Entwicklung und Perspektive einer interdisziplinären Wissenschaft- Festschrift für Michael Adams-
Edited By Henning Curti and Tobias Effertz
How to Make Use of Secrets? – The Zimmermann Telegram - Manfred J. Holler
197 How to Make Use of Secrets? – The Zimmermann Telegram* Manfred J. Holler1 Abstract This paper discusses the problem of how to make use of a secret without publishing the source. The point of the departure is the so-called Zimmermann Telegram which, at least to some extent, motivated the U.S.A. to join the Allies in the war against Im- perial Germany. The paper analyzes how Admiral Hall, Director of British Naval In- telligence, managed to convince the US Government that he can read the Telegram, written in cryptographic code, without letting everybody, including the Germans, know that his department can decipher the German code. A game theoretic model is presented which supports the historical analysis. 1. How to make use of a secret without publishing the source This paper refers to submarines, Mexico, and Room 40. Its heroes are people who unravelled secrets or have the power to do so. Some created secrets; others deciphered secrets; others have a pile of secrets in their cupboard.2 Almost all of them, directly or indirectly, face a problem: How to make use of a secret that is no longer a secret without letting others know that you know the secret? The latter condition could be paramount in case of war as the story of the Zimmer- mann Telegram illustrates. You do not want that the enemy knows that you can decipher his messages. The safest way to achieve this is not to use the infor- mation. But then what is good about reading...
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