UK apology to Alan Turing

It is so easy to forget what cruelty our recent history holds.   

Just about anyone in analytic philosophy is familiar with the work of Alan Turing, who is a central figure in the development of the theory underlying modern computers.  In addition, he was pivotal in the breaking of the Enigma Code in WWII.  And  the treatment he received, which almost certainly led  to his suicide, is shocking.

A  petition to ask for an apology to him from the British government is up.  Only UK citizens can sign it, unfortunately.

From CNN

An online petition demanding a formal apology from the British government for its treatment of World War II code-breaker Alan Turing is gaining momentum.

Turing was subjected to chemical castration in 1952 after being found guilty of the charge of gross indecency for having a homosexual relationship, an illegal act at the time. He committed suicide two years later.

More than 19,000 people have added their names to the petition since it opened three weeks ago, urging the government to “recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man’s life and career.”

8 thoughts on “UK apology to Alan Turing

  1. Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of him in Breaking the Code was so vivid for me that I feel like I knew him. Thanks for the links.

  2. I urge anyone with an interest in the history of WWII codebreaking to visit Bletchley Park. If you can, do it before the generation that worked there passes away entirely, else you’ll miss out. Not only do they have men and women who used to work there acting as tour guides, but most of the older people you’ll see on site probably had some connection to the place as well.

    Two older women in the cafe asked me to help them open their juice bottles, we wound up chatting, and it turned out that they had worked in the factory that supplied parts for the bombes. At the time, they had no idea what they were making (just that it was important) and this was their first visit.

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