In preparation for class on Tuesday, October 12th, please read the third chapter in the Singh book and respond to the following questions.
- When the Zimmerman telegram was deciphered by the cryptanalysts of Britain’s Room 40, Admiral William Hall decided not to tell American President Woodrow Wilson about its contents because doing so might let the Germans know that Britain was capable of breaking their codes. Given the danger posed to America by the unrestricted U-boat warfare indicated in the telegram, was this ethical of Admiral Hall? (For those of you who responded to this question in your first essay, please don't cut-and-paste your essay here...)
- Germany learned that Britain had broken their codes from histories of the First World War written by Winston Churchill and the British Royal Navy. Given that this knowledge prompted Germany to invest in the Enigma machine technology prior to the Second World War, should these histories have been published? What might have motivated Britain to make their code-breaking success known in this fashion?
- Given the various incidents recounted in this chapter, what are some conditions that seem favorable to the advancement of military cryptography?
- Singh’s examples of breaking difficult codes (such as the example beginning on page 116 about a keyword as long as the plaintext) seem to make breaking such codes (relatively) straightforward. Why are these codes so much more difficult to break in practice, as you’ve seen on recent problem sets?