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* secrets and spies *
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* glossary* *close window *
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* *Abwehr *
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* This was Nazi Germany's counter intelligence organisation. During the war the Abwehr managed the country's spies and organised sabotage operations, many of them behind enemy lines. It often came into conflict with other branches of the Nazi secret services, the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) and the Gestapo. *
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* *Bombe *
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* This electromechanical counting machine was designed to eliminate variables at high speed. Its action was described as ‘machines that go on ticking until they reach a combination that will cause them to produce an output; hence bombe’. *
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* *Bond of Association top
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* After a period of increased Catholic activity and militancy in England and abroad, the Bond of Association was passed in October 1584 to defend Elizabeth I’s life and pursue those intending to harm her or those who might profit from her death - namely Mary, Queen of Scots. *
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* *Codes *
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* Codes use groups of letters, numbers or symbols to replace complete words and phrases. Generally a codebook is used to send or receive a coded message. *
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* *Ciphers (also cyphers) *
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* Ciphers use letters, numbers or symbols to replace individual letters and numbers, and a key is used to encipher and decipher messages. This is a relatively simple and effective method of encryption, as scrambling the 26 letters of the alphabet alone yields 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations. *
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* *Cryptanalysts top
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* Specialists in the breaking of codes and ciphers without the key. *
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* *D-Day *
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* D-Day was the first day of the Allied invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944. It was a minutely planned, secret operation in which thousands of American, British and other Allied troops landed in Normandy, France.MI5 ran a very complex deception operation to cover D-Day, codenamed ‘Bodyguard’. ‘Bodyguard’ involved hiding the real date, location and nature of the landing by feeding false information to the Germans using messages transmitted by double agents, radio traffic and dummy military installations and units. *
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* *Double-Cross System *
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* This British programme to ‘turn’ German agents to work for the Allies during the Second World War was run by the Twenty (XX) Committee and seems to have been very successful. JC Masterman, head of the Twenty Committee, said after the war: ‘By means of the double-cross system we actively ran and controlled the German espionage system in this country’. *
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* *Exploring officers top
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* Exploring officers in Wellington’s army were under the command of the Quartermaster General. They operated on their own or with one or two local guides. Their task was to collect first-hand tactical intelligence by riding to enemy positions, observing and noting movements and making sketch maps of uncharted land. It was a dangerous job and they had to be fit, good horsemen, and ready to escape at any moment. *
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* *MI5 *
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* Britain’s defensive security service dealing with internal intelligence and counter-intelligence was set up in 1909. During the Second World War MI5 (the informal name for the security service) dealt with all aspects of internal security, including the running of the double-cross system. After the war it was proved that the MI5 knew of and dealt with all German agents in Britain. *
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* *Nulls *
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* Nulls are letters, numbers or symbols that represent nothing and are introduced to coded or enciphered letters as red herrings to confuse the codebreaker. *
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* *Parole top
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* A statement made by a prisoner, giving his word that he would not try to escape. *
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* *Peninsular War *
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* The Peninsular War (1808-1814) was the part of the Napoleonic Wars fought in the Iberian Peninsula. British, Spanish, and Portuguese armies defended the peninsula against the French occupying forces. This long war contributed considerably to Napoleon's eventual downfall. *
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* *Spanish Armada *
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* The Armada was the great fleet sent by King Philip II of Spain in 1588 to invade England. It was to meet a Spanish army from Flanders. England’s navy repelled this invasion with heavy gunfire and speedy ships. *
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