However, showing that no situation is irreversible, Paris and Berlin signed an economic agreement for partnership in Morocco in February 1909.
This text, which had scarcely any real consequences, was formed and made to scare Madrid, who believed in an exclusive Franco-Hispanic cooperation in this region.
The failure of a unilateral Spanish incursion around Melilla a few months later aggravated the general crisis surrounding Morocco. The secret regime of Moroccan agreements between Paris and Madrid was becoming to be fading.
Furthermore, when the French from occupied Casablanca had to intervene in Fez in April and May 1911 in order to save the sultan, threatened by an “umpteenth tribal revolt,” therefore, the Spanish authorities were persuaded that Paris was acting behind their back in accordance with Berlin.
Spain decided in early June 1911, without consulting France, to invade and occupy Larache and its interior on the Atlantic coast, south of Tangier.
German diplomacy ran to a conclusion that Paris and Madrid had established an alliance to divide the country between themselves and “false in terms of the operations coordination at the time.” German thus sent the gunboat Panther into the Agadir Bay on 1 July 1911.
The situation was one of extreme distrust. Each of the actors believed it was being deceived by the other with the third.
These assumptions were nothing more than mere wishful thinking. In the end, negotiations were established, since Paris was not prepared to enter a war.
Despite its repeated requests to the French, German and British governments, Spain, considered another partner, was shunned from the discussion in Berlin.
The atmosphere made war imminent in the media on both sides of the Vosges. Within the French government, there was even fear that a new dispute could be established in the Pyrenees.
This fear was not only felt in Berlin, but also in “internationalist and socialist circles, which was headed by Jean Jaurès (1859-1914).”
These circles increased the number of agitations against the excesses of a system that had been considered under control since Berlin 1885.
While “greedy imperialism” certainly dictated communally-chosen targets which did not guarantee harmony among the assailants.
The resolution of the crisis on 4 November 1911 not only placated the chancelleries and military staff, but also the media, the main mirror distorting concerned public opinion.
France and Spain were henceforth free to conduct their final agreements, since their previous secret negotiations which had been made public by the press in the face of the agreement signed in Berlin.
Thus, Italy had in the meantime attacked the territories of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, vassals of the Turkish Empire.
This anti-Ottoman situation of imminent defeat would instigate the small Balkan powers to follow suit the next year. This came after Paris and Madrid finished the division of “Morocco – Tangier excepted – in a treaty signed in Madrid on 27 November 1912.”
This followed rather harsh discussions that would impact issues such as “the policy of Spanish neutrality that was adopted in August 1914.”
This general atmosphere of dispute would weaken the “cautionary reflexes” of the major powers’ leaders severely.
More than the strategy of ententes, more than a single crisis (Morocco 1905-1906), the succession of crises (Bosnia 1908), Agadir, Libya (1911-1912) and Balkan Wars (1912-1913) explain this atmosphere, without rendering unavoidable the assassination of Sarajevo and its aftermath.
Article from Moroccan Crisis” published by Jean-Marc Delaunay, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3) on Encyclopedia. (URL: Encyclopedia)