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Topics in Chronicling America - The Zimmermann Telegram

A threat on our border—a German plot to align itself with Mexico and Japan against the US is made public. The famed Zimmermann telegram mobilizes public opinion against Germany and accelerates America’s involvement in World War I. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Picture of Zimmerman

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Important Dates:

  • January 19, 1917. Zimmermann telegram, proposing alliance between Mexico, Japan, and Germany against the US, is sent to German Ambassador to US.
  • February 3, 1917. Formal diplomatic relations between the US and Germany end. Wilson was aware of the Zimmermann Telegram.
  • March 1, 1917. Zimmermann Telegram is published in American newspapers.
  • March 3, 1917. Zimmermann acknowledges the plot, but argues that it was not hostile because it was contingent on a US declaration of war against Germany.
  • April 2, 1917. President Wilson appeals to a joint session of Congress for a Declaration of War against Germany.
  • April 6, 1917. The US formally declares war on Germany.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Arthur Zimmermann, Robert Lansing, Paul Ritter, Heinrich von Eckhardt, von Bernstorff, Woodrow Wilson, Sato, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, German, Teuton, Mexico, Japan, and telegram.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • German Ambassador to Mexico Heinrich Von Eckhardt’s last name is alternatively spelled as Eckart and Eckhart in American papers.
  • German Foreign Minister Zimmermann’s first name is occasionally reported incorrectly as Alfred.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  March 13, 2017
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