Discover the most daring covert operations, ingenious spy gadgets and cunning military deceptions that forever changed the course of history. Painstakingly researched with previously classified footage from private sources and government archives all over the world, "Secrets of War" exposes the real stories of the 20th century's greatest conflicts! Part 1, "The Ultra Enigma" - In World War II, one of Germany's best-kept secrets was the code machine "Enigma." But this covert machine would also become one of the greatest tools the Allies used against the Third Reich. British codebreakers were behind the greatest campaign of deception in military history, changing the outcome of the Second World War. Part 2, "Women Spies in World War II" - They were unlikely heroes who fought behind enemy lines in every theater of World War II. Female spies unearthed secrets, supported the resistance and destroyed the morale of the enemy. From women OSS agents dropped behind enemy lines to female radio operators inside the Third Reich, stories of the decisive intelligence-gathering role women played in the war.
Long before electronic computers were a reality, the Germans developed an encoding device called, appropriately enough, Enigma. Enigma was a fiendishly clever mechanical setup that scrambled messages according to given patterns. The responsibility for unraveling those patterns fell to the Poles and, later, a group of English mathematicians and cryptographers. The story of Enigma is a fascinating one, as each side desperately practiced countermeasures to defeat each other, and the formulas that came out of the struggle provided the primitive groundwork for what would later become computer languages. The second instalment of this DVD deals with four women who worked for the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) in World War II. At great risk to their personal safety, these women (interviewed some 50 years later) operated behind German lines and were the cause of considerable mayhem and confusion for the German war effort. Many other Allied spies (male and female) weren't so lucky and were sent to concentration camps or executed before war's end. Narrated by Charlton Heston, this disc uncovers more obscure information about the Second World War, a war with as many stories as there are people who were involved in it. Both segments go far to capture the gritty desperation of the war with Germany and the urgency of the Allies prevailing; recommended for all history buffs. --Jerry Renshaw