Alan Turing
So so much erasure.

A former Liberal Democrat MP has criticised President Trump after he claimed that the American’s “won two world wars” completely erasing the involvement of Alan Turing‘s code-breaking invention, widely thought to bring down the Nazi war machine, helping to bring WWII to an end four year early and saving over 14 million lives.

John Leech, blasted Donald Trump after the official White House twitter account tweeted a portion of a quote which said, “Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American Astronauts on the Moon—and one day soon, we will plant our flag on Mars!”

Leech replied,

“If anyone could claim to have “won” a World War, it would be a Manchester hero who cut WWII by 4 years and saved 14 million lives with his invention, before being pushed to take his own life. His name is Alan Turing.

“Don’t erase LGBTQ history.

“And don’t claim it as your own”

Unsung war hero

Alan Turing was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and mathematical biologist.

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During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s code-breaking centre. For a time he led Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis and created the Turing Machine which decrypted the “unbreakable” German Enigma code.

Turing’s pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic. It is said by some historians that Turing’s work at Bletchley Park shortened the war by two to four years and saved approximately fourteen million to twelve million lives.

Nevertheless, Turing led a sheltered and castigated life due to his homosexuality. Whilst he was briefly engaged to fellow Bletchley Park worker Joan Clarke, it was a purely platonic relationship and they soon divorced. Turing was prosecuted by the police in 1952 for homosexual acts, when such behaviour was still criminalised in the UK.

He accepted treatment with oestrogen injections (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison and became incredibly depressed. He committed suicide in 1954. Turing’s wartime heroics were not celebrated until he received an official pardon from Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 following an internet campaign, and then a further royal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.

In 2019, Alan Turing was honoured in the UK by becoming the face of the £50 note.