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."
Be the first to ask a question about The Zimmermann Telegram
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.
Zimmermann Telegram published in United States
Before I found this book, I'd never heard of the Zimmerman telegram. Being Canadian, we never went into great detail on why the Americans entered the First World War - we were involved once Britain was involved. However, once I listened to other Barbara W. Tuchman books (The Proud Tower and The Guns of August), I knew I had to listen to this one too, and it didn't disappoint me.
Although this is not a particularly long audiobook, especially in the realm of nonfiction, that doesn't mean it isn't detailed. In fact, it gives practically a day-by-day account of some of the most critical periods and plenty of background to understand who the players are and what their motivations were. It is fascinating to listen to and it gives you a really good sense of the state of the world in early 1917 - the Germans moving to unrestricted submarine warfare, the French running out of energy, the British running out of money, the Mexicans caught in a series of coups, the Americans failing to understand why no one would agree to a negotiated peace. All of the backroom negotiations, intelligence operations, and diplomatic unease made for a really engaging story. And although you know from the start that the Americans will get involved, somehow there is still a sense of suspense in the telling where you wonder whether Mexico will attack Texas and the Germans will win in Europe after all.
The narration in this book by Wanda McCaddon was excellent. She can pronounce all of the foreign-language words (primarily German and Spanish) well, one of my personal irks with a lot of audiobook narrators, and in general reads at a good pace with great voice changes to represent individual speakers.
Filled with information from diaries and official records, this book makes you feel like you know the people involved well and that you understand why they are making the decisions they are. For such a small incident, really, in the overall view of the war, it makes for an interesting story with far-reaching consequences that affect how the world is today. Although I don't have a huge interest in American history, this was so much more than just a story about how they came into the First World War. It's about Germany, Britain, Mexico just as much as it is about the US, and Tuchman does a great job of showing the events from all those perspectives. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WWI history, Woodrow Wilson, and/or stories of diplomatic intrigue.
The Zimmermann Telegram in code. (Courtesy the National Archives)
Constantinides sees the British interception and deciphering of the Zimmermann telegrams as "one of the greatest and most significant cryptanalytic successes in history." Tuchman's account suffers from having been written before the 1965 declassification of Friedman and Mendelsohn, (1938). Pforzheimer says this book is "[r]eadable and well documented," and "provides an outstanding example of the impact of intelligence on the course of history."