Military Wiki
Plan of San Diego
Date January 6, 1915
Location San Diego, Texas
Participants Seditionistas

The Plan of San Diego (Spanish: Plan de San Diego) was drafted by agents of Mexican president Venustiano Carranza, to start a race war in 1915 and overthrow the United States government in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California during the Mexican Revolution. The plan was to kill all the Anglo men, but it was discovered in early 1915. However raids did begin in July and the insurgency was countered by Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army. The insurgency was suppressed after 30 raids from Mexico into Texas that destroying millions of property and killed 21 Americans. The raiders were Mexicans (not Mexican Americans).

Drafting the Plan

A map of Villanista raids on the US-Mexico border, 1915-1920

Supporters of Mexican President Venustiano Carranza, known as Seditionistas, drafted the plan in Monterrey, Mexico (it was not drafted in San Diego or anywhere in the U.S.). It called for the recruitment of native Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans, to rebel against the U.S. and kill every Anglo male of sixteen and above. The same basic idea reappeared in Germany's Zimmermann Telegram of 1917, which helped push the U.S. into war with Germany.[1] The Plan called for an insurgent army to be named the "Liberating Army of Races and Peoples" (Ejército Liberador de las Razas y del Pueblo). After killing the white population, a republic was to be created out of the American border states which would eventually be annexed to Mexico.


The uprising was to begin on February 20, 1915, but when one of the rebel leaders, Basilio Ramos, was arrested in McAllen, Texas, a written copy of the plan was found in his possession and the U.S. responded immediately by increasing troop strength on the border. Numbers of Texas Rangers also increased to one of their all time highs due to the tension. About 30 raids into the U.S. took place in 1915-16, killing 21 Americans. Skirmishes between the Texas Rangers and Mexican raiders became common, though casualties remained light, as the rebels proved to be incapable of launching a full scale invasion and could only conduct guerilla warfare. Newspapers in Mexico celebrated the uprising, and Carranza representatives told Washington that if it recognized the Carranza government the raids would end. Washington recognized Carranza's government after it was able to occupy its own capital city in August, 1915. The raids ended in October, 1915.

American reaction

However, many Texans feared the uprising was real, and formed vigilante posses that attacked anyone who was Mexican, armed, and suspicious. At least 100 Mexican Americans were killed in Texas.[2][3] In March 1916 Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, and the U.S. sent the main U.S. Army deep into Mexico to catch him. It never caught him, but the Mexican government responded by resuming raids northward. The crisis escalated to the verge of formal war, but was resolved by diplomacy. There is no doubt that President Carranza was the driving force behind the plan. Americans thought that German agents may have been involved, but no evidence of that has appeared.[4]

See also


  1. Walter Prescott Webb (1965). The Texas Rangers. University of Texas Press. p. 484. 
  2. Coerver, "Plan of San Diego," Handbook of Texas Online
  3. Harris and Sadler (1978), pp 390-92
  4. Harris and Sadler (1978), pp 392-407

Further reading

  • Coerver, Don M. "Plan of San Diego," Handbook of Texas Online online
  • Gómez-Quiñones, Juan. "Plan de San Diego Reviewed," Aztlan, (1970) 1#1 pp 124–132
  • Harris, III, Charles H. and Louis R. Sadler (2007). The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920. U. New Mexico Press. pp. 210–48. 
  • Harris III, Charles H., and Louis R. Sadler. "The Plan of San Diego and the Mexican-U.S. War Crisis of 1916: A Reexamination," Hispanic American Historical Review (August 1978) 58#3 pp 381–408 in JSTOR
  • Johnson, Benjamin Heber, Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans, Yale University Press (2003)
  • Johnson, Benjamin H. "Unearthing the Hidden Histories of a Borderlands Rebellion," Journal of South Texas (Spring 2011) 24#1 pp 6–21
  • Katz, Friedrich. The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, the United States and the Mexican Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 1981).
  • Sandos, James, Rebellion in the Borderlands: Anarchism and the Plan of San Diego 1904–1923, University of Oklahoma Press (1992)

Primary sources

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).