Enigma machine  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

An Enigma machine was any of several electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used in the twentieth century for enciphering and deciphering secret messages. Enigma was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I.

In popular culture

  • The play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore focuses on the life and death of Alan Turing, who was the central force in continuing to break the Enigma in the United Kingdom during World War II. Turing was played by Derek Jacobi, who also played Turing in a 1996 television adaptation of the play.
  • Robert Harris's 1995 novel Enigma is set against the backdrop of World War II Bletchley Park and cryptologists working to read Naval Enigma in Hut 8. The book, with substantial changes in plot, was made into the 2001 film Enigma, directed by Michael Apted and starring Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott. The film was criticized for historical inaccuracies, including neglect of the role of Poland's Biuro Szyfrów. The film—like the book—makes a Pole the villain, who seeks to betray the secret of Enigma decryption.
  • An earlier Polish film dealing with Polish aspects of the subject was the 1979 Sekret Enigmy, whose title translates as The Enigma Secret.
  • Wolfgang Petersen's 1981 film Das Boot includes an Enigma machine which is evidently a four-rotor Kriegsmarine variant. It appears in many scenes. The plot of U-571, released in 2000, revolves around an attempt by American, rather than British, forces to seize an Enigma machine from a German U-boat.
  • Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon prominently features the Enigma machine and efforts to break it, and portrays the German U-boat command under Karl Dönitz using it in apparently deliberate ignorance of its penetration.
  • The 1963 film From Russia with Love the British MI-6 sends James Bond to Istanbul, Turkey to steal a Lektor code machine from the Soviet consulate, their version of the Enigma, during the dawn of the Cold War.
  • The 2014 film The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing and his attempts to crack the Enigma machine code during World War II.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Enigma machine" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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