THE ZIMMERMANN NOTE
Released March 1, 1917
This blundering effort to get Mexico into World War I on the German side backfired when British intelligence intercepted, decoded and forwarded it to the American government. It is safe to call it the last straw for President Wilson, who mentioned it in his war message to Congress in April, 1917.
Berlin, January 19, 1917
On the first of February we intend to begin submarine warfare unrestricted. In spite of this it is our intention to keep neutral the United States of America.
If this attempt is not successful we propose an alliance on the following basis with Mexico: That we shall make war together and together make peace. We shall give general financial support, and it is understood that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The details are left for your settlement.
You are instructed to inform the President of Mexico of the above in the greatest confidence as soon as it is certain there will be an outbreak of war with the United States, and we suggest that the President of Mexico on his own initiative should communicate with Japan suggesting adherence at once to this plan; at the same time offer to mediate between Germany and Japan.
Please call to the attention of the President of Mexico that the employment of ruthless submarine warfare now promises to compel England to make peace in a few months.