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March 25th, 2017

Max’s View

The Imitation Game
***1/2

In the olden days, wars were won by the country with the larger army.

It didn’t matter who was freer or who was right. The side with the most men won almost every time.

The USA didn’t beat the Confederate States of America because slavery is wrong. It won because the south ran out of able-bodied men.

The allies didn’t defeat Germany in WWI because democracy triumphed over monarchy. They won because Germany ran out of able-bodied men.

In the modern world, more men no longer equals victory.

It is theoretically possible that the Muslim world could raise an army that dwarfs the US military. It hardly matters, though, because our government’s intelligence gathering sources would sniff the plot out long before it became a real threat.

Israel’s neighbors want to annihilate it as much as ever. But thanks to the Israeli army’s superior military coordination and weaponry, no one dares to attack the tiny nation. The Arab countries have a 30 to 1 population advantage, but Israel has better technology and intelligence and that’s what counts.

“The Imitation Game” is the compelling true story about how we won World War II with a great mathematician’s intelligence rather than numerical superiority.

Benedict Cumberbatch rightly earned a Best Actor nomination playing Alan Turing. According to the film, Turing was perhaps the most extraordinary and influential mind of the 20th Century.

The movie begins in 1939. The UK had brazenly declared war on Germany even though the Germans had a vastly more powerful military. In response, Germany was trying to starve the British. German bombers and submarines were destroying most of the cargo ships trying to reach England.

Believe it or not, the Germans broadcasted the details of each military operation over the public airwaves. They had built a machine called Enigma that created a virtually unbreakable encryption code every morning.

Alan Turing led the team of British geniuses whose job it was to crack the Enigma code. Turing’s forward-thinking conclusion was that only a code-breaking machine had the power to test billions of code-combinations in one day – so he got to work on building that machine.

Director Morten Tyldum gives Alan Turing credit both for shortening the war and for inventing the computer.

In the triumphant climax of “The Imitation Game,” Alan Turing and his computer are finally able to break the Enigma code – but only because the Nazis predictably included the words “Heil Hitler” in every morning message.

In the end, the war was won because we were freer and we were right.

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