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The Theorem that Won the War: Conclusion

Jeff Suzuki (Brooklyn College)


The breaking of the German military codes is often credited with winning the war for the Allies—or at least shortening the war by two to four years. However, while such claims make for a catchy title (such as the one we've used), they are hard to substantiate. An alternate viewpoint may be more instructive: breaking Enigma lengthened the war, because without it, by 1941 Britain would have collapsed and the Allies would have lost.

Figure 21. Some time ago, Polish television interviewed Rajewski about his thinking process while decoding the Enigma. How has your thinking about cryptography and abstract algebra changed while you worked through these activities?
The Polish Embassy in the United Kingdom has posted the entire playlist of 9 videos on YouTube.


Jeff Suzuki (Brooklyn College), "The Theorem that Won the War: Conclusion," Convergence (October 2023)