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Zimmermann (of the Zimmermann Telegram; yeah, that guy) is writing to Mexico to inform them that Germany's planning to start shooting at literally everything in the oceans. Ships, whales, whatever—it's all fair game now. Germany realizes that this might escalate the war to levels it can't control, or more importantly, can't win.
Specifically, they're worried about what the U.S. might do, but they have a plan for that.
Zimmermann tells Mexico that it should attack the U.S. and invite Japan along, too, for a kind of military double date. That way, the U.S. will get bogged down fighting Mexico, freeing up Germany to do whatever it wants on the seas without worrying about the consequences.
Mexico would have been insane to take on the risk of attacking the U.S., even with Germany's help.
Mexico should have accepted Zimmermann's proposal (and Germany's money) to take back the land that was unfairly stolen by the Americans during the Mexican-American War. It was probably their last chance.
This German Foreign Minister dude named Arthur Zimmermann (we call him Art) sends a message to his German ambassador buddy in Mexico about a new strategy for winning World War I. His note gets intercepted, and nations on at least three continents are not at all pleased with its subject matter.
Zimmermann suggests that Mexico attack the U.S. as a distraction from all the nasty stuff Germany was planning to do in the Atlantic. As a bonus, maybe they'd get Texas, Arizona, and California. He also implies that Japan could attack the U.S., too, and that Germany would pay for it.
Yo, Mexico, wanna fight the U.S.? xoxo Germany.