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In January 1917, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann sent a telegram, which came to be known as the "Zimmerman Note," to his minister in Mexico, to inform him that unrestricted submarine warfare would soon resume. As an inducement, Mexico would be offered the opportunity to regain much of the land lost in the Mexican War (New Mexico, Arizona and Texas).The telegram containing these instructions was intercepted by British Naval Intelligence. American public opinion stewed for several weeks.On February 24, the British revealed the telegram's contents to American officials. President Wilson realized that the time for equivocation was over and released the text of the note to the press for publication on March 1. A declaration of war would follow in a little more than a month.
See World War I Time Table.