"The goal is to inflame American public opinion..." The Zimmermann Telegram: 1of 3: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War I by Thomas Boghardt

Oct 07, 01:45 AM


(Photo:English: An October Night Raid on London, 1917- Seen from the Royal College of Science

image: A view of a night-time raid over London showing anti-aircraft search-lights in the sky. The dome of the Brompton

Oratory lies to the left of the composition.

Date 1918 (First World War)

Source http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//285/media-285937/large.jpg

IWMLondonThumbnail.jpg This is photograph Art.IWM ART 1071 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg

Author Arnold, Norman G


(Reusing this file) 

This image was created and released by the Imperial War Museum on the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Photographs taken, or artworks created, by a member of the forces during their active service duties are covered by Crown Copyright provisions. Faithful reproductions may be reused under that licence, which is considered expired 50 years after their creation.


Associated places

Brompton Oratory, London, England, UK

Associated keywords

air raid / blitz, air raid precautions / shelters, Architecture, Landscape

Category art

Image Sorted yes


This image is in the public domain because it is a mere mechanical scan or photocopy of a public domain original, or – from the available evidence – is so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The original itself is in the public domain for the following reason:

Public domain This work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.




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"The goal is to inflame American public opinion..." The Zimmermann Telegram:  1 of 3: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War I by Thomas Boghardt


By the winter of 1916/17, World War I had reached a deadlock. While the Allies commanded greater resources and fielded more soldiers than the Central Powers, German armies had penetrated deep into Russia and France, and tenaciously held on to their conquered empire. Hoping to break the stalemate on the western front, the exhausted Allies sought to bring the neutral United States into the conflict. 

A golden opportunity to force American intervention seemed at hand when British naval intelligence intercepted a secret telegram detailing a German alliance offer to Mexico. In it, Berlin's foreign secretary, Arthur Zimmermann, offered his country's support to Mexico for re-conquering "the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona" in exchange for a Mexican attack on the United States, should the latter enter the war on the side of the Allies. The British handed a copy of the Telegram to the American government, which in turn leaked it to the press. On March 1, 1917, the Telegram made headline news across the United States, and five weeks later, America entered World War I.

Based on an examination of virtually all available German, British, and U.S. government records, this book presents the definitive account of the Telegram and questions many traditional views on the origins, cryptanalysis, and impact of the German alliance scheme. While the Telegram has often been described as the final step in a carefully planned German strategy to gain a foothold in the western hemisphere, this book argues that the scheme was a spontaneous initiative by a minor German foreign office official, which gained traction only because of a lack of supervision and coordination at the top echelon of the German government. On the other hand, the book argues, American and British secret services had collaborated closely since 1915 to bring the United States into the war, and the Telegram's interception and disclosure represented the crowning achievement of this clandestine Anglo-American intelligence alliance. Moreover, the book explicitly challenges the widely ...