TIMELINES: Feb. 26, 1917, US President Wilson learned of what cable that ultimately led the US to enter WW I?

February 26, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Feb. 26, 1917, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson becomes aware of a communication know as the Zimmermann Telegram—a message sent by Germany’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador to Mexico seeking to form a strategic alliance against the U.S. In the telegraph, Zimmermann instructs the ambassador to offer financial support and a promise to return a significant portion of the Western U.S.—including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas—to Mexico in exchange for an alliance against the U.S. in World War I. Appalled by the telegraph, Wilson instructs the U.S. Department of State to have the message published in American papers—a tactic that results in massive anti-German sentiment among Americans and provides Wilson with the support he needs to effectively convince Congress to declare war on Germany and officially enter World War I. British Intelligence initially intercepted the Zimmermann Telegram and informed Washington of its transmission. 


Today, along with other G20 members, the United States, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom are meeting in Mexico City for the 2012 G20 summit. As stated on the G20 website, G20 “is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda.” The G20 represents 19 of the world’s wealthiest countries plus the European Union. The agenda for this year’s summit is expected to be largely dominated by the European financial crisis and proposed recovery measures.