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The First Moroccan Crisis

  • Christopher Andrew

Abstract

FRANCE entered 1905 in a weaker military position than at any time since the signing of the Dual Alliance. Against almost all informed expectation of a year before, Russia was on the verge of a crushing defeat in the Far East and had ceased to be an effective ally in Europe. In France herself General André’s disastrous term as minister for war (from May 1900 to October 1904) had been devoted to a campaign against monarchist and clerical influence in the higher command which had left the army demoralised and ill prepared for war. The position of the navy was no better. In 1900 the Chamber had authorised a naval building programme which Monson had described as ‘terribly formidable’,1 but the new fleet had not been built. Barrère wrote gloomily to Delcassé in November 1904:

I do not give the policy that you and I have practised together two years before it is utterly demolished. And how will you conduct diplomacy when the world knows or believes – which is the same thing – that we no longer have either an army or a navy? This conviction is now making alarming progress.2

Keywords

Foreign Minister German Government Good Office Surprise Attack Military Cooperation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 5.
    R. de Caix, ‘L’incident allemand-marocain’, BCAF, April 1905.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    P. Muret, ‘La politique personnelle de Rouvier et la chute de Delcassé’, Revue d’Histoire de la Guerre Mondiale, xvii (1939), 227–9.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    GP, xx ii, nos. 6623, 6624. The idea of a new international conference on Morocco had been put forward by Kühlmann at the beginning of March. Bülow himself, however, began to favour the proposal only after the Kaiser’s visit to Tangier (E. N. Anderson, The First Moroccan Crisis (Chicago, 1930), 202, n. 24).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    C. Barrère, ‘La chute de Delcassé’, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 Aug. 1932, 615.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    H. Temperley and L. Penson, Foundations of British Foreign Policy from Pitt to Salisbury (Cambridge, 1938), 519–20.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Lansdowne admitted in an interview given to Temperley in 1926 that before the end of his term of office English and French ‘military and naval experts … got together and talked about possible schemes of cooperation as was their business, and talked indiscreetly as they always will do’ (H. Temperley, ‘British Secret Diplomacy from Canning to Grey’, Cambridge Historical Journal, VI (1938), 26).Google Scholar
  7. Grey wrote in Twenty-Five Years (i, 74–6): ‘It was not till some time after I entered office that I discovered that, under the threat of German pressure upon France in 1905 steps had been taken to concert military plans, in the event of war being forced upon France. … Plans for naval and military cooperation had, I found, begun to be made under Lord Lansdowne in 1905 when the German pressure was menacing. The naval conversations had already been direct; the military conversations had hitherto been through an intermediary.…’ Robertson wrote in Soldiers and Statesmen (London, 1926), I, 48: ‘Unofficially, plans for military cooperation with France had, with the knowledge of Lord Lansdowne, Foreign Secretary at the time, been discussed between the Director of Military Operations and the French military attaché in London as far back as 1905’. Haldane confirmed that there had been ‘some general conversations’ with French generals in 1905 (Richard Burdon Haldane: an Autobiography (London, 1929), 189). According to Sydenham: ‘The “Conversations” were quite informal in Lord Lansdowne’s time. In fact, so far as I know, Colonel Repington acted as go-between’ (BD. III. no. 221 (a)).Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    Monger, op. cit., ch. 9. J. D. Hargreaves, ‘The Origin of the Anglo-French militant conversations in 1905’, History, XXXVI (1951).Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Monger, op. cit., 189. A. J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow. The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era 1904–1919 (London, 1961), 1, 112.Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    Colin Cross, The Liberals in Power 1905–14 (London, 1963), 96.Google Scholar
  11. 5.
    Lauzanne to Delcassé (copy), 5 Oct. 1905; Delcassé to Lauzanne (copy), 12 Oct. 1905, Delcassé MSS. Lauzanne wrote to Delcassé, ‘The very great joy and the very great pride which I feel at having told the public a truth which it had the right to know concerning your resignation, are a little lessened by the fear of having caused you embarrassment by making you — much against my will — break your silence’. Delcassé replied: ‘You can be sure that I do not hold it against you. But you were quite right to write that, if you had consulted me, I should have begged you not to disturb a too recent past.’ Lauzanne later revealed that Delcassé had disclosed the plan for an English landing in Schleswig-Holstein during a confidential interview on 22 June 1905 (S. Lauzanne, Sa Majestd la Presse (Paris, 1925), 258). Cf.Google Scholar
  12. Earl of Midleton, Records and Reactions, 1856–1939 (London, 1939), 181.Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson, From Private to Field-Marshal (London, 1921), 138.Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    Ibid., 139. Victor Bonham-Carter, Soldier True. The Life and Times of Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson 1860–1933 (London, 1963), 61.Google Scholar
  15. D. S. McDiarmid, The Life of Lieut.-General Sir James Moncrieff Grierson (London, 1923), 212.Google Scholar
  16. 3.
    Barrère, ‘La chute de Delcassé’, Revue des Deux Monies, 1 Aug. 1932, 616.Google Scholar
  17. 3.
    Tyler Dennett, Roosevelt and the Russo-Japanese War (New York, 1925), 198–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Christopher Andrew 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Andrew
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUSA

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