BERLIN — A group of German divers shocked the global archaeology community when they recently discovered a Nazi Enigma Machine in the Baltic Sea’s Gelting Bay.
The find—the first of its kind in recent memory—was initially thought to be a typewriter. But as the team of World Wildlife Fund researchers quickly realized, the item was a rare relic from the 20th century’s greatest armed conflict.
Underwater archaeologist Dr. Florian Huber was part of the dive team. Quickly after making the find he realized that they’d found something special.
In an interview with Reuters, Huber acknowledged the full magnitude of the one-in-a-lifetime discovery.
“I’ve made many exciting and strange discoveries in the past 20 years. But I never dreamt that we would one day find one of the legendary Enigma Machines,” Huber said.
Although still conjecture, experts believe a Nazi crew threw the Enigma Machine overboard while scuttling their submarine to prevent the technology from falling into the hands of the Allied Forces under General Eisenhower.
According to SportDiver, “in May 1945, shortly before Germany surrendered, their armed forces intentionally scuttled 50 submarines in Gelting Bay to prevent them from falling into Allied hands.”
The Enigma Machines encoded messages, intelligence and military directives. For these reasons, the devices were popular amongst Nazi cryptographers during the War.
But thanks to the hard work of British agents, including Alan Turing, the Allies eventually broke the Enigma’s code, drastically shortening the extent and duration of the war.