Enigma among The British Museum’s 100 objects to teach history

Free teaching resources to include details of WW2 Codebreaking

A rare Enigma machine on display at Bletchley Park has been chosen by The British Museum as one of 100 objects to help teach history to children.

Enigma is perhaps the best known cipher machine of all time and is inextricably linked with the work and achievements of Bletchley Park during World War Two.

The breaking of the Axis codes at Bletchley Park is a story of determination under pressure – will the codes for the day be broken and will lives be saved through the distribution of Ultra intelligence? The WW2 staff of Bletchley Park signed the Official Secrets Act which meant they were unable to discuss or disclose their vital wartime work and achievements, many died without being able to talk of their work and thus lost the opportunity to tell friends and family of their important and innovative work.

The Enigma machine chosen is one of around 2,450 of its kind made in 1942 or 1943. Gillian Mason, Curator of the Bletchley Park Trust, said “Records suggest that these metal cased Enigma machines were used in aircraft and ground stations. A very limited number have survived. Although detailed records were destroyed during the war, a relatively small group of Enigmas were delivered to the German Air Force. The serial number of this machine puts it in the middle of this group.”

The Enigma is on display at Bletchley Park, among the largest collection of Enigma machines in Europe.

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