Page 3690

3690 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

government, which up to that moment had

professed amity and a desire to stand by

the Sussex pledges, knew that it took

almost two days to send a cable to America!"

Various explanations have been made as

to why Germany came to this astonishing

decision to defy not only the United

States but the rest of the neutral world.

Beyond question the War Lords realized

that their plight was desperate and that

only desperate methods could break the

stranglehold of the Allied blockade and

enable them to win the war. They seem

to have hoped that the United States

would take no action beyond sending the

usual diplomatic notes. Gerard tells us:

"The Germans believed that President

Wilson had been elected by a mandate

to keep out of war at any cost and that

America could be insulted, flouted, and

humiliated with impunity." He says that

Zimmermann declared that "everything

will be all right. America will do nothing,

for President Wilson is for peace and

nothing else." The Chancellor also said

that Wilson "had been elected on a peace

platform, and that nothing will happen."

At the worst, the German officials believed

that the United States would not go beyond

windy protests or breaking diplomatic

relations. Furthermore, they knew that

even if the United States declared war, a

long period must elapse before we could

become a formidable factor in the conflict.

The pitiable military weakness of America

was much better understood in Berlin

than in Washington, and the War Lords

knew absolutely that more than a year

must pass before the United States could

put an army of any consequence at the

fighting front. They hoped to win the

war in that interval. "Give us two months