The telegraph had been invented in the early part of the 19th century and became the first electromechanical device in widespread use for communication. During World War I, the British intercepted an encoded telegraph transmission from the German Foreign Secretary, Alfred Zimmermann (1864-1940) to the German Ambassador in Mexico City. It proposed that should the United States enter the war, Germany would aid Mexico in reclaiming the southwestern United States. When the contents of the telegraph transmission was made public, isolationist sentiment in the US waned in favor of war with Germany.
In January, 1923, Germany fell behind in reparation payments to the Allies, notably in a promised delivery of telegraph poles to France. This failure prompted France to occupy the Rhineland. (The "Ruhr Crisis") which weakened the German Weimar Republic, and eased the way for Nazism in the 1930's, and world war in the 1940's.