Thursday, 27 January 2011

How Hitler was Fooled

A document has come to light at Bletchley Park showing how Hitler had been convinced that the Allies would invade in the Calais region in 1944. He then ordered his troops to concentrate their defences there, allowing the D-Day landings to go ahead on 6 June with less resistance than they would otherwise have met. The story of how he was fooled is fascinating, and involves a Spanish double agent called Juan Pujol Garcia, known by his codename of Garbo. This "balding, boring, unsmiling little man" convinced the Germans that he was passing on genuine British intelligence. Indeed, much of the time he was in order to strengthen his cover, but when it came to crucial information such as this he was able to completely deceive them. He eventually gave advance warning of the actual landing sites, but too late for the Germans to deal with it, and then followed it up with red herrings designed to convince them that further, heavier attacks would take place elsewhere in France later on.

German intelligence, sent in the Enigma code, was then deciphered by the team of up to 10,000 people working at Bletchley Park, and this particular document gave absolute proof that Hitler had been fooled. "It was like turning up a crock of gold," said Peter Wescombe, who used to work there. "It was absolutely wonderful."

You can find out more about Bletchley Park at their website, and on this BBC page which includes videos of how the Enigma machines work and how they were decoded by Alan Turing and his team of "unarmed intellectuals".

PS: Here are some of the other interesting documents that have been recently revealed.

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