So, today I am off to London to brave Oxford Street and meet up with my Uni Girls for our Christmas present swapping and general school holidays meet up. But, as promised here is a little blog post for you all :)
The other week, I went to see, what can only be said as possibly the best film I’ve seen in 2014: The Imitation Game. I have always found anything to do with World War I & II interesting, so I knew that I would enjoy finding out about Turing’s life and what he had achieved.
Following the true story of Alan Turing, an unknown genius and national hero, the film tells the story of a young, gay man determined to figure out the Enigma Machine during World War II. The Enigma Machine was a complicated and diverse contraption with millions of possible messages. It allowed someone to type a message before using several different ‘wheels’ to scramble the letters up making it near impossible to decode, unless the exact settings for each message were known. It also ‘rebooted’ every 24 hours making each message like an individual time bomb. It was and amazingly advanced piece of machinery for its time and fundamentally, our first computer.
Alan Turing, a mathematician graduate from Kings College, Cambridge and Princeton University, made it his lives’ work to beat Enigma and therefore predict and follow the enemies’ movements both at land and sea. He took the lead in building a machine known as a ‘bombe’ (or ‘Christopher’ in the film) that allowed Britain to do just that – resulting in saving countless lives and giving Britain the upper hand during attacks.
After the war, Alan Turing and his team were not celebrated or rewarded, instead they were asked to destroy any evidence of any of the work that they had produced in defeating Enigma. They then went on to get ‘normal’ jobs and lead normal lives for the time. However, in 1952, just 62 years ago, Turing was arrested for being gay, which at that time was illegal. Instead of being put into prison, Turing agreed to have injections of oestrogen to ‘cure’ him of this condition. He lost his job, resulting in him committing suicide in 1954. He was just 41 years old.
The film was so moving and so well done that I think it has been one of the best this year. I have since researched Alan Turing as I wanted to find out more about him and I have found that there was an internet campaign in 2009, which resulting in Gordon Brown making a public apology on the behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”. This, to me, doesn’t seem enough, but it is nice that he can now be respected as a true war hero and a cipher genius.
It really was an amazing film and I hope that this blog post has done it justice. If you haven’t already seen it, I know that it is still showing in some cinemas but hasn’t got long left before it is unavailable. It’s just crazy to think that he must of felt so alone and vulnerable and that no one knew the amazing work that he had done for our country.
Peace and love,
Polly May xx