Ultra A Significant Contribution To The Allied In Wwii

3002 words - 12 pages

ULTRA - It's Impact on the Allied Victory in World War IIResearch EssayDate: August 6, 2014While it is now a common view that Ultra contributed to the Allied victory in Europe in World War II, the debate concerning the extent of its contribution, and whether its contribution was paramount continues. This essay will argue that Ultra's contribution was significant to the Allied success in World War II but whether its contribution to shortening the War can be quantified is debatable. Ultra's significance will be examined through discussion of its specific contributions, and its limitations, arguably which have not reduced its contribution. This discussion of Ultra's limits will serve as an illustration of why intelligence, and specifically Ultra, is only one of the many tools employed in war.Ultra's contribution to the ultimate success of the Allied victory lies in the intertwining of the intelligence it provided, the secrecy that such intelligence was delivered in, and how that secrecy was maintained by its users. The Second World War was perhaps the true coming of age for intelligence, and a point of no return for its use in wartime and beyond. The benefit of intelligence in wartime was recognized and strongly supported by Sir Winston Churchill. The then Prime Minister funded the increase in staff at Bletchley Park in 1939, which provided the cryptologists and all staff the resources to launch Ultra; the secret operation conducted by the British to break ENIGMA, and which was the greatest secret of World War II after the atom bomb. [1: Kahn, David. Seizing the Enigma. The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes. 1939-1943. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Pg. 10.]Intelligence efforts grew exponentially during World War II. "80 percent of important intelligence events in World War II had to do with signals intelligence." If we accept the importance of intelligence in the Allies' success, then accepting Ultra's importance is the natural next position. However, this paper will not attempt to prove Ultra's contribution by examining the situation from a counter-factual perspective, but rather by simply putting forth the information it provided, and providing a reckoning of how that information was used. A look at some of the events and battles of World War II will aid in our understanding of Ultra's contribution. Up until 1941 Britain had only periods of success in breaking ENIGMA, and measures such as German decryption efforts and enhancements to ENIGMA limited Ultra's success. Ultra was the largest and most reliable single source of intelligence available to the Allied forces since the spring of 1941.[2: Steury, Donald, and Roger Cirillo. World War II Chronicles The Intelligence War. New York: Michael Friedman Publishing Group Inc., 2000.pg. 41][3: Bennett, Ralph. "Ultra and Some Command Decisions." Journal of Contemporary History 16: 131-151. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/260620 (accessed July 20, 2014). page 131.]Before we delve too far into...

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