Under the Radar

The Zimmerman Telegram & the Road to the Great War


March 1st marks the 100th anniversary of the day that newspapers published a story about the Zimmerman telegram, one of the key incidents that led the United States to actively fight The Great War. The United States intercepted and decoded a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to German Ambassador to Mexico  Heinrich von Eckardt that revealed Germany's efforts to get Japan and Mexico to declare war on the neutral United States. The news set off a firestorm of public opinion that led to the U.S. formally entering the war on April 6, 1917.

The PBS series American Experience will air a three-part, six-hour documentary The Great War Monday-Wednesday April 10-12, 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into the war. We've got a clip from the film that gives background on the incidents of March 1st.


Featuring the voices of Campbell Scott, Blythe Danner, Courtney Vance and others, The Great War is executive produced by Mark Samels and directed by award-winning filmmakers Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak and Rob Rapley. The documentary details how the U.S. went from a determined neutrality to active participation in the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen. 

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