1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Zimmermann, Arthur

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

ZIMMERMANN, ARTHUR (1859-       ), the German Foreign Secretary who, during the World War, conceived the idea of trying to inveigle Mexico into an alliance against the United States, was born May 8 1859 at Frankenstein. After having been vice-consul at Shanghai and acting consul in 1900 at Tientsin, he entered the Foreign Office in 1902 in a subordinate capacity and rose by 1910 to be director of the Political Section. In 1911 he was appointed under-secretary and in Nov. 1916 Secretary of State in succession to von Jagow. In this capacity he addressed to America the note of Jan. 31 1917 on the subject of U-boat warfare. He was also the author of the extraordinary invitation of Jan. 19 1917 to Mexico to enter into an alliance with Germany and to sound Japan as to her willingness to coöperate. For Mexico the price of this alliance was to be the American States of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. This proposal, which was sent through the medium of the German minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, was intercepted in America, and President Wilson was in a position to publish it on March 1 1917. With other disclosures regarding German machinations against the United States it materially contributed to rouse American national feeling, which found expression in the decisive votes of the Senate and the House of Representatives on April 5 in favour of declaring war upon Germany. Zimmermann retired on Aug. 5 1917 shortly after the resignation of Bethmann Hollweg. The German Liberals and the governmental Socialists had withdrawn their support from Bethmann Hollweg's Government at the time of the so-called “Peace Resolution” (July 19 1917), largely on the ground that it was inconceivable that the Allies and America should ever negotiate with politicians like Zimmermann and Bethmann, who had been guilty of the note to Mexico and other treacherous proceedings.