Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

NOVA Online (click here for NOVA home)
Decoding Nazi Secrets

Welcome to the companion Web site to "Decoding Nazi Secrets," a two-hour NOVA special that chronicles how the Allies succeeded in cracking the infamous German message-coding machine, the Enigma. The program was originally broadcast on November 9, 1999. Here's what you'll find online:
    Crack the Ciphers
    Jim Gillogly, who has been called "arguably the best non-government cryptanalyst in the U.S." in the field of classical (historical) cryptosystems, offers three World War II-style ciphers of different levels of difficulty for you to try to break.

    Send a Coded Message (Hot Science)
    Manipulate an online version of an Enigma-like machine to encode your own message, then e-mail that message to a friend with instructions on how to decode it using a secret key.

    A Simple Cipher (Hot Science)
    Learn some of the tricks codebreakers use to solve ciphers, then use your new talents to make sense of what looks like a bunch of gibberish.

    Are Web Transactions Safe?
    Secret codes are not just for spies; they protect your online credit-card purchases, for instance. This feature looks at all the ways encryption affects you, with a special emphasis on the Internet.

    Mind of a Codebreaker
    Led by Alan Turing, inventor of the computer, the codebreakers of Bletchley Park were a brilliant, quirky bunch who broke the Engima in large part by learning to think like the German codemakers themselves.

    How the Enigma Works
    The Enigma looks roughly like a typewriter, but it is infinitely more complex, with fully 17,576 ring settings for each of 60 possible wheel orders—and that is just to set it up for use.
Plus Resources and a Teacher's Guide.

Text Decoding Nazi Secrets Home | Crack the Ciphers | Send a Coded Message
A Simple Cipher | Are Web Transactions Safe? | Mind of a Codebreaker
How the Enigma Works | Resources | Teacher's Guide | Transcript | Site Map

NOVA Online | Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print


WGBH PBS Online NOVA Online is produced for PBS by the WGBH Science Unit
Major funding for NOVA is provided by the Park Foundation, The Northwestern Mutual Life Foundation, and CNET.com.
© | created November 1999

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site