On Saturday, September 30, GHF will recognize the 100th anniversary of World War I with a day of special events focusing on Galveston Island’s pivotal role in delivering the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in 1917. All activities will be held at the Menard House complex, 1605 33rd Street.
In January of 1917, British intelligence intercepted and decrypted a secret telegram from German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German envoy to Mexico. In it, Zimmermann offered the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. The British gave a copy of Zimmermann’s message to the U.S. government, which in turn leaked it to the press. On March 1st, the telegram made headline news in virtually every major American newspaper. Many Americans were outraged by the German plot to embroil their country in a war with Mexico, and on April 6th, the United States declared war against Germany.
“Shortly after the nation became aware of the telegram, the United States committed to entering World War I,” explains Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “Many historians believe that the telegram played a role in shifting public opinion against Germany.”
Free to the PublicThe new Texas Historical Commission subject marker will be a lasting message about Galveston’s role in the famous 1917 Zimmerman telegram. This crucial clandestine communication shifted public opinion against Germany and led the nation into World War I.
The new Texas Historical Commission subject marker will be a lasting message about Galveston’s role in the famous 1917 Zimmerman telegram. This crucial clandestine communication shifted public opinion against Germany and led the nation into World War I.
“GHF is pleased to recognize our role as we acknowledge the telegraph switching building that once sat near the Seawall and was saved by Pat and Fred Burns in the 1990s,” continues Jones.
In this lecture, Dr. Thomas Boghardt will discuss the German rationale behind the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, the means by which the British obtained it, and its impact on the United States. The lecture will also examine the role of Galveston in the transmission of Zimmermann’s alliance proposal from Europe to Mexico, and the contemporary relevance of the telegram’s interception, decryption, and dissemination in the United States.
Dr. Thomas Boghardt is a senior historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. He has lectured and published extensively on the history of the First World War, the Cold War, and intelligence in the twentieth century. His latest book is “The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War I” (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2012), and he is currently writing a book on U.S. military intelligence operations in early Cold War Europe. Dr. Boghardt earned his Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Oxford.
Enjoy two specially created cocktails on the grounds of the 1838 Menard House, with live music by Matt Tolentino and the Singapore Slingers, for a special History on Tap. Tickets are $30 per person and are available at www.galvestonhistory.org. Allegedly named after the 75mm Howitzer field gun used by the French and Americans in World War 1, the French 75 is crafted with gin, lemon, sugar, and champagne. This special event will also feature a special “rum rationing” station where attendees will taste a special rum based drink. Rum rationing was introduced in 1914, 2 ounces to each soldier per day, to ward off the chill and dampness of the trenches.
ABOUT MATT TOLENTINO AND THE SINGAPORE SLINGERS
Matt Tolentino, who shares a birthday with Fred Astaire, was born May 10, 1985, in Dallas, TX. He was not born 80 years too late, rather, he is placed at the perfect time- the present day- to preserve the music of generations past, to bring the music of yesterday to the modern audience of today.
In 2007, Matt formed his Singapore Slingers orchestra with a group of dedicated, talented players. The Slingers play a wide variety of musical styles, including “rag-a-jazz”, a brief period in music between the late teens and early twenties, a musical hybrid of ragtime and jazz. He continues to focus exclusively on the pre-swing popular music of 1895- 1935, including rags, fox trots, marches, one-steps, two-steps, and waltzes and is dedicated to preserving traditional music. A true multi-instrumentalist, he is equally at home on accordion, clarinet, tuba, piano, tenor guitar, banjo, and saxophones, specializing in baritone and bass sax. Matt will continue to bring the music of yesterday to the audience of today, presented with respect and reverence. The way it should be. Learn more at matttolentino.com.
ABOUT THE 1838 MENARD HOUSE
Built in 1838 by John and Augustus Allen for the founder of Galveston, Michel Branamour Menard, the property passed between Menard and the Allen brothers (founders of Houston) in many complicated dealings in its early years. It is the oldest surviving residential dwelling in Galveston and the only structure to be owned by the founders of both Galveston and Houston.