There is a lot of information about the British code breakers at Bletchey Park and the work they did for cryptography, computing and the war effort.

Still, I haven't heard a lot about a German counterpart. Why is this? Did the Germans have a code breaking facility similar to Bletchey Park during WWII? If not, why?

  • 2
    As a side note, if you are interested in WWII cryptography, and don't mind some fiction, I highly reccomend reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.
    – T.E.D.
    May 4, 2012 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


Generally, individual branches of the armed forces were responsible for countering the codes of their allied opposition. The German naval intelligence agency (Beobachtungsdienst) broke the British naval codes.

The unified UK code-breaking effort was helped by a single system being used so widely across the German forces.

One of the ironic bits of cryptography history is that every side broke almost all the codes of their enemy while refusing to believe that their own codes were anything less than perfect.

  • Any idea of why the Germans did not unified their code breaking efforts like UK did? was the existence of Bletchey park unknown for the Germans? May 7, 2012 at 10:13
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    The UK's central efforts made sense because the Germans had a single system, otherwise it made sense for naval experts to work on enemy naval codes and so on.
    – none
    May 8, 2012 at 12:53
  • I wonder if in the same way it is argued that the German a-bomb project was not as effective as it might have been because of German physics movement which is more than just anti-Jewish but meant that in general arguments were not always merit based but had to do with who backed them -- a nazi party member who was a scientist might have more pull than a better scientist. -- the decryption effort was adversely affected.
    – Jeff
    Aug 20, 2017 at 5:42

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