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The Kaiser's Diabolical Plot to Seize Texas
on June 13, 2004
Like the World War Two Enigma saga, the Zimmerman Telegram is a story that arguably gains even more relevance than ever before in today's information age. In short, in 1917 British intelligence leaked to the United States the fact that German's Foreign Office was plotting to co-opt Mexico into World War One on the side of the Central Powers, using as an inducement the prospect of regaining territories lost to America during the Mexican War of 1846. It was this revelation, and not unrestricted submarine war, that triggered Wilson's declaration of war against Germany. Tuchman weaves a story that takes us from Japan (which also harbored ambitions of annexing American territory), through North America and over to London, where Room 40's codebreakers discovered the Kaiser's diabolical plot to seize Texas and then agonized over how and whether to tell Washington. Particularly amusing are the stories of Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to America, a notorious ladies' man whose influence the French and British successfully undermined using pictures of the Count with two young swimsuit-clad women.