1917-Top Secret Telegram: The Almanac of Absurdities for 2.24.2011

Things were tense on this date in 1917. Bellicose Germany had, three weeks earlier, resumed unrestricted Submarine warfare on Atlantic Shipping. US resistance to involvment in the European Conflict was crumbling. With that in mind, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman had sent a top secret telegram in Mid-January to the German Ambassador to Mexico for delivery to the Mexican Government. The telegram suggested an alliance, and offered to return New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Texas to Mexican Sovereignty. Nice to have some help keeping the US busy. The Mexican Government was smart enough to know that promises of German Military Aid to Mexico were pointless with the hulking American Giant just to the North, and Germany Waaaay over there…and they eventually turned Zimmerman’s deal down. But on this date in 1917, British Intelligence turned a copy of the decoded Zimmerman telegram over to American Intelligence, and a copy landed on President Woodrow Wilson’s Desk, with the result you might expect. Actually, the Brits were way ahead of the game on this one. They’d intercepted the telegram as it was being transmitted and decoded it quickly in the famed “Room 40” codebreaking unit…but it took a few weeks to create a cover story on how they got it, because they didn’t want the US to know that they’d tapped into American Telegraph lines. It was made public on March 1, and by early April, the US was in World War I.

Click Here for the Audio Almanac of Absurdities.

About denniscmichael

Voice Artist, Writer, Journalist, even sometime actor. For 18 years the writer and voice for CNN's Hollywood Minute.
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2 Responses to 1917-Top Secret Telegram: The Almanac of Absurdities for 2.24.2011

  1. tskraghu says:

    Interesting piece of history. Looking forward to more.

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