Links to relevant information in print and on the web
The amount of information related to World War II and the use of Communications Intelligence, both online and in print, is staggering and continuing to grow. Below is a list of books and other sources which I’m currently reading, have read or use frequently as valuable references. They are of varying levels of detail and depth.
Links last checked: October 2016
History of Codebreaking
- The Secret in Building 26 . Written by Colin Burke and reporter Jim DeBrosse, formerly of the Dayton Daily News, published by Random House, was released in 2004. It is, to date, the only in depth look at the work done in Dayton. A good read. Veterans of the project give it very high reviews.
- Information and Secrecy: Vannevar Bush, Ultra, and the Other Memex . Colin Burke. 1994. The Scarecrow Press, Inc.This book has been the only other book, to my knowledge that contains detailed information about the work in Dayton.
- Released in 2013: It Wasn’t All Magic , a declassified report authored by Colin Burke. Based on his research while scholar in residence at the NSA Cryptologic History Center. Also found at NSA Special Research History series: It Wasn’t All Magic; the Early Struggle to Automate Cryptanalysis, 1930s-1960s Analysis of early Machine Cryptography, 2002. It loads a little more quickly at here.
- A number of excellent booklets, including Solving the Enigma: History of the Cryptanalytic Bombe by Jennifer Wilcox, Asst. Curator of the NSA Cryptologic Museum, are now online.
- Consult the Index to NSA Cryptologic History publications related to the WW2 era.
- Battle of Wits: the Complete Story of Codebreakiing in World War II . .Stephen Budiansky. 2000. Simon and Schuster. My go-to book for reliable information.
- Seizing the Enigma. The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1939-1943 . David Kahn. 1991. Houghton Mifflin Company.
- The Battle of the Atlantic and Signals Intelligence. U-Boat Tracking Papers, 1941-1947 . ed. David Syrett. 2002. The Navy Records Society. A recounting of the U-Boat war beginning 1941, through the Allied reports, with a good introduction by the editor.
- About the diplomacy and communications leading to Allied cooperation: The Ultra Americans: The U.S. Role in Breaking the Nazi Codes Thomas Parrish. 1986. Stein and Day.
- Diplomacy behind the scenes: The Ultra-Magic Deals and the Most Secret Special Relationship 1940-1946.Bradley F. Smith. 1992. Presidio Press.
- Cryptology: Machines, History & Methods Cipher Devours, David Kahn, Louis Kruh, Greg Mellen, and Brian Winkel. Cryptologic. Artech House. 1989. A good anthology containing common sense analysis of the importance of communications intelligence.
The Information Age and the Cryptanalytic Bombe
- The Information Age . Online records of the Smithsonian Exhibit where the US Navy Bombe made its first public appearance
- The present Bombe Exhibit at the National Cryptologic Museum , Fort Meade, Maryland.The Museum itself is well worth a visit.
The role of cryptology in American history
- The place of machine cryptanalysis in modern information technology is discussed in Creating the Computer; Government, Industry and High Technology. Kenneth Flamm, The Brookings Institution, 1988.
Modern Cryptography, Logic and Electronics
- Coding Theory and Cryptography; From Enigma and Geheimschreiber to Quantum Theory . ed. David Joyner. 2000. Springer.
Curious about tube technology?
- 70 Years of Radio Tubes and Valves; a Guide for Electronic Engineers, Historians and Collectors . John W. Stokes. 1982. The Vestal Press Led. Vestal, NY.
- Online sources include: Electron or Vacuum Tubes at the Engineering and Technology History Wiki .
- A labor of love: The National Valve Museum
- Thyratrons are even on YouTube! See Powering a Thyratron Tube
- Who knew tube technology was staging a comeback? See the IEEE Spectrum, Nov 2015 . Joe Desch researched the cold cathode Vacuum tube for several years.
Cryptologic History, Intelligence in Warfare
- Naval History and Heritage Command Online Reading Room . Too much information to grasp in just one visit.
- The NSA National Cryptologic Museum
- Naval Security Group Command, descendent and the heir of Op-20-G (NB: COMNAVSECGRU was disestablished 29 Dec 2005. Those former commands are now renamed Navy Information Operations Commands. For more information, please see this web site.)
- Navy CT History, the “unofficial” web site, preserving the history of the Naval Security Group Command and the worldwide CT community.
- An online exhibit about the Battle of the Atlantic posted by the Mariner’s Museum of Newport News, Virginia
- NSA SRH 235 online: Contribution of US Naval Communication Intelligence to Submarine Warfare
- US Cryptologic History online: A Priceless Advantage: U.S. Navy Communications Intelligence and the Battles of Coral Sea, Midway and the Aleutians
- Wolf Pack: The Story of the U-Boat in World War II . Gordon Williamson. 2005. Osprey Publishing. University Park, Illinois, Northants, UK.
- The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors; The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour . James D. Hornfischer. 2004. Bantam Books. This book brilliantly portrays the scope of the battle for Leyte.
- Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II . John Prados. 1995. Naval Institute Press.
- U-boat Archive.net
- A discussion about declassification orders and their wisdom: NPR, The Politics of Declassification , first broadcast 2007
- A report of the original Clinton declassification order, 1994, in Secrecy & Government Bulletin: WW2 files declassified in bulk
Background information about the Medal for Merit
The pioneering work of the British at Bletchley Park, and Bletchley’s relationship with the US
- Index to Frode Weierud’s CryptoCellar : My go-to site for extensive research and transcriptions of original documentation.
- The Official Site of the Bletchley Park Trust –updated and loaded with new information.
- Codes and Ciphers in the Second World War, hosted by our late friend and documentary star Tony Sale
- A section of The Alan Turing Internet Scrapbook , Alan Turing as UK-USA link, 1942 onwards: Hands Across the Sea
- The Alan Turing Archive
- New: The admirable and now successful efforts of the Bletchley Park Trust not only to save Bletchley Park but educate the public about the Park’s heroic efforts during WW2. John Harper, leader of the Bombe Rebuild Team BCS Bombe Team receives Award . Also Honorary Fellowship of BCS
- Enigma replica Homage to Heroes , BBC News.
- News Item : Engineering award: John Harper and his team receive award
Information about the ground-breaking work on cracking the Enigma accomplished by Polish cryptanalysts early in the War
- An essay on machine ciphers and their solutions by Chris Christensen, which outlines the Polish efforts
- The Enigma Machine; History of Solving hosted by Lech Maziakowski
- IEEE Milestone Honors Poland’s World War II Code Breakers
Would you like to learn more about codes and ciphers, encrypt a message, or learn more about tubes and circuits? decrypt other ciphers? tackle Enigma itself?
- Site belonging to a good friend, Jim Oram, restorer of Enigmas for museums and collectors: Enigma replica . Volumes of information about versions of the Enigma. Jim also is devoted to the Graveyard of the Atlantic [link currently not working]
- Elonka’s List of Famous Unsolved Ciphers and Codes
More about methods of Enigma decryption
- The home page of a host of web sites (somewhat technical) by Jerry Proc, of Ontario Canada. Links to topics include Crypto Machines, the Enigma, Radio Stories, and Sonar, Radar and IFF Systems.
- The Dutch Crypto Museum , a virtual museum sponsored in the Netherlands. Included is a list of Enigma simulators available for different operating systems (Windows, Perl, etc.)