Cryptologic Bytes

"On This Date in History" Calendar

1917: Zimmermann Telegram was sent.

Thursday, January 17, 2019
1917: Zimmermann Telegram was sent.

17 January 1917: The Zimmermann Telegram was sent.

In January of 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. The telegram had such an impact on American opinion that, according to David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, "No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences." It is his opinion that "never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message."

In an effort to protect their intelligence from detection and to capitalize on growing anti-German sentiment in the United States, the British waited until February 24 to present the telegram to Woodrow Wilson. The American press published news of the telegram on March 1. On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress formally declared war on Germany and its allies.

Learn more about the Zimmermann Telegram and watch a short video at the link below.

Join or renew a membership

Anyone, anywhere can be a member of the NCMF.

BECOME A FOUNDER

The Founders' Group spearheads the capital campaign to build the new Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum.

 

More Info »

Donate to the CCEI-NCM

Be a part of the future - help us build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum.

VISIT THE ARCHIVES

Check out the Cryptologic Bytes Archives for a wide variety of articles on all topics related to cryptology, codes and ciphers, related publications, Museums, and more.