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The sinking of the Lusitania took place on May 7, 1915 after a German U-boat torpedoed it. Approximately 1200 people died, 198 who were U.S citizens.
The Germans claimed that it was their right to sink any ships delivering cargo to the enemy. They were therefore engaged in unrestricted submarine warfare until the passing of the Sussex Pledge
In order to appease the U.S., Germany passed The Sussex Pledge on May 4, 1916 vowing to end their surprise attacks on ships sailing into enemy territory.
On May 1, 1917 President Wilson received a decoded telegram, referred to as the Zimmerman Note, by Germany's Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman who proposed to Mexico that if the U.S. were to enter the war they could in turn declare war on the U.S. and would thus understand their reconquering of lost territories including Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
On April 6, 1917 the United States finally declared war on Germany.
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