What is Enigma?

Recently, the divers discovered an Enigma encryption machine used by Nazis in Baltic sea. The divers discovered the machine while searching the seabed with sonar devices for abandoned fishing nets that might harm the sea life.


Enigma is an encryption device that was used by the German Nazis during the 2nd World War to encode secret messages. It was recently discovered by divers in the Baltic Sea. The machine was invented by Arthur Scherbius near the end of the 1st World War. The use of these machines made it very hard for the Allied Forces to intercept and decode the German’s coded messages. Near the end of the 2nd World War, the Germans destroyed most of these machines to prevent the Allied powers from accessing them.

Working of Enigma

The plugboard of the Enigma machines was similar to that of the telephone switchboard. Each letter will be substituted for another at regular intervals creating a ciphertext. Every time a letter is pressed the movable parts in the machine will change positions.

How was Enigma Cipher cracked?

In 1932, the Polish cryptanalysts decoded the Enigma ciphers that was written with earlier version of Enigma. They built electro-mechanical machines to search for solutions. The Polish decodings were the base for the English mathematicians to develop the “Bombe” machine. The Bombe machine used known parts of the message as starting point to break the code created by Enigma.

Value of Enigma

Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis began to destroy their Enigma machines. This was to prevent the machines from falling in to the hands of the Allied powers. After the war, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered to destroy the surviving Enigmas as well. Not more than 200 Enigmas exist today. They are cherished by collectors. Their value is historical.


Leave a Reply