Trailer à The Zimmermann Telegram PDF by à Barbara W. Tuchman I thought that lots of information stuff I didn t know, would translate into an interesting read While I learned a lot, the flow was never compelling to me like other good books that bring you there I was never engaged Typically, a narrator can bring the story to life, but this reader did not do that for me I think both the author and the narrator failed me on this one Interesting topic but this version was just OK for me.
I listened to this book because I have kind of an interest in cryptography and its historical impact The Zimmerman Telegram is ostensibly about the famous telegram that was the final straw that brought America into the first World War, and how the British decoded it and then made use of it But that turns out to be only a relatively minor part of the story Really, most of the book is about the geopolitics of the early 20th century and the personalities of leading American, British, and German officials, diplomats, and military leaders, and how these shaped history as we know it.
The plot in a nutshell and Barbara Tuchman does make this book interesting enough that it reads like a novel plot moving from one twist to another, rather than the inevitable course of history in 1917, Britain and the other Allied powers are getting the stuffing beaten out of them by Germany The European front is hemorrhaging lives What Britain wants and needs, and what Germany fears, is America entering the war The only thing keeping Britain alive is her navy, and the German navy thinks they can starve Britain and the rest of the Allies if they commence unrestricted submarine warfare meaning, even neutral ships are fair targets in the war zone Since this largely means American ships bringing supplies to Britain, letting the U boats loose means very likely provoking America into declaring war.
Then falls into the hands of British codebreakers, who unbeknownst to the Germans have broken their diplomatic code, a telegram from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman to the German ambassador in Mexico Zimmerman tells the ambassador to offer an alliance between Germany and Mexico should the U.
S enter the war which they expect will happen since the decision has already been made to begin unrestricted submarine warfare As part of the deal, Germany offers Mexico a great big slice of the American Southwest basically everything the U.
S had taken from Mexico in various wars and then some , and also urges them to make an alliance with Japan to get Japan to attack the U.
S West Coast.
This is obviously political dynamite, and the British figure it s just what they need to push the U.
S into declaring war on Germany The only problems are 1 how to reveal this in a way that will simultaneously not be dismissed by the Americans as a hoax while not revealing to the Germans that their code has been broken 2 U.
S President Woodrow Wilson, who has been stubbornly persisting in trying to broker peace and keep the U.
S neutral, even as it becomes increasingly obvious that neither will be possible.
As I mentioned, the codebreaking stuff turns out to be a very small piece of the story I found the characterization of President Wilson much interesting at times he seems naive, foolish, stubborn, and understandably his opponents even labeled him cowardly He was adamantly opposed to entering the war, and was pushing his peace without victory plan even after the Germans had all but spit on it But Tuchman s portrayal does suggest a man who was far from cowardly, and not a fool either He genuinely wanted peace, and genuinely grieved when his orders resulted in the deaths of American servicemembers One might wish some of our recent Presidents had such a personal investment in the consequences of their orders But he was also stubborn and prone to not listening to news and opinions he didn t like.
The other interesting part of the story is just how differently the U.
S was situated then as opposed to now We Americans tend to think that the U.
S has been a world power pretty much since its founding, but really, in 1917, the U.
S was big and had a lot of industrial capacity and manpower, but had yet to really be tested on the world stage Today we laugh at the idea that Mexico might seriously think they could invade the U.
S and carve off Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, but it was no joke then, especially if Japan, a growing empire itself, landed troops on the West Coast, which was also a real possibility, or at least the U.
S believed it was.
World War I was when America had to actually prove itself and get bloodied The other powers wanted America s strength on their side and feared America s strength turned against them, but probably no one had any idea of the global superpower the U.
S would become.
An interesting history full of diplomatic maneuverings and historical context that reminds us that everything leading up to World War I, like most wars, was built on things that had been happening for decades before it A hundred years later, we mostly only remember the outcome.
This book shocked me, for a few different reasons 1 I had NO idea that a decoded telegram was the thing that finally drove the U.
S to join the allies in WWI.
2 I had no idea that Germany had proposed to ally with Mexico and Japan in order to return Mexico s lost territories ie, California, Texas little places like those.
3 The sinking of the Lusitania happened two years prior to all of this Wilson didn t love it, but it didn t come close to driving him to war.
4 With his irrationality, disregard of basic facts, constant pandering to the Russian leader, and preponderance of hurt feelings, Kaiser Wilhelm was the proto Donald Trump Truly, the similarities are astounding.
As always, Tuchman s breezy, rigorous, snarky tone is such a delight.
In itself, the Zimmerman telegram was only a pebble on the long road of history But a pebble can kill a Goliath, and this one killed the American illusion that we could go about our business happily separate from other nations In world affairs, it was a German minister s minor plot In the lives of the American people, it was the end of innocence Barbara Tuchman, The Zimmerman TelegramThis short book describes an incredible scheme that I knew nothing about In 1917, after two and half years of brutal war, Germany looked to have the upper hand in Europe But to finally crush Britain and win the war, the Germans needed to cut off England s supply lines This meant attacking the American ships supplying the British with much needed weapons and supplies, which probably meant roping the U.
S into the war on the Allied side Anticipating U.
S involvement, the Germans concocted a wild scheme where they would bring Mexico into the war as an ally, encourage Mexico possibly with the help of the Japanese to invade Texas, Arizona and California, and thereby keep the U.
S too busy to meddle with their war in Europe Unfortunately for the Germans, a telegram by Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman detailing this nefarious plot was intercepted by the British, turned over to the Americans, and ultimately proved to be the final straw that pushed the U.
S into the war on the Allied side Whoops.
Wilson PacifismAlong with the details of the Germans bizarre plan, this book spends a lot of time discussing American reluctance to get involved in what was perceived to be a European conflict There were a lot of reasons for this the presence of Czarist Russia on the Allied side muddied what could otherwise be seen as a battle between democracy and militaristic monarchies, pro German sentiments among American citizens of German descent particularly in the Midwest , and a general lack of interest in the war outside of the Atlantic seaboard, even when U.
S ships were being preyed upon by German U boats This isolationist attitude was personified by the U.
S President, Woodrow Wilson, who had campaigned on a pacifist platform and fought tooth and claw to keep the United States out of the war until events, specifically the Zimmerman Telegram, made military intervention unavoidable.
Wilson quite presciently believed that the only lasting peace would be a negotiated peace if a peace treaty was dictated by the victors at gunpoint, it would go too far and breed resentment that would only lead to future conflict Subsequent history would prove him all too correct on this point But Wilson s insistence on keeping the U.
S out of the war to act as a neutral arbiter grated on contemporaries like Theodore Roosevelt, who saw the war as a clash between democracy and military totalitarianism that the U.
S could ill afford to sit out Also, Wilson s determination to take the high road quite understandably infuriated parties on both sides, who viewed his attitude as incredibly patronizing and had no interest in being scolded like naughty schoolboys by the professorial Wilson But despite the Allies desperation in 1917, Wilson and the majority of American citizens were not willing to get directly involved in a war that did not directly affect the United States Zimmerman and the Mexican PlotIn that sense, the Zimmerman Telegram was exactly what the Germans did not need The threat of a Mexican invasion, however remote, energized the population and made it clear to the American People that the Germans were their enemy whether they liked it or not Mexico in 1917 had even problems than Mexico today Pancho Villa and his revolutionaries were running around stirring up trouble, and it was not crystal clear who was in real control of the country The Germans had no illusions of Mexico actually defeating the United States, but in 1917 the Mexican American war was not that far distant, and they thought that Mexico would jump at the chance to recover their old territory Because the Japanese were of the same race i.
, not white , they thought they had a chance of roping them in too, with some nebulous promises of a Japanese colony in California I had never heard of this fantastic scheme, which sounds incredible, but the plucky Germans sent coded messages to the Mexican government using the official U.
S cable in Washington in an attempt to drum up an alliance and ensure that the U.
S could not intervene in Europe The story of how British intelligence managed to crack the German code, intercept the telegram, and deliver it to Wilson was fascinating and made this book a lot of fun to read.
ConclusionOnce the public got wind of the plot, many simply could not believe it and thought it had to be a hoax But when it became clear that it was all too real thanks in large part to an inexplicable admission of guilt by Zimmerman himself , peace was no longer an option Tuchman argues that U.
S intervention on the Allied side was pretty much an inevitability by 1917, especially once the Germans amped up their U boat operations and started targeting and U.
S vessels But without the Zimmerman Telegram, it could easily have been another six months or before the stubborn Wilson finally hitched the U.
S wagon to the Allied cause Could Britain have held out for another six months without U.
S support It s hard to say, but it is very possible that without the second wind the U.
S gave the Allies in early 1917, the Allies would have been forced to negotiate a peace that would have changed the face of Europe and the history of the 20th century For that reason, the Zimmerman Telegram was a significant historical event, and Barbara Tuchman tells its story with typical skill 4 stars, recommended

I am fascinated by the fact that history often happens because of seemingly small, uneventful, accidental or coincidental events Tuchman, one of my favorite historian authors, tells the story of the happenstance that got the United States into World War I despite President Wilson s firm stance of neutrality The British, having cracked the German code, had intercepted a telegram filled with the promise of an alliance between Mexico and Japan against America How could the Brits let the Americans know of the plans without letting on that they had the German code Wikileaks would have had a field day with all this intrigue It reads like a historical thriller.
Two favorite lines Neither knew they were about to midwife a historic event.
3 Villa, spoiling for a fight, with Germany whispering encouragement in his ear, danced up and down the border like an enraged rooster trying to provoke the rush of a large dog.
93 Tuchman s conclusions This is not to say that Wilson wanted neutrality the day before the telegram, and belligerency the day afterIt awoke that part of the country that had been undecided or indifferent before It transformedthe apathy of the Western states into intense hostility to Germany and in one day accomplished a change in sentiment and public opinion that otherwise would have required months to accomplish It was not a theory or an issue but an unmistakable gesture that anyone could understand It was the German boot planted upon our border To the mass of Americans, who cared little and thought less about Europe, it meant that if they fought they would be fighting to defend America, not merely to extract Europe from its self made quarrelsWould they have been ready without the telegram Probably not.
Had the telegram never been intercepted or never been published, inevitably the Germans would have done something else that would have brought us in eventually But the time was already late and, had we delayed much longer, the Allies might have been forced to negotiate To that extent The Zimmermann Telegram altered the course of history But then, as Sir Winston Churchill has remarked, the course of history is always being altered by something or other if not by a horseshoe nail, then by an intercepted telegram In itself The Zimmermann Telegram was only a pebble on the long road of history But a pebble can kill a Goliath, and this one killed the American illusion that we could go about our business happily separate from other nations In world affairs it was a German Minister s minor plot In the lives of the American people it was the end of innocence.
199 200 This is the history of the political and diplomatic events that caused the United States to enter World War I Most of us have a vague recollection from our school text books that the sinking of the Lusitania had something to do with the war But the Lusitania was torpedoed on May 7, 1915 two years prior to America entering the war in 1917 Further, the Lusitania was a British ship, not American Remember the Lusitania came into existence as a rallying cry after the USA had declared war.
The direction of history is always unpredictable at the time of the events than they are for the reader of history who has knowledge of subsequent events All readers of history today know how the story ends so it s easy to presume that there was strong support for entry into the war Therefore it is difficult to comprehend the strength of the antiwar sentiments within the United States prior to 1917 It is true that there were a number of east coast politicians who favored entering the war But President Wilson had won reelection in 1916 under the motto He Kept Us Out Of War He won largely because of strong antiwar feelings in the midwestern and western states As a matter of fact, my grandparents voted for the first time in their lives that year because they felt so strongly that the country should stay out of war.
Suddenly in 1917 the New York Times published The Zimmermann Telegram and the mood of the country shifted Many of the newspapers that had been staunchly antiwar up to that point then changed their positions This book makes the case that the closest thing to a Pearl Harbor Event for WWI was a deciphered secret message from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause This was a sensitive issue at the time because Mexican American relations were quite strained Until January 1917 the United States had nearly 5,000 troops inside Mexico and 110,000 National Guard mobilized for border service because of border violence The Germans knew this and figured that a war with Mexico would keep the United States out of the European war.
This book tells the story of how the German communication codes were deciphered and how news about The Zimmermann Telegram was released in such a way that the Germans wouldn t know that their codes had been broken Barbara Tuchman suggests that the Germans were so sure of their intellectual superiority that they never seriously considered the possibility that their codes had been broken by others They instead concluded that a copy of the message had been stolen after it was decoded by German embassy personnel Tuchman also suggests that if the Germans had simply denied that they had sent the message i.
e claim that it was a British fake it is possible that the message wouldn t have been taken seriously But Arthur Zimmermann decided to acknowledged that he had sent the message Speculation as to why he did this could make this review even longer Barbara Tuchman maintains that the telegram by itself was not the cause of America entering the war, but rather it was the straw that broke the camel s back It s true that the unrestricted submarine warfare may have eventually caused the American entry Which raises the question, how would history have been different if The Zimmermann Telegram had never existed Tuchmann argues that without the telegram the American entry into the war would almost certainly have been delayed, and such a delay may have changed the war situation on the ground in Europe.
A masterpiece, one of the most entertaining, unbelievable, and beautifully written historic narratives I have ever read.
I recently criticized a book on this site for trying to tell a history by jumping around, and said that it takes a very good writer to make that work Barbara Tuchman has that skill She tells a very complicated story with a very diverse cast, and keeps everything straight and lucid.
Now, that might be enough for four stars, but Tuchman does all this by making the whole thing sensible as well You understand why people took the actions they did You understand why people make the assumptions they made And best worst of all, you understand why the world made the huge mistake that was World War I.
Tuchman isn t just an efficient writer, she s deeply entertaining She has an unusual writing style old fashioned, aristocratic, but never stilted or inaccessible It s like listening to an opinionated Aunt tell you about the family And I do mean opinionated Tuchman isn t an unbiased reporter, she instead seems to embrace the concept of history will judge them and goes right ahead and judges the men that she s writing about You can practically hear her shaking her head over Woodrow Wilson and his unending attempts to bring a peace to the world that no one but him wanted.
I ve been meaning to read Tuchman s The Guns Of August ever since it was discussed in one of my favorite historical films Thirteen Days I started with this book instead and it has revolutionized my understanding of World War I I used to be sufficiently mis informed to believe that conflict to be mostly European in nature, and to be little than a precursor to World War II This one thin book has absolutely changed my view of history, and I m thrilled to know I still have another, longer, pulitzer prize winning book to go Nothing Can Stop An Enemy From Picking Wireless Messages Out Of The Free Air And Nothing Did In England, Room Was BornIn January , With The First World War Locked In Terrible Stalemate And America Still Neutral, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman Gambled The Future Of The Conflict On A Single Telegram But This Message Was Intercepted And Decoded In Whitehall S Legendary Room And Zimmerman S Audacious Scheme For World Domination Was Exposed, Bringing America Into The War And Changing The Course Of History The Story Of How This Happened And The Incalculable Consequences Are Thrillingly Told In Barbara Tuchman S Brilliant Exploration