Historical Events in Codes and Cryptography

1328 Words6 Pages
Historical Events in Codes and Cryptography
Information security today is a vast field, with more money, publications, and practitioners than all of computer science had a half-century ago (Diffie, 2008). The importance of information security in today’s society is exponentially greater than even ten years ago; businesses crumble at severe security breaches, people lose their identities, and countries lose well-kept secrets. Before this security came into importance, before widespread use of computers and other devices, it was known by another name; cryptology. The science of cryptology, cryptanalysis, and codes/code-breaking has actually played a concise and important role in history going back into the Renaissance era, and earlier. This science decided the fate of many lives and even turned the tides of both World Wars. Cryptographs in literature and letters , written by women, dating back into the Renaissance, during the 1600’s, ultimately lead to the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth’s second cousin. Communications during World War I and World War II between allied battalions were aided by code-talkers, men of multiple Native American heritages, who used native languages and developed codes found unbreakable by the enemy. Also during World War II, Alan Turing developed an electromechanical device called the ‘Bombe’, which was used at Blecthley Park , to decode encrypted transmissions from the German Axis soldiers who were using the Enigma Machine to encode their communications.
Mary, Queen of Scots, was an avid writer during her time. During her flight from Scotland for reasons of ill-marriage, adultery, and religious heresy, she made her way to England, seeking assistance ...

... middle of paper ...

... advances in cryptanalysis and computation developed by Alan Turing, enabling the breaking of The Air Force, Navy, Army, and High Command Enigma and Tunny ciphering machines, Cryptology and codes serve as pivotal instruments in the decisions of history.

Works Cited
Copeland, B. J., Proudfoot, Diane. (2004). Alan Turing: Codebreaker and Computer Pioneer. History Today. 54(7), 7.
Diffie, Whitfield. (2008). Information Security: 50 Years Behind, 50 Years Ahead. Communications of the ACM. 51(1), 55-57.
Escue, Lynn. (1991). Coded contributions. History Today. 41(7), 13-20.
Mazzola, Elizabeth. (2010). The Renaissance Englishwoman in Code: 'Blabbs' and Cryptographers at Elizabeth I's Court. Critical Survey. 22(3), 1-20.
Meadows, William C. (2009). "They Had a Chance to Talk to One Another..." The Role of Incidence in Native American Code Talking. Ethnohistory. 56(2), 16.
Open Document