Welcome to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

1917: U.S. entered World War I.

Saturday, April 6, 2019
1917: U.S. entered World War I.

6 April 1917: The U.S. entered World War I.

On this day in 1917, Congress declared war on Germany, marking U.S. entrance into a war that had been raging in Europe for more than three years.

In January 1917, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent a telegram to the Imperial German Minister in Mexico to be delivered to the President of Mexico. The telegram urged the president to start a war with the United States. In return, Germany would help Mexico regain land it had lost to the U.S. in the Mexican-American War, namely, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The message also informed the president that Germany would begin unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1.

President Woodrow Wilson, who ran on campaigns dedicated to keep the U.S. from entering the war, learned of the telegram and its contents from the cryptologists in Room 40 of Royal Naval intelligence and was furious. Following a public outcry, he asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany on April 2, 1917. Below are some of his words to a joint session of Congress that day:

"With a profound sense of solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States... That it means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors the intercepted [Zimmermann] note to the German Minister at Mexico City is eloquent evidence."

Congress declared war on Germany on April 6.

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  • Confederate Signal Corps was established. The Confederate Signal Corps accomplished tactical and strategic communications for the warring armies, including electromagnetic telegraphy and aerial telegraphy ("wig-wag" signaling). It included a covert intelligence agency known as the Secret Service Bureau. Remember to explore the NCM's Revolutionary Secrets exhibit during your next visit.

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.