make some time for yourself once in a while. I know I have a particular space in my sewing room that I like to just take a few minutes every day. sit there. I think about things, it's kind of like meditation and munching, at the same time being it that yummy beautiful cookie flavour. It makes it luxurious and delightful and I always feel recharge, mulatto cookies are truly a treat worthy of your me time, their delicate and crispy, with luxuriously rich chocolate in the middle. You really want to keep these. just for you so remember to save something for yourself with peppered farm Olano. This is Danny. Shapiro post of hit I cast family secrets here to tell you that the new season of my show starts February sex
You'll join us for some incredible conversations about family identity and why to both when the secret kept from us and the secret. We keep finally come to light, and subscribe on. The iron radio out Apple pie cast Are you listen to your favorite broadcasts welcome to stuff you missed in history. Class from has worked Eleven welcomes the Pike asked answer daddy and today I am joined by a very special jargon Glenn Haywire though pray, remember Jonathan strict when he joined he joined both of us a few months ago, as the admiral for our Renaissance festival at the start this time he is here in his real life version. Yes, prison
king on technology, which is you're you're special to my forte, as they say other There will be no bazaars, this particular episode. Maybe we could squeeze one end at the Andrea baby, but Jonathan S, De Co, host of tat stuff is probably a lot of Gaul now, and he also is a staff writer who specializes in technology article than depleted. I often talk about how we would like somebody like Jonathan Aircraft to join us for technology related episode, sometimes when we really want something better explained them. able to deal and we ve actually covered a lot of the same topics as you and Christine. Oh yes, it's true. If we ve covered several things, including eight Lovelace, who I think got an enormous amount of praise on both of our podcast interested number. She was phenomenal, absolutely colonial, to be able to two point where nobody will be able to write programmes for a machine that did not yet exist but recognised
Numbers can substitute in four things and actually represent. Other forms of media like music or pictures at a time where there was no device to do that on is beyond my imagination. to you know that, while being daughter of Lord Byron of quite well, you know, I would say that helps. Pray- had a little does the crazy and there too, but no absolutely phenomenal and other topics Well, but yes, I- and this is one that that I know that stuff you missed his reclassify, touched on related topics and we add text. I have talked about some related topics, but we want a sort of look at the overall picture of what cryptography was like during world war. Two, and this will be started. The kick off of a little theories that I'm gonna deal with a few other has to work, podcast CO host to all, focusing on something that history related, but also focused on their specialty. So that's, my Jonathan has picked
today, something that is tech related, but has a really fascinating history behind it to yes, my history stretches way back before World WAR too, of course- and I even have little crash course- increase graffiti? I rode up so that we can kind of have a common language to work from and it does come from a pair of greek words of simply means hidden. Writing is what category boils down to- and it is the idea of hiding a message by including it in some way and of very common ways using a cypher where you are replacing letters within a message with some letter or symbol or number and you're using a very specific key. So someone who received that message. The intended recipient, can take the encoded message. They take the key And then using the key, they decode the message, but ideally anyone who intercept said message, would just have a bunch of gibberish that they could not under
and now in reality, a lot of these ciphers don't remains secure forever and that we will see height and there you with some very good examples of that. But there are a lot of different. Of savers and one of those that the most basic is the motto alphabetic cipher that's use one symbol to replace each letter, and probably everybody is familiar right what I used in my spy club as a kid, it's pretty straightforward. Maybe when you're a it seems like it would be unbreakable, but in reality it's pretty easy to crack right This will be when you might say I let shift all the letters over four letters and no ever figure it out right, so aid becomes d and be becomes IE and aims at first, when you are unaware of the how to analyze cryptography that that would be be fairly secure. but just using something simple as frequency analysis, which is typically the frequency
certain letter. Combinations appear in any given language. So if you know that the message was written in English Seifert, but it's an English based language, you could start looking for letter combinations that would give away what the coated letters are. So you look for double letters, for example, those could be too or else things like that. Things are very short word very short words exactly if you haven't, if you, if you have your text, actually broken up in the same grouping of of letters as your plain text, words are: that's give away, which is why a lot of Cyprus are written in five letter blocks. So that might even have to short words combined together or a very long word broken across a couple of blocks, and it makes it harder to detect, but even then pretty easy to figure out exactly the in House
So another version of this when it's a little bit more complicated, is the pie alphabetic safer than those that seek to each letter with a different symbol based upon where the letter appeared. In the message, though, instead of a direct substitution, just it's the first it's the second letter and so on. It can be like that. Yeah there's there's a couple different methods of doing this, where, for example, the first time the letter. If the letter a appears in your message, it may be in Seifert, I've just grabbing the letter at random with L and the second time the letter a appears it may be the letter d and it all depends upon the specific set of rules you have set down for that key. The algorithm, if you like, that's with specific protocol, that you follow that does make it much more difficult to break because you can't guarantee cipher that it's going to translate to the same letter, the moving on from there we got a little bit.
From there we got a little bit more complicated and have Polly graphic ciphers, those use a combination of letters, numbers or symbols for each coded letter. So we don't have this direct translation anymore. It's not gonna, be something that you can just break out into the original words in the plane tax to decipher tax. That's right! You it's very confusing when you first get one of these messages, because he can't be sure how many characters represent one single letter and by that you really make it more difficult to break the code, and then I think, we have here is the trans position, ciphers, which its a word jumble where you take, the letters of the of the message, the plain text message and you just me: the letters, so you're not replacing any letters here, your mixing them up according to again
arranged code, so you might say, are the twenty seventh letter of this message should appear. First then, the fifth letter of the message- beers, second and you just follow that key and his eyes. The other person has the same key. They can unscrambling but of course, that's not terribly safe either But with a lot of imagination can pieces together, sort of like minded Sunday morning, Warrior topsecret method. Hobbyist could could crack that with enough ingenuity in time in here, and one that we're gonna be talking about quite a bit in our second episode on this. That this subject is code book, so called books, of course contain a list of phrases that link to specific covert. So if you if it covered. So if you were just reading them, they might be familiar words, but they dont have any meaning to you. You can't you can't decipher at you can't into it what the word might represent in any way unless you have the buck right, so
could possibly break a cypher, and you know that this next word is hawk, but you don't know what hawk means it could mean bird, but it might actually stand for something else probably does in the case of wartime and Neil, you might able to make some gases, but you're, not necessarily going to know so. Code books were also very, very important on both sides during the World were too, and if you combine that with cipher, as you are getting a pretty tough code, final aim, and then a related technique to cryptography is called stagger, Knocker Fee, which is hiding a message within an image or some other kind of media right. This is really super cool stuff. This is where, let's say so that I met. You on the street, and I hated you a postcard and the postcard just at hey how you doing, and it has then else on? There's no other message there and you think I would that's just completely innocent, but on the flip side of the the coastguard, where the picture is which looks like this nice little landscape
you could maybe actually notice that, along the edge of a lake, there's really a message, that's in there and you look more carefully and you see that there's something hidden and its hidden from plain site and it can get a lot more complicates specially with today's technology, where you can hide things in a url, you can hide things within a cue arc, it's. It's lots of different ways of hiding a message, but it's done in such a way that, from the casual observers perspective, no message even existed. I like the fine, although it doesn't sound quite its practical and the other is especially for war time. Communication della you're, not really thinking romantic, spies, sort of discards. Exactly are there now we ve gotten a background on cryptography. We can start talking about how it was used in world war, two which is through the heyday, almost at themes of character.
It's really, I would say world war, two is probably the foundation for modern cryptography were the device once that were made during that era leading up to world war two but really intensely built upon during the years of world WAR, two that has led to to the way we use. Already today. The future is closer than you think and it all starts. In the palm of your hand, you may, the news five g he's coming, but Is that really mean how an impact me in this new Iheart series. time tomorrow presented my team above a business join me as well and am I cursed, Kara price as we work, he threw the true revolution in mobility that will check The way we interact with the world around us from environmental science to law enforcement, entertainment, healthcare and travel innovation is coming join us as
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talking about the access powers use of cryptography, partly because we want to start this whole thing off by talking about the Enigma machine. It's probably the most famous example of cryptography in World WAR to find something that we have both talked about on our pie cast into plain, and I talked about it and our Alan Turing episode you and Chris talked about in your Alan Turing Apathetic, withdrew its something that I think most people out. There are ITALY's heard of it. Yes, and if you were to look at one of these things, it would look like it was a typewriter and a whole bunch of light bulbs and some plugs going every which way- and you might wonder what was the purpose, looks like a mad in her thought at a really doesn't in the person who actually heard up was not amended ventre. He was quite whose quite ingenious in his own way is doctor, Arthur sure bias, and there was a ninety twenty three and he was inventing this as a means for the government to pass along secret messages to various branches of military or inter military messages.
remember that at all was meant for corporations to transcend secret messages. So they can keep corporate secrets so that other competitors wooden steel corporate, information, private information, private, but of course the german government quickly realized that this could be a useful tool for very secret communications, and so in nineteen, twenty fix. The german navy started using a modified version of the Enigma missed in and from there it sort of picked out. The german army followed in eighteen, twenty eight, the air force started using one in nineteen. Thirty three, we should say they were all modified, they were all a complicated version of this commercial machine right and they even evolved during the course of world war. Two somewhat if you want to know what the basic machine as have to imagine, imagine a disk around we'll all right and its thick. It's about maybe half an inch thick and
on either side of the wheel, are contacts electrical contacts with an electrical current can pass through along the outer edge of the wheel where, if it were a tireless support, the would make Contact with the ground on the outer edge are letters that represent positions. Now you have of these in a basic and machine are, and you the way you set these, that how you set them, determines the pathway trinity, takes when it comes in on one side and goes out. The other can now you can. Change the orientation of these reels in multiple way, so that makes it very complex. Service pathway could take lots, little crisscrossing ways and what it boils down to is the typewriter part with all the keys you press a letter. It sends an electric signal into the rotors. It goes through this complex
pathway, that's determined by the orientation of those rotors when it on the other side, it lights up, a light bulb representing a different letter. When it. So when you press the letter a perhaps the letter, Q delighted. I tat yes, and so it takes two people to do this. Someone has there are two things that make us even more complex one. Is that, once you go through a certain number of who watches the light bulbs and rights down which letter lights up and after you press that, a though Roeder the first road or on the left, rotates one position. So that means the pathways for the that electric current of follow through have changed from the first letter to the fact. That's right. So if the first two letters were a for some reason and he pressed a in the queue lit up the second time you press a perhaps the m lights up and every time after that,
light up differently. They already have so many possibilities. Just from that simple description, when there is a way to make it even more complicated and right that there are two things that make us even more complex. One is that, once you go through a certain number of of of moves with that first rotor, the second Roeder can rotate which means you just added a whole new set of of variables and with german- maybe they had four rotors in their Enigma machines, which means that once the third one would rotate it just made it even more complex and in this I you to have a key that does not repeat it does mean that whoever has the recipient, whoever the recipient, as they have to have a machine set up the exact same way that your machine was it up now. The other thing that made this complicated was they had plunged boards. What with so unfair
the plug boards and what the plug boards did was you were. You would attach a cable that would swap the input of certain key with another key. So, let's stick with a let's say that you have a plug in the a and a plug in the h, which means every time you press a it's, as if you had pressed h on an unaltered machine, so that makes it even more complex and deploy boards were added a little later. That was an evolution of the Enigma machine and the bones, were so confident that this machine was on that they never ever worried about any one intercepting their messages because Those Seifert messages would be impossible to decipher. They were a little too confident now cause. There were a few problems hoping, yes, one being that the machine couldn't incurred a letter as itself, though you ve been using the example, a egg
never be a no matter. What combination rotors, we were using, no matter how many cables were involved ages couldn't be a that's a pretty big clue. I mean it doesn't sound like it reduces you're your options that much, but it really does if you're thinking in terms of probability right. Yes, let's those whether things touring jumped on right away was, he said. Well, if this machine cannot in code a letter as itself. That removes one. Option out, and Moving one option: you have given us a foothold that was definitely a weakness another was that in order to make this work again, you had to have two machines and they have both set up the same way, which meant if someone well to get hold of a machine and the code book so that you could see which could which set up was needed for any particular day. Everyone had to know how to set their machine up once they received the message, then they could in intercept a message and then interpret how to decipher it.
you just had no the day the message had been sent had no the day the message was sent for and you have a corresponding code book. There would tell you the right setting for that day, but even without that, once they started learning how the actual machine work they were able to start thinking. How can we stimulate this by building something of our own? That can take this informed, and perhaps decipher itself we intercept the message we can. If, if even if we don't know what the original settings were, perhaps will be able to cross, something they can run enough simulations through, where we can crack the code and polish petitions, God to hold in this by intercepting an Enigma machines, so they could see a little that what were they were dealing with and what kind of machine would need to be created to possibly bring code, yes, and they ended up sharing that information will Leslie Park, which famous this institution hair for during world war. Two that was that was
breaker central for the british and the inner how thin. I should take this opportunity to you. I think when we said it was in London, its outside of London. That was the whole point, because it was more secure being away from Did he that it with this information that the polish mathematicians had with their intercepted and make my the team that Leslie Park started working on building these early computers called bombs to essentially stimulate the Enigma machine and figure out how it works and figure out how to break it. But what I think is interesting is that this was. I was talking to you about this earlier. It can a hard for me to read my mind around, but their working by a process of elimination rather than light What was it sat on its more? What was it, how is it not that yes, by eliminating all the potential factors they narrow it down to the one that it actually was. It really right,
of Quantum computing. Actually, I'm not gonna go into it. Don't go there, let's just say a similar thing: you're eliminating all the all of the possibilities to get down to the one reality, and it is pretty amazing of the bomb buzz that the polish mathematicians have created ended up in forming the British when they started creating the the bumble bee. and be, I always like to set the agenda and yeah that was, there was a huge, huge jump in both crypto crypt analysis and just the british war. In general- and one thing about all of these, these codes and decoding them is there are so many different names in the name of the machine. There's the name that the opposing force usually call the code in the name of the the machine that is able to decode it, but in this
the allied efforts to decode the german messages was known as ultra yeah. It was not an ultra, but you never said it her ultronic, didn't say anything Leslie us all done through simmer for mine, no, ultra with such a secret term that you were not supposed to utter it to other people, rob was just a general term that referred to intercepted and deciphered messages and because it such secret information you could not. You could not reveal that any one who was not already classified to know it so much so that there are people who lost their jobs, who were court martialed because refused to deliver sources of information because it fell under the umbrella of Ultra, and so there are people who are dying. during the war
because they were maintaining this level of secrecy, which is pretty phenomenal and they had a huge burden, which is the flip side to cryptography. If you venison message and you ve success. We deciphered it and you now know what that information is how'd. You act on that as if you act on it in a way that reveals to the enemy that you have understood. Messages are they are going to take efforts to, change the way that they are encoding things, thus putting you back to square one year as long as your enemy feels that their code is unbreakable you're in a great position, because they're not gonna, take anymore precautions with that, otherwise they can just develop a new machine developed a more difficult code, and yet, like you, figure back at square one, then yes, and it is It's just it's hard to think about, because you know that love these messages had life or death
consequences exactly, and they had to take very careful consideration of how act on it so that they could preserve as many lives is possible without tipping their hand? Was it information that could have been procured from some other story right side from breaking the colored or how important was the right and the grand smelting? Fortunately, for the allies, the Jew, were extremely confident that they Enigma Code was unbreakable, and I think the only way that they would have. I think I think what their normal routine was. The Germans, as this would be that if they felt that the code was endangered, they would issue new code x and they will have a new set of code books go out to the field rather than scrap the system and start with something you so they stick with system, they would just say: oh what's what is at risk here are the physical code books that tell people what settings they need to have the Enigma machine on.
and I didn't really talk about, but the recipient of the message to to diesel. a message from the De Coated, one? You would give the this deciphered message to a typist who would have their own Enigma machine set up just like the first one, they press the first letter. So if that aid was acute, press q and a labour light up, and so then you would have a second person taking down, but if Thou text message that I am in a kind of was interested that the secrecy for all of us really extended beyond the war to you that the bond of machines were all destroyed, unsure, chills orders after the war, I read one Count of one of the women who had worked on the machines that Leslie Park and talking about her her crew just happily destroyed them because they were so temperament.
They were just glad to see them go back more than usual story either there a lot of stories about destroyed cryptography machines, because it was just considered to be too dangerous to let that information out further technology that can still be used. Five, although today, of course most these machines have been rebuilt, he can see a lot of them if you visit likely Park, which I think it's call that they had gone to the trouble of illustrating needs, because if he watches of one, it's a little easier to to comprehend than if you're just trying to read about it or lawyering about it too, to see exactly how, right and there's some software out there as well. That stimulates a lot of these different machines so that you could type in a message and it would come out as a cypher message and again you have a free do, has that same software running and you Tom aright, set your son
to the selling and run this message through and see what you get- and I might say now you are a puppy- had saw the messages I get Chris all the time fairly. Well worth coding, takes a lot of effort to shit that across another thing, though, is a negro canna, get all the glory. I'd say it's the only with it. We were saying earlier that it's pretty one must have are familiar with, but it may also be the only german code that people are familiar were sure and it's not. The only code by a long shot. You are wanted to speaks specifically to the alluring machine which it the orange machine was interesting. It was esteem, powered machine, so alive different and also go old school little steam funky loathing monkey actually would send a message over telephone wire or over a telegraph lyre
The key is: is this this role of tape, essentially that both sides, but the sender in the recipient? They have an identical strips of tape. Then have these values in it the the coded message gets done across the wire. They run the tape through there letter is assembled assigned a certain binary value and then there's a key. That also has a binary value. You add those two values together. It creates a third are you that becomes the Seifert text. So as long as the other machine again has the right key, then you can deciphered and again the Germans were very confident about this. They thought well, we ve got this. The key is: is this this role of tape, essentially that both sides, but the sender in the recipient? They have an identical strips of tape.
Then have these values in it. The the coded message sent across the wire. They run the tape through their receiving machine, and then they get their plain text. Information allowing rehab Some exciting news yeah, I am wildly excited and people will have another opportunity to watch. We cry it. Art yeah you set out its so called at its though not a calm situation at all. Our trip to Paris last year was really successful, so we're doing another similar trip this year, but this time to Rome and Florence its May fourteenth through twenty first twenty twenty and like last time it is with a company
defined destinations. Who is playing out this ultra for us yeah and during the week long trip, we are gonna, see some of the great art that we have talked about on the show many times, including Michelangelo's David. We are going to go to Tuscany, we're gonna visit, say Peters Basilica. We are going to the Sistine Chapel, so it's going to be a fantastic trip, even get the whole list of places that we are going and information about. Looking at defined destinations, dot, com, scroll down to the roman foreign strip of stuffy, missed in history class or come over two hours your media, we have posts about it. There too, I am only suppression, manner, Scarborough Cordiality, and this is the peat and subversion pad catches, a show of beaten. I talk about a personal private lives. Just two guys
I am comedian, P Coralie and I really biometric PETE six years ago on a bus in Toronto. Ass, terrible Iheart radio is number one for podcast, Zeno purpose man that you go like the step by step might have doesn't say anywhere. I do in the highest pitch voice. You have as fast as you can see. There's other podcast out there that you probably listening to or watching listening I'm telling you right now this, he's comedy gold. I was taken to show to listen to the page. Sebastian show on the eye: heart, radio, app apple pie, care or wherever you get your pipe path. king, that no one in between would ever be able to crack that code, oh there wasn't a whole lot of fear about intercepting those messages either on the side of the Germans. But there should
There should have been- I mean Lorenz. You was used for just the most important information. It was reserved for high command for Hitler kind of ironic, if you think about how they were so confident with Enigma that they they wanted this x. Could that it was eventually broken by the machine, colossus and literally park had a quote. I kind of wanting to get your opinion on this account at the world's first practical electronic digital information processing machine, a forerunner of today's computer. Yes, it was the first of that nature. You can look at any act which was not yet built. It was not finished until nineteen forty six and all the other proceeding. Computers were electromechanical, meaning that there were actually give recent parts that moved not just electronic circuits created by either wires, and today we think of microchips. Vat in the day were time of actual physical wires running to and fro and everywhere. So why these machine
tended to be the size of a fairly size route colossal than an app tat. There were ten of them and they were huge yeah, that's perfectly accurate. It is definitely a predecessor. Today's computer of course, just as you would imagine, today's computer, the computer, that's on your desktop, perhaps the computer that you have in a pocket or Anna a bag near you right now, far more powerful than colossal and I watched a video of Colossus Zena recommending these folks to check him out and kind of get a better feel for how these things
and how they work airline. In me, I must have a workout machine, partly because of the tape, yes, all wrapped around the little real than that, combined with a while the let trying that really does take up an entire room. So that's amazing tend to think that that is a computer predecessor, Europe, Europe and again it was there too, to stimulate these Laurens machines and try and crack what those goods were, and it was a phenomenal achievement. As far as technology is concerned, they say we ve probably discussed Germany pretty thoroughly thine eye woods there. We're gonna move over to Japan, and one thing that I found really fascinating was that the japanese communications had been met, deterred by the United States long long before world war, two again right more than a decade before
Japan was not aware of that for quite a long time to look at that tends to be the best way that, obviously, how it have you tried, If you're doing everything correctly fear doing things how you said so that the Americans have started. Screening japanese telegrams between diplomat in November? Nineteen, twenty one- and these are really simple messages- are nothing like what we ve been talking about with the Enigma. They were easy to break and they gave the safer bureau, which was the name of this code, breaking organization in the? U S at the time and its director Herbert Yardley Access to a lot of useful information, though its diplomatic information. It's not military, but still gives you some helpful stuff. If you're negotiate, hitting treaty. Is you know that sort of Jeff and little insight peak? It's some insider trading on grants
What this is backed by the late nineteenth Twentyth decided to do this. They relied on domestic cable companies and parent information, which is something kind of relevant to this than by the late nineteenth. the use of that information and plus monitoring of airwave started to become distasteful frowned upon, and so eventually, the safer bureau dissolved and Yardley out of work. Trying to make some money during the great depression decided to write a book and write a series of articles for this Saturday evening posed on codes and code breaking his experience as experience monitoring. Information coming out of Japan and it thought some shockwaves going through the world that this information was so easily available. This this kind of proves why it's important to keep that secret pardon.
because once once I got out that this was very easy for them to break the codes, message that sends is. We need to learn and how we are ciphering. Our messages how're, including things and try to introduce as much randomness as possible and randomness, is what makes codes so difficult to break in once you start being able to detect patterns its game over because this, just a matter of time before you can start before you have two before they could get cracked. So you want to avoid patterns as much as possible and have as much randomness in there is possible, but here's a trick random is hard. Computers are not truly good at producing random numbers; they are pseudo, random cause they're still following a set of rules in order to create random numbers rules created by birth, and and on top of that,
though there needs to be someone else out there who has the same set of random data, so they can decode the message you send them so there's going to be, least one copy of whatever random quote, unquote: random message you create or random key you create in order to cypher a message, but that was what really got countries around the world thinking. How can we create more of a random feel for are encoding technology, up the random yeah? If we don't, then our messages get crack reminds will just be sitting plain text. It would be a lot easier and alive. After I am, though, that did so to lead to a shift in adopting these more complex mechanical machines, like we ve talked about already with Enigma, which was from the twenties, a thing machines more like that, rather than these of old style codes right, right, The Japanese chose a slightly different approach. Their machines did not look like the Enigma and did not
while they were able to generate randomness in a very similar way that the Enigma machine did so. The outcome was very similar. The actual mechanics were different. That's what you're gonna have to explain how you want to know how ok, so it's an electoral magnetic device and it's called It's a step, switching device as opposed to rotors. very similar in that, if you in code a character, there is a step switch that moves the encoder one step further, so that the next key you press gets coated to a different one. be if it had been the first key. That's really complicated, but really, I guess what will stick with the Asian Ays right that
according to age in a row. Obviously, this would not be the case with the japanese typewriter, but if you press the letter aid than the first step would be to encode that, to whatever the the setting has its will go with age and in the second, is that that within step up the code and a step you press again, it would then cut to a different letter, so z and very much the same way as the Enigma machine. But the actual parts didn't move the same.
Whereas the Enigma had these rotors, the the japanese typewriters use this this electromagnetic step system and dumb, and they had interesting code names. They dared to the first of these electromagnetic code machines created by the Japanese, with caught the safer machine type, a it was known as read to you ass, an opponent produced with known as read that code was fully broken now in nineteen thirty, seven, with a clue from one word that Please word for an essentially was enough of a number of the hint for them to break. Could read again it's one of those things where they're looking for repetition and patterns, and if it's a word, that's used a lot, and if you were, Don't have enough steps there if your key repeats fairly frequently there you run the danger of someone using frequency analysis on your message and figuring out what it means. That was one of the things that the Enigma was so good about. Was that because there were so many possible
combinations there, unless your message was incredibly long and I'm talking novel length there, you're not going to have to worry about the pattern forming, because you are not going to run out of those nations, while in another problem to is that the Japanese were sending several standard messages, user message as though we should go back to your though they did decipher the code and out by red and by that point, though, by nineteen thirty, eight messages through Red announced that there was another machine that failure mistake to to announce your new machine through your old one, and I would not agree. I've been compromised and that new announcement was for the US better call typewriter and ninety seven, which was code name purple. That's probably the more famous yes purple. Definitely more famous- and I read, although from a source that I consider questionable, couldn't apocryphal
I want to proceed my who might message with that that the reason why I was called purple is because that was in fact the color of the binders that the United States used to hold all the intercepted and deciphered messages. Good story, yeah seems logic, as they say, on the winter website. I do have to say, while researching this Thou code red could purple. I just kept on getting a lot of information on it. Quality yeah yeah were also very fitting for Atlanta. It has, and they did, that the United States was able crack these codes to did the purple coats were not as sophisticated as the Enigma machines were, and the United States, cracked them and again. These are mostly diplomatic messages, they're, not military messages, but knew I'd, say of keeping tabs on. What's going on in the in the Pacific and they called their interception and deciphered messages
magic, because that's what it seems like when you are able to decode something, I guess very tinker Taylor soldiers by yes, it is yes, Gary Old man would have had a lot of work to ring this time and it took a while to decode it. Now we shouldn't make it sound like it was, stay uneasy tat. No, it it took quite some time it took more than a year a year and a half of hard work to crack the code, but they were able to figure that out, and it's interesting. The person who discovered the correlation was. When that you might not consider at first considering the time period, right, so we're in the middle of August and September nineteen for a world war two is is going on. The Americans are not real there. Just really monitoring at the moment. The person who discovered the correlation
in a couple messages which was enough to allow us to break the code was Genevieve Grossman. So I a woman was the one who who discovered the coral Again and again, it's one those things where we often overlook the people who first make these these discover Because you know the big story about breaking the code is interesting, but sometimes we lose sight of the people, and I thought without someone that we should know about clearly- because this is someone who was able to find the first stepping stone that allowed us to crack the code, Alan Turing, getting his mama there's plenty to get around. So you know the timeline by this point: you're bleeding king. Well, if purple was cracked in nineteen forty, what about Pearl Harbor? How much was known it? They were diplomatic messages, so there is no evidence that they were receiving information about pearl hot.
that doesn't mean, though there wasn't some pretty important information that was gained from understanding purple. There are still some confusion in their plenty of conspiracy theories about how much information was gleaned from purple that could have prevented driver. Could least prevented, or at least prepared every one in Hawaii for this attack and there was no specific. ever intercepted in deciphered that had anything to do with a specific attack on Pearl harbor. According to all official records and again conspiracy, This might disagree with that. I'm in here, maybe you have to go with what history gives us right in what history says, is that the D day invasion, so pro harbours off the table, possibly and once we're gonna go conspiracy, theory on it, but dna finger still an important code to have broken. Sir. It's amazing to me when you look at some of
Such was about Germany rather than Japan, ironic, because of how how proud they of the Enigma. All this information was really getting out through purple anyway rehab. I would have made the Germans all kind of us that the japanese ambassador to Berlin, a man in Hiroshima, shhh he was pretty descriptive while talking about what was going, in Germany and what the Nazi defenses were alike all that information was being picked up through through magic, so a lot of information that ultimately help prepare for the D day invasion, so pro harbours off the table, possibly and once we're gonna go conspiracy, theory on it, but dna finger still and important of broken yeah. Sir It's amazing to me when you look at some of the mistakes that were made, has often mistakes are the only reason why certain codes, wherever broken in the first place, either there.
Stakes in procedure where some one has set a really secure system, but the people part of the system isn't so secure. My favorite example of that somebody making a mistake in the tightening of the message and instead of re fighting everything so that the code is the care again. Just typing outer corrected message on the same footing. Right right, which makes for just varies, fly differences between the two messages right and that that was huge. There was an enormous help. I mean the the protocol for that one If you were to send a message- and you made a mistake, while in cyphering it that you were supposed to to a new. Whatever machine was involved, yours was set. Next, over start from scratch start from scratch with a new setting, so that all the message is going to be completely different, because that way, the allies, don't know that it's the same message but by setting it back to the original setting. That was for the first time you try to transmit. That means to copies.
his message go out and that's enough for the allies to say why this was incarcerated highbrow. We can figure this out. I can start working on what has gone wrong for them. and right for us, so human errors is a big part of these codes, ultimately being cracked, Currently, yes, I would say that things everything from using common salutations or a common prefix to whatever the message is that would often give the the analysts and nothing formation to work on to start cracking code, even a whether apart the standards between a weather report, the numbers their direction, the wind might be different, but it and have a lot of the same vocabulary and the weather report information. That is also a good point, because one thing that the british thought of while they were trying to capture Enigma machines, so they could get Enigma machines.
books, so that they be they need was was fairly portable fairly in the sand you could put one on a ship with, around the lorens, not portable and the purple machines were not terribly portable either. In fact they just it was once you once you built one: that's pretty much weight state, but the Enigma she was different. You could actually move those round with effort. They were not. There wasn't a laptop, but. the the British figured out that the Germans were probably using Enigma codes, not just on official military craft, but also on things like ships that were taking whether measurements so Whether research, ships, that are not military ships and they ve got wool
Are we focusing on capturing a german Navy vessel when we could capture ways whether ships and get hold the code books? That way, and in fact that's what a lot that's, how a lot of the coach were broken? They found code books that were accurate for that that time period and were able to start cracking codes. So that's another instant. Of a mistake where you have to balance out who gets access to your your secret message at different levels of career was because again, if the machines had worked exactly correctly
and that all the people had done what they do is perfectly and if the code books had remained perfectly secure, the Enigma code was unpractical next time now we are going to be talking about some truly unpractical codes will be talking about the allies youth of Cryptography during World war. Two so it'll it'll take us full circle from this discussion of Enigma, her ball in and lorens and get into some. That aren't, based on machines, which is a pretty huge difference. Indeed, more port of all four sheriff suffer yes, so that'll be net. time. I don't really have any other comments were for the use of codes by the axis. I think I think we really covered pretty well, what's interesting to me as something that I'll talk about mourner next episode about how this what a technology has evolved in how we use today, but that will be a good book and I think that how we wrapping fat
if you wanna, let us now your ideas about the axis use of codes or just codes and spies in all sorts of things during World war, two you can email. I swear at history pie cast at how stuff works, that calm were also in twitter at missed in history, and we are and Facebook GOSH. I am sure we have articles on code, stoutly, oh yeah, I wrote one did you write line? Will then you go ahead and final thought? Oh yeah, so go to Helstone forced I come and look up the code breaking because That was one of my earliest articles and I've been here for six years in the same week here and to this day it remains one of my favorites because it was just such a fascinating world, and I even include in that article a code that you can break. go on get out, you're cereal boxer decoder,
right for pretty much all you need, though, how code breaking works by job in W W W that half the work dot com for more or less and thousands of other topics. Does it how stuff works dot com I am Bobby Round welcomed my podcast beyond the beauty
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