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A Visionary Leader

Activity 1
WB p. 73

A Visionary Leader

Read the text.
Then, click on your path!


Workbook p. 73

Churchill and intelligence - Golden Eggs: The Secret War, 1940-1945

Churchill used secret intelligence on a global scale, freely shared it with the Americans, and made it count in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Cabinet’s unanimous decision to aid Greece in 1941 would not have been made were it not for the Enigma decrypts.

Churchill became Prime Minister on 10 May 1940. Twelve days later, on 22 May, the codebreakers at Bletchley Park broke the Enigma key most frequently used by the German Air Force. This was the hourly two-way top-secret radio traffic between the combined German Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters at Zossen and the commanders-in-chief on the battlefronts.

Included in the newly broken key were the top-secret messages of German Air Force liaison officers with the German Army. The daily instructions of these liaison officers included targets, supply and, crucially, details of shortages such as aviation fuel. [...]

As Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Churchill was intensely concerned with maintaining the secrecy of all aspects of war policy and planning. In no area was secrecy more important to him than with regard to Enigma. [...]

Churchill made his first visit to Bletchley on 6 September 1941. His principal Private Secretary, John Martin, who accompanied him in the car on their way to Oxfordshire for the weekend, did not enter the building, and had no idea what went on there.

Following his visit to Bletchley, Churchill received a letter, dated 21 October 1941, from four Bletchley cryptographers, Gordon Welchman, Stuart Milner-Barry, Alan Turing and Hugh O’D. Alexander. In their letter, they urged Churchill to authorize greater funding for the work they were doing. Manual decoding was extremely time-consuming. Turing believed that a machine he had devised - the “bombe,” then in its early days - could speed up the task considerably but that more funding and more staff were needed.

“Churchill and intelligence - Golden Eggs: The Secret War, 1940-1945”, Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour, n.149, 2010-2011.


Present the document. What is it about?

Pick out details about Winston Churchill in the text. Then go online to learn more about him and his role during the war.
Voir la correction


Present the historical context.

Pick out details about Alan Turing in the text. Then go online to learn more about him and his work during the war.
Voir la correction

Let's talk this out!

Share your findings with your classmates.

Explain the aim of the “bombe”. What did Alan Turing ask Churchill for in his letter? Why?

What did the people at Bletchley work on? Why was secret intelligence important during World War II?
Voir la correction

From French to English

La traduction de « en / de plus »

extra / additional / one more / another : en supplément

what’s more / furthermore : en outre

besides / on top of that : d’ailleurs

Let’s learn!

Millionaire game

Prepare five questions on the text. Challenge the others.

On your way to the task ❯❯ Step 1

A Turing Bank Note

Let’s use what you have learnt in and / or !

In commemoration of WWII, the Bank of England wants to design a new bank note. Discuss with your group which one of the people presented on this page and on p. 157 should be pictured on this note.

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