What was the Zimmermann Telegram?

Zimmermann Telegram printed in the Washington Post March 1, 1917

The Zimmermann Telegram

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  • TAG : Zimmermann Telegram printed in the Washington Post March 1, 1917
  • to read a 1921 commentary upon the consequences of the Zimmermann Telegram. to read the reaction of the Japanese government to news of the telegram.

    On 17 October 2005, "[c]opies of typescripts of two versions of the Zimmermann Telegram [were released to the British national Archives]. They include comments in Admiral Hall's writing, reading respectively: 'Main line - not exposed' and 'Inland cable on American soil - this was the one handed to Dr Page and exposed by the President'. The file also includes photocopies taken from HW 7/8 of the original manuscript decodes (in Nigel De Grey's handwriting) which led to these typescripts." .

  • "An original typescript of the deciphered Zimmerman Telegram ... has been discovered. The document is believed to be the actual telegram shown to the American ambassador in London in 1917.... [T]he official historian of GCHQ found it while researching an 'official' history of the organisation."

    Abstract: "A critical examination of the primary sources (some published here for the first time) on the transmission, interception and decryption of the Zimmermann Telegram dispels some long-standing myths and misapprehensions, which are to be traced to inaccuracies in the accounts by the British protagonists in the affair."

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    • According to Pforzheimer, this is the biography of Britain's Director of Naval Intelligence in World War I by the officer in charge of communications intelligence part of that time. "It includes an interesting description of the exploitation of the Zimmermann telegram." Beesly's is "perhaps a more useful study." Constantinides argues that although "James has written an important book on one of the outstanding figures of intelligence, not all has been revealed.... Friedman and Mendelsohn's research raises questions as to whether James's cryptanalytic account of the Zimmermann note is the full one."

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    Not as well known as other books by Barbara Tuchman, the Zimmermann Telegram covers an astounding piece of WWI history. The British codebreakers deserve their recognition, but so do the ingenious methods of the British govt to find a way to release the info without compromising the secrecy of the codebreaking. The obstinacy of President Wilson and his insistence on doing things his way comes into sharp focus. In order to conduct diplomatic negotiations, he allowed the Germans to send messages via the State Dept. Against the council of his own officials, Wilson allowed the Germans to send their messages CODED, never dreaming that they would abuse the privilege. When he found out that the Germans were plotting against the U.S. simultaneously, his anger against them was intractable. The plan sounded crazy: worried that the newly implemented policy of unrestricted u boat warfare might bring the U.S. into the war, the Germans decided to negotiate with Mexico (and Japan) to attack the U.S. in exchange for Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. When the contents of the telegram were released, there was some debate as to whether it was genuine. Instead of denying it and possibly delaying U.S. action with the concern it was a fake, foreign secreatry Zimmermann, the author of the telegram, confirmed its veracity with the justification that it was a proposal in case the U.S. declared war. It is a fascinating story from start to end.