The Zimmerman telegram was originally sent by Authur Zimmerman, the German Foreign Secretary on to the German Ambassador in the United States, and directed to the German ambassador in Mexico, von Eckhardt. The subsequent events that instigated the release of the Zimmerman Telegram began with German’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. This policy allowed German U-boats to attack merchant ships without warning, in hopes of undermining the British by blocking their line of supply from North America. The United States remained neutral at the time, however in 1915, a German U-boat sunk the British ocean liner Lusitania.
The ship consisted mostly of passengers, in which 159 Americans had died. The Sussex Pledge was issued as another sinking of a French ship called, ‘The Sussex,’ caused many American casualties.
The US president, Woodrow Wilson became concerned and proposed this ultimatum stating that US would break off diplomatic relations if Germany did not stop sinking passenger ships. However, this did not last long as Germany was outraged over the British naval blockade that deprived thm of supplies and food.
Germany abandoned the pledge and in response, the United States cut their diplomatic relations with Germany. The Zimmerman telegram was released on March 1, 1917 to divert United States away from going to war with Germany on the Allies side. The telegram listed that Germany would return to the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, regardless of the neutrality of the US. It proposed an offer of military alliance to Mexico, in which Germany would provide financial aid and the return of their lost states, Texas, Mexico and Arizona.
The telegram further advised Mexico to form an alliance with Japan to form a new Pacific and Central front, which would pose as a threat to the United States if war was declared. Germany’s plan was to use these alliances as a distraction to the United States on their Southern border, thus weakening their involvement in the war overseas. Also, as the United States was neutral, this meant that they were trading with other states or nations at war. By involving the United States in a war with Mexico, exports overseas would slow down. With the intentions of winning the war against Britain before the arrival of the American forces, the Zimmerman Telegram was released, however to no avail.