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In January 1917, the British intercepted a secret telegram from Berlin that they knew would finally bring America into World War I. How they put it to use makes for an incredible true tale of espionage and intrigue.
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The average person thinks that it was the sinking of the Lusitania that brought the United States into World War I. Not so! In this slim volume that reads like a whodunnit, Barbara Tuchman reveals the little known secret of The Zimmerman Telegram. Basically, Germany wanted to keep the U.S. and its industrial might out of the European conflict by convincing Mexico and Japan to attack the U.S. Germany even promised Mexico it would get back Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona! What the Germans didn't know is that as soon as war was declared, the first thing the British did was cut Germany's transatlantic cable. All telegrams or telephone calls to North America had to travel over Britain's cable. And the British intercepted every telegram out of Germany. Even though the Zimmerman telegram was sent in code, it was broken. But the shrewd British held onto it, not revealing its contents until it was absolutely necessary, and in such a way that they didn't have to reveal that they were intercepting German messages! Brilliant! When the New York Times published the telegram in 1917, it was but a short time until pacifist Woodrow Wilson got a declaration of war from Congress, and the U.S. began sending troops "over there." A great read!
Doug Grad, Editor
Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989), American historian, was born in New York City and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1933. A self-trained historian, she was a writer for the Nation and an editor for the US Office of War Information. In her later years she was a lecturer at Harvard and the US Naval War College. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1963 for The Guns of August and in 1972 for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45. She was awarded the 1978 Gold Medal for History from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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