About a third of what was once Mexico becomes part of the United States. Sixty-nine years later, Germany would use this fact to try to entice Mexico to invade the U.S. and win it back.
Tensions in Europe were so high that virtually any leader's untimely death could have started a war. Franz was just the lucky winner, or loser, depending on how you look at it.
A tangled network of alliances meant that nearly every European nation was obligated to go to war with someone. So they all did, even though they didn't really have a very good reason for the whole thing.
The ship was supposedly non-military and the passengers included Americans, but there was a good deal of British military contraband aboard, as well as gun mounts hidden beneath the deck in case the boat needed to be commissioned for service in a war with Germany. The U.S. protested loudly against the sinking of a passenger ship, and Germany promised to never do it again. Like, ever.
His campaign slogan was, "He Kept Us Out of the War," which would be true for another five months before he would cave in and take America into its very first overseas war.
The telegram was discovered and translated by the British three days later, but then it took nearly a month for people to believe it was real. When will people stop using the telegram machine for practical jokes?
They'd been sinking whatever ships they wanted to for a while (Lusitania anyone?), but now they were more transparent about their policy of killing innocent people.
Skeptics persisted until Zimmermann admitted to writing it several days later. The American public was understandably outraged. Mexico and Japan quickly made it clear they had no intention of invading.
Wilson had finally had enough of Germany thinking it could do whatever it wanted in the Atlantic, beat up on everyone in Europe, and think up dastardly plots via telegrams. It was time for action.
Germany and Austria-Hungary were defeated before this, but everybody waited until 11:11AM on November 11 to actually stop fighting because it sounded cooler that way. Too bad it wasn't 1911.
The U.S. got lots of respect from everybody, but France and England were petty jerks and ended up ultimately causing World War II by making Germany agree to accept blame for the whole war, disarming them, and making them pay a ridiculous amount of money in war reparations. A guy named Adolf Hitler managed to rise to power based in part on lasting German resentment about the deal.