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In 1938 the British Government's Code and Cypher School moved to Bletchley Park and began to lay the foundations of an organization which was to have a profound impact on the course of the impending Second World War. From this quiet backwater, a dedicated team began to unpick Germany's Enigma codes, believed by Hitler and his millitary commanders to be unbreakable and so of immense strategic use to the Third Reich's planned conquest of Europe. Bletchley's role in breaking these and other German, Italian and Japanese codes is now thought to have been of paramount importance in bringing about the ultimate Allied victory of 1945, and many historians maintain that it also shortened the war by at least two years, saving countless thousands of lives on both sides.
The highly technical nature of the work led to other breakthroughs too: in 1943 the world's first electronic, programmable computer, Colossus, was developed, breaking high-grade German codes, some from Hitlet himself. Although thousands of people worked at Bletchley, they never spoke openly of their work and the German high command believed that Enigma remained unbroken throughout the war. Only in 1975 did the story begin to be known and become recognised at Britain's best kept secret.
Ted Enever traces the Park's early history and provides a guide to the key wartime buildings and what went on behind the scenes. In this fully revised new edition, he describes the Bletchley Park Trust's battle to acquire the Park and thus preserve this historic site for the nation. This was recently achieved with the Trust having the go-ahead to create an integrated heritage park involving the community. Visitors will continue to be able to gain an insight into Bletchley Park's unique wartime role, and can now enjoy the newer exhibits including the Churchill Collection and the rebuilt Colossus computer. Illustrated with pictures of the buildings, together with some rare contemporary photographs, Britain's Best Kept Secret will be of interest to them, as well as to historians and others interested in the Second World War.
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