Alan Turing: the man who saved 14 million lives

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Alan Turing: the man who saved 14 million lives
8th October 2014

It is a damning testament to the fleeting, disposable and facile celebrity culture which we survive in that Alan Turing's name is not better remembered. Turing goes virtually unrecognised in America and is often only half-remembered here too. 

Yet Turing was a hero who dramatically shifted the course of the Second World War and saved, according to the film, an estimated 14 million lives. He possessed an extraordinary mind and cracked the 'impossible' Enigma code, helping to save the British in our darkest hours of the war. Without his breaking of German codes, the Allied forces may not have come out of the war victorious. 

His story after the war was not a happy one. He was chemically castrated and in 1952 was prosecuted for homosexual acts. He later died of cyanide poisoning, reported at the time as suicide. 

Though sadly far too late, the Queen granted Turing an official pardon in 2013. Before that, in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology for the abhorrent way Turing had been treated at the hands of the British government during the 1950s. 

Turing's life has been recognised in a new film starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game. The film claims Turing's huge contribution to the war shaved two years off the conflict. 

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