(Untitled)

The Enigma story, and the misattributions of credit:

In U-571, Hollywood gave the credit for the Enigma code-cracking heroics of World War Two to the Americans. In the British thriller Enigma, out today, the praise is given to the English. Now, if a protest from the Polish embassy in London is to be believed, it was the Poles that done it after all.

From what I’ve read, the Polish cryptographers are certainly missing out on a lot of the credit they’re rightly due.

Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 12:29:35 +0100
From: “Tim Chapman” (spam-protected)
To: forteana (spam-protected)
Subject: UK accused of movie history revisionism

http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Exclusive/0,4029,559785,00.html

Enigma deepens as Poles claim code-cracking breakthrough

Friday September 28, 2001

In U-571, Hollywood gave the credit for the Enigma code-cracking heroics of world war two to the Americans. In the British thriller Enigma, out today, the praise is given to the English. Now, if a protest from the Polish embassy in London is to be believed, it was the Poles that done it after all. The statement claims that Polish intelligence experts captured the Enigma machine on which the Germans conducted all their most secret cipher traffic before the war had even begun, and later presented this to the Allied forces. The statement quotes a Professor M.R.D. Foot as claiming that: “The most important service the Poles ever rendered to the anti-Nazi cause was something they did before the war had even begun.” An accompanying missive from the Federation of Poles in Great Britain adds that: “Mathematicians of the Polish Intelligence Service were the first to
break the Enigma code. In July 1939 passed over to British Intelligence a copy of the Enigma machine and the fruits of their work done in breaking the code in the years 1932-1939. This work greatly assisted the Bletchley Park code breakers and contributed to the Allied victory in world war two.” The Polish authorities are particularly annoyed with Enigma’s depiction of a traitorous Polish officer at Bletchley Park, the wartime headquarters of code-cracking intelligence, who works as a spy for the Nazis. The statement insists that no Pole ever worked at Bletchley Park. “Obviously we feel that this is a gratuitous slur on Poles who fought side by side with their British allies.”

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