Arthur Zimmermann Biography

Arthur Zimmermann gave his name to the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, one of the great diplomatic intrigues of World War I. Zimmermann was a career diplomat who had been in service to his native Germany since 1896. By the beginning of World War I, Zimmermann was the undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, and in 1916 he was named foreign minister. On January 16, 1917 he sent a telegram to the German ambassador to Mexico, suggesting a Germany-Mexico alliance against the United States and promising German support for the Mexican recapture of territory in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The British intercepted the coded message and deciphered it, finally revealing it to the United States. When the telegram was made public, President Woodrow Wilson had little choice but to declare war on Germany, and the U.S. entered the war.

Extra credit:

The Zimmermann Telegram was a best-selling book by author Barbara Tuchman.

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