Cambridge B1 Preliminary
B1 Preliminary - Reading Multiple Choice Exercise 12
Read the text and then for each question, choose which of the four possible answers is best. Think also about why the other three answers are not possible.
Codebreaking throughout History
Throughout history, secret codes have been used to protect valuable information, and as such, codebreaking has played an essential role in shaping the course of events. Historian Clive Amble offers his insights on the impact and evolution of codebreaking throughout the centuries.
"The art of codebreaking has been around almost as long as writing itself," says Clive. "Important messages were being sent with messengers on horseback or in ships and they needed to be safe from your enemies' eyes. Ancient civilizations used simple substitution ciphers to protect their secrets. These early ciphers, though very basic, set the foundation for modern cryptography."
During the Middle Ages, more complex codes were developed as nations began to understand the strategic advantage of secure communication. The use of coded messages was not limited to warfare but also extended to diplomacy, allowing for confidential communication between kingdoms.
In the 19th century, the advent of telegraphy led to the need for more sophisticated codes to protect telegraph messages from interception. This marked a significant advancement in the field of cryptography, as codebreakers had to adapt and develop new methods to decode these messages.
The two World Wars of the 20th century are perhaps the most notable examples of the use and impact of codebreaking. Enigma, the German cipher machine, and the efforts to crack its codes played a crucial role in determining the outcome of World War II. "Without the efforts of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the war might have taken a different turn," comments Clive. "Their work shortened the war and saved countless lives."
In today's digital age, cryptography and codebreaking have taken on new forms. With sensitive information now stored and transmitted digitally, codes are more complex than ever. Cryptographers and codebreakers are constantly in a race against time, trying to stay ahead of each other. "The importance of codebreaking has not diminished in the least. If anything, it has become even more critical in our interconnected world," concludes Clive.
In sum, the history of codebreaking mirrors the advancements in communication and technology. It is an ever-evolving field, directly influencing global events and the security of nations. As technology continues to progress, the art and science of codebreaking will undoubtedly continue to evolve and remain an integral part of our world.