Colonel Charles Mangin greets the new French Resident General of Morocco, General Hubert Lyautey, at the gates of Marrakesh in 1912. Lyautey instructed Mangin to seize Marrakesh despite strict orders from Paris to the contrary.
The short-term causes of what became known as the 'Tangier crisis' resided in the equally ill-fated attempt on the part of von Bulow to isolate France diplomatically. France's major ally, Russia, was already engaged in a catastrophic war with Japan. If Germany supported Moroccan independence, the German chancellor calculated, Britain would back off from her alliance with France. It was a neat plan, but it contained at least one fallacy - it assumed that Britain would desert her new ally. This was unlikely. For the British, the Fashoda crisis followed by the Second South African War had demonstrated all too painfully how friendless Britain was in the world. The German naval laws of 1898 and ...read more