In Telegram” which was intercepted and decoded by

In 1914, when war broke out in Europe, the United States chose to remain neutral but on April 6, 1917, Congress voted to declare war on Germany and its allies.  However, from the start, ‘American sympathies were predominantly with the Allies’ (T.H. Johnson), as over the duration of the war the US loaned to the Allies 9.1 billion dollars. One reason for American entry into WW1 was the discovery of ”Zimmermann Telegram” which was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence in January 1917 and shared with US president Wilson. Zimmermann, Germany’s Foreign Minister, sent a telegram to the German Ambassador in Mexico Heinrich von Eckhardt, seeking an alliance. In return for Mexican alliance, Zimmermann, promised the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona (areas lost in the Mexican-American war), after a German victory. This meant that the US was directly threatened by Germany and needed to protect important states. Until then, America felt safely out of the war, a war in Europe. However, this made the war seem a lot more at home. Another reason for the US entering WW1 was Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare announced in February 1915, which meant that German U-boats could sink any boat without warning including neutral passenger ships, that entered the war zone around Britain because Germany was desperate to stop the flow of essential supplies such as ammunition and food in response to Britain’s blockade. On May 7, 1915, the British-owned Lusitania was sunk by a torpedo without warning neat Ireland. Of the 1,959 passengers, 1,198 were killed, including 128 Americans. The German government stated that the Lusitania was carrying munition. Many attacks on American ships and ship carrying American passengers followed including the William P.Frye and SS Sussex. In August, Germany promised the protection of passengers, but in November Germany sunk an Italian ship without warning, killing 272 people, including 27 Americans. With these attacks along with Zimmermann’s telegram, the public opinion and politicians in the US began to change drastically.

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