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ERIC Number: ED466424
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jun-20
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Zimmermann Telegram. Teaching with Documents.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
Between 1914 and the spring of 1917, Europe engaged in the conflict known as World War I. The United States remained neutral. In January of 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German Minister to Mexico, Heinrich J. F. von Eckhardt, offering U.S. territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into World War I and changed the course of history. 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, 1917, to present the telegram to President Woodrow Wilson. The U.S. press published news of the telegram on March 1, 1917. This lesson plan provides the background for the incident; identifies the National History Standards and National Civics and Government Standards correlations; presents three learning activities; and offers primary two documents--the coded telegram and the decoded message. Contains a written document analysis worksheet. (BT)
National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Tel: 866-272-6272 (Toll Free); Fax: 301-837-0483; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.