One of my favorite books is Barbara Tuchman’s “The Zimmermann Telegram,” about Kaiser Germany’s wild attempt to keep America out of World War I. The Americans were quite happy with their isolation from all that death and destruction in Europe. But, we were shipping guns and supplies to England and the Kaiser didn’t want to pull America into the war by torpedoing one of our ships. So Zimmermann, the Foreign Secretary for the German Empire, sent a telegram to the German Ambassador in Mexico City, via Washington, to offer the President of Mexico that if they sided with Germany, when the war was over, Germany winning of course, they would help Mexico regain Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Those wily Brits in the famous Room 40 intercepted the cable, broke the code, and told the Americans. For the Germans, as is often the case in the affairs of men, it achieved just the opposite of its intended purpose. Even before this strategic event in January, 1917, Germany was financing the guns being supplied to both sides of the Revolution. Much of those guns and ammunition came from a big hardware wholesaler in El Paso, Krakauer, Zork, and Moye which figures into my book “Dos Gringos,” as does the black suited man who traveled about Mexico delivering the arms to both the Federáles and Pancho Villa. That man was my grandfather, for whom I am named. Read “Dos Gringos” for more of the story, and read Barbara Tuchman’s book, “The Zimmermann Telegram.” Trust me.
Buy a copy of “Dos Gringos” here.