PacSci-Doku: "Secret Messages" Answer

By Dennis Schatz - Senior Advisor

The question in this edition is:

What machine was used to send secret messages during World War II?

The answer: Enigmas

Scroll down to see the solution.

Enigma cipher machines were originally invented not for military use, but for companies to send coded messages to keep competitors from knowing their business plans or other product secrets. The original Enigma was the trade name of the machine invented in the early 1900s by Arthur Scherbius, a German engineer. Other cipher machines (enigmas) soon came on the market and were also adapted for military use.

Enigmas became best known during World War II when the German military used the machine to send secret messages to its troops. Unknown to the Germans, the British discovered how to decode the Enigma messages, which played a major role in the allied defeat of the Germans. Learn more about the history of the Enigma cipher machine.

The Science Center currently displays an Enigma machine in SPY: The Secret World of Espionage, the first-ever public exhibition of treasures from the collections of the CIA, the FBI and the National Reconnaissance Office. Don't miss this fascinating exhibit, open daily through September 1, 2014.

Here is the solution:


The latest PacSci-Doku can always be found here. The best way to keep up with PacSci-Doku, and everything happening at Pacific Science Center, is to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. Just use the sign-up form below.