Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.
The programme begins with a review of the pre-war intelligence heritage of the ‘Station X’ operation, including the invaluable work of the Poles in the 1930s, and its establishment at the Bletchley Park country house complex. The commercial origins and functional structure of the Enigma substitution codes will be examined as will the period’s unique social and political circumstances.
Y Stations: these were the vital listening stations that gathered the signals intelligence material essential to Bletchley Park’s secret work. The course will also consider the key personalities – not only Alan Turing – whose painstaking and insightful work led cryptographic success, the risks inherent in that very success, as well as the technical advances that emerged from it.
Today the course evaluates the Enigma decrypts in relation to particular wartime theatres and campaigns, not least the vital Battle of the Atlantic on whose successful outcome not only the sustenance of the British nation depended, but also the Allies’ eventual capacity to take the war to the enemy and reconquer Europe.
Full day visit to Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, which has been a museum since 1993. Participants will visit the original Mansion, the Bombe and Codebreaking Huts and the Museum which includes Enigma machines. The adjacent National Museum of Computing will also be visited.
The concluding day considers the work of Station X as extended to overseas outstations and operational theatres. There will be an informed conjectural discussion of the progress and conduct of World War II had Ultra Intelligence not played such a crucial role. Finally there will be a critical evaluation of recent cinematic depictions of the Station X operation.
Destination: Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing
Excursion Rating: Moderate
Up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.