Enigma Machine

Originally designed to encode business communications, the Germans adapted the Enigma cipher machine for use in World War II. The machine linked a keyboard to a series of rotors using electric current. The rotors transposed each keystroke multiple times. The message was then sent in Morse code. Enigma generated millions of combinations. The rotor order, starting positions and plug board connections were reset daily. To decipher a message, Enigma’s daily settings key—sometimes encoded in the message itself—was needed. The Germans believed Enigma provided an unbreakable code.

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