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The Coventry Conundrum

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on Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:11 pm

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During the second World War, the Allies (specifically, Great Britain) intercepted and decoded a message from Nazi Germany- this message gave the Allies information on Operation Moonlight Sonata, which was an Air Raid on a town called Coventry.

When given the information about Moonlight Sonata, Churchill had two major options presented to him; between the two, he could only do one, and it would change the tide of the war greatly. Churchill's options were as follows:

  • 1. Evacuate Coventry, and save the lives of the every single person who lives there.
  • 2. Do nothing.


At first glance, it may seem like the obvious choice is #1; however, this may prove to be inaccurate. By evacuating Coventry, the Allies would (purposefully or inadvertently) reveal that they had cracked the German Code. By doing nothing, and allowing the Germans to proceed with Moonlight Sonata, they would hide that fact, and would be able to continue intercepting missions.

Now, this has never been officially confirmed; we do know that the Allies cracked the German Code, and we do know that Coventry was bombed. What we don't know, though, is if Churchill (or the Allies as a whole) had prior knowledge of the Coventry bombing.

That said, the question is: what would you have done?

Since we know how Coventry ended, let's put it in a different light to give some different perspective. Let's say that you, as a high-ranking military official, Decrypt a message from a known Terrorist organization. This message reveals to you that a federal building in Florida is going to be bombed - this building is important in Florida's local government, but ultimately unimportant on a Federal level.

What do you do? You are presented with the same two options as above: 1. Evacuate the building prior to the bomb, and save the lives of the people inside; 2. Do nothing. Which would you go with, and why?

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