The Historical Impact of Revealing the Ultra Secret
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
We really should not have been greatly surprised. When Group Captain Colonel F. W. Winterbothams work, The Ultra Secret, burst on our consciousness in 1974, it undoubtedly produced the most sweeping sensation thus far created by an historical revelation. It was sweeping, especially, in the sense of seeming to demand immediate and wholesale revision of historical assumptions about virtually all that determined the course of World War II in the Atlantic sector. It astonishes one to reflect on how little speculation there had been hitherto about the extent of code breaking on the part of the Western Allies and how few pressures there had been on governments to answer perplexing questions. That there were stories to be gained from reluctant authorities had, of course, been noted. Historians knew something about the remarkable Enigma machines developed by the Germans. Churchill had referred to them in his monumental work on the war period, and here and there a book or an article-usually in some French or German journal-went so far as to claim that there had been successful intercepts and decipherments and that these had much to do with one or another turn of the war. Usually such writings mixed claims of this kind with other sensational items of doubtful authenticity, so the ULTRA story was discounted with the rest. No one paid it much attention.
- Military Intelligence