Third Millennium Library
THE DIPLOMACY OF THE GREAT WAR
the algeciras crisis
The European question raised by l'Entente Cordiale— this colonial agreement between England and France— was: Will the Germans give up their pretensions to overlordship without a struggle?
Anyone who thought they would was singularly ill-informed on the temper of the German people. If it was not for the exaggerations of their claims—as witnessed by the quotations in Chapter III,—it would be hard to deny that this agreement gave them cause for complaints. After all, why should anything happen in Europe without the Germans being consulted? Whether one likes or dislikes their ideals, there are eighty millions of them and Austria besides. They are not a negligible quantity. They naturally resent being ignored.
Their claim that they are the only people of true culture in Europe is puerile, but no one, unless the heat of the War has warped all the accustomed meanings of words, can deny that their contribution to the common work of civilization has been immense. Their claim to dictatorship cannot be admitted by any nation which loves freedom, but their right to at least an equal vote in the councils of Europe cannot be denied with any show of justice. They were not consulted over the fate of Egypt and Morocco.
Everyone who followed European politics was greatly relieved —and not a little surprised— at the attitude which official Germany took in the matter. At a session of the Reichstag—April 12, 1904—four days after the entente was published, the chancellor Herr von Bulow, speaking of this event, said: "We have, from the point of view of German interests, nothing to object to it. In this which concerns Morocco ... we have there above all else com- mercial interests. We ought to protect them and we will. Ve have no reason to fear that they will be ignored nor troubled."
The chancellor's speech was literally true. The material interests of Germany were not openly threatened. But he dodged the real issue— that of prestige. The German Newspapers pointed out this fact and the War Party— it is a poor term for a heterogeneous group of interests, like "Colonial Party" in France— made a good deal of noise, the 20th April the Pangermanic Society of Wurtemburg in its congress at Esslingen protested and a few days later he Union of Pangermanic Societies held their annual meeting at Lubeck and adopted a long resolution on the subject, the clause of greatest interest said they were profoundly wounded by the humiliation to Germany in not being consulted in so important a matter. In private conversations it was a commonplace to say that Bismarck would not have accepted the affront, and that the Kaiser's love of peace vas a treason to the German idea.
Very few people were optimistic enough to believe that he incident was closed.
It had become the custom in the diplomatic world to take the Kaiser's speeches as a sort of barometer of the political weather. And they certainly indicated a coming storm. At Karlsruhe (28th April), at Mayence (1st May) it Saarbruck (14th May) it sounded as if he was trying to reassure those of his subjects who charged him with being enslaved by peace. It was necessary to bury internal difference in order to be united in case Germany should be forced to intervene in world politics. The bridge which he inaugurated at Mayence was a work of peace but it tvas well to remember that it might have been a use in war. He bombastically recalled the victories of 1870. Germans were not looking for a quarrel, but woe to anyone who sought trouble with them, etc.
On the 31st March, 1905—almost exactly a year after the publication of the Anglo-French entente—the Kaiser's yacht Hohenzollern dropped anchor in the harbor of Tangier. He went ashore and made a speech to the representative of the Sultan—which like the famous shot at Lexington was heard around the world.
"It is to the Sultan, in his quality of an independent sovereign, that I make my visit today. I hope that under the sovereignty of the Sultan an independent Morocco will remain open to the peaceful competition of all nations, without monopoly, or annexation, on a footing of absolute equality. My visit to Tangier has had for its object to make known that I am decided to do my utmost to safeguard efficaciously the interests of Germany in Morocco. Since I consider the Sultan as an absolutely independent sovereign, it is with him that I wish to reach an understanding on the necessary means to protect these interests. As to the reforms which the Sultan is considering, it seems to me advisable to proceed with great caution, taking into consideration the religious sentiments of the population to the end that public order may not be disturbed."
There were three outstanding points in this short speech. (I) The Kaiser addressed the Sultan as an independent sovereign. A defiance to the French projects of a protectorate. (II) He said he intended to protect German interests in Morocco. The French by the ententes had freed themselves from Italian, English and Spanish rivalry, but I not that of Germany. (III) He advised the Sultan to go slow in introducing reforms in his realm. The French had submitted a long program of "reforms" which—none too gently—they were urging the Sultan to accept. The whole speech was an indirect but definite promise from the German government to back up the Sultan in resistance to French "action in Morocco."
When the report of this incident was printed, a few hours later, in the newspapers of Europe, everyone knew that the fat was in the fire. Germany was not going to submit to what seemed to her an affront. The struggle had commenced. It was the first of the series of European crises which have disturbed the world these recent years.
Why had it taken Germany a year to make up her mind to throw down the gauntlet? For the French the answer is simple and their explanation is plausible. In September, 1904, the Japanese gained their first big victory at Liao-Yang. In March, 1904, the Russians were definitely crushed at Mukden. For a good many years the French had felt that the only thing which protected them from a new German aggression had been their alliance with Russia. The last day of the month which saw the military power of the Tsar crushed, the Kaiser exploded his bomb at Tangier.
There is another—German—explanation of the abrupt change in the chancellor's attitude since he had assured the Reichstag that there was nothing for them to object to in the Anglo-French understanding. It is alleged that by means of an international "indiscretion" on the part of some members of the Spanish diplomatic corps the complete text of the secret agreements between France and England and Spain reached the German foreign office. There has always been a pro-German and therefore anti-French and English element among the ruling class of Spain, so this explanation also is plausible.
Although it was not until 1911 that any of the secret documents were published it is well to have them in mind at this time. In the "secret annex" to the Anglo-French entente the two governments, while reiterating their desire to maintain the status quo in Morocco, envisaged the possibility of a partition of the country. Great Britain did not ask for any share of the spoils, but insisted that her position of dominance over the Straits of Gibraltar should not be menaced in any way. She did not want to have a strong nation established on the African side of this important waterway, so she stipulated that when the Sultan of Morocco could no longer protect his country from foreign domination, all the northern part of his realm, the Mediterranean coast, should go to Spain, and that Spain should be pledged not to erect any fortifications which would threaten the British supremacy in the Straits. It was agreed that France should at once begin negotiations with Spain to get her to become a party to this accord.
M. Delcassé—3d October, 1904—published a statement that an entente had been reached with Spain. The text of the agreement was published by Le Matin in 1911 a few days before Le Temps published the secret annex to the Anglo-French entente. This Spanish treaty restated—a little more in detail—the arrangement on which Britain had insisted.
If Germany knew of these secret agreements for the partition of Morocco —at a time when the three contracting parties were solemnly proclaiming their desire to maintain the integrity of the Sultan's realm— it certainly gave the Germans a legitimate reason for intervening.
The probabilities are that both these matters influenced the German government. Knowledge of these secret treaties had almost surely reached them. This gave them a reason to act. The Russian defeat offered a favorable occasion. But the French and British public did not know of these secret treaties and of course felt that the German action was unjustified.
The Germans, having decided on action, did not content themselves with a mere speech of defiance. Their newspapers, evidently acting on an official tip, summed up the situation in this fashion: "We are a peace loving people. We do not want to go to war with France. But this M. Delcassé has misled the French people into a policy which displeases us. It is their move. They can choose between our friendship or the friendship of M. Delcassé. If they do not act reasonably their blood will be upon their own head."
To make sure that the French understood how they felt about it, they carried the newspaper war into the enemy's country. An ambiguous character, the Prince Haenkel von Donnersmarck, had lived in Paris for many years. He held no official position but was supposed to be on a "mission" comparable to that which brought Dr. Dernburg to the United States. Early in June he gave out interviews to the Paris papers, from one of which I give some characteristic quotations. "Is this policy (the entente) that of France, or must we consider it as being merely personal to Monsieur Delcassé? ... We are not concerned with M. Delcassé's person; but his policy is a threat to Germany; and you may rest assured that we shall not wait for it to be realized" ... "In a war against Germany, you may possibly be victorious, since in her most tragic crises France has always found extraordinary resources in herself; but, if you are vanquished—and my first hypothesis deprives my second of all offensive character—if you are vanquished, as you probably will be, it is in Paris that the peace will be signed." ... "Believe the word of a German, who has always had great sympathy for you. Give up this minister, whose only aspiration is to trouble the peace of Europe; and adopt with regard to Germany a loyal, and open policy."
It would have been hard to be more explicit. Germany was resolved on war or M. Delcassé's scalp.
When at last the archives of the various foreign offices are opened, the documents in regard to this affair will be of immense interest. What attitude did Great Britain take in this crisis? How did they interpret the phrase " diplomatic support?" Two serious French writers on international politics—André Tardieu and Ernest Lemonon— believe that the British government urged the Republic to stand firm—and this meant war. This is one of the crucial points of modern diplomatic history and it is veiled in secrecy.
At all events France decided not to fight. Her army was in a pitiful state. The Dreyfus affair had discredited the high command. The Dreyfusards, several of whom had had their heads broken for rioting to the cry of "A bas l'armée" had become ministers. Those in power were preoccupied with internal affairs—the great fight against clericalism. The various ministers of war had not dared to ask the Chambre for large military credits. The eastern fortifications had been neglected. Munitions, equipment, everything was lacking. And, as usual, the Germans were ready.
On the 6th of June, M. Delcassé's resignation was accepted. Nothing in modern history can be compared to this humiliation— one government forcing another under threat of war to sacrifice a minister.
The new generation, which had come into power in the Republic, had been rapidly forgetting 1870 and the idea of "revanche". France—not only the Socialists, but a comfortable majority of the voters, the existing ministry—was antimilitarist. But this Delcassé affair embittered the nation profoundly. A great many people who had hoped that, with the passage of time, the relations with Germany would ameliorate, gave up the hope and regretfully decided that France would have to fight or abdicate.
Delcassé, in a remarkably similar way, had repeated the blunders of Hanotaux. He had tried to run the foreign policy of his country single-handed. He had not consulted his colleagues in the ministry, nor had he taken them into his confidence. He had not even laid his secret treaty with Spain before the cabinet. He had been very reserved—in fact rather contemptuous—in his relations to the deputies of the nation in the Chambre. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that no one—not even the president of the Republic nor the premier—knew what he was doing.
And in this manner he had steered the ship of state to a place from which there were but two exits :—war or humiliation. If he had not foreseen this he was rather stupid. If he had foreseen it and had not taken the trouble to see if France was prepared for war—he deserved humiliation. But the humiliation fell on all the nation.
The Germans were not content with this reassertion of their prestige. The Kaiser gave von Bulow the title of Prince as a reward for his successful tilt with Delcassé, but success tempted them to new proofs of their power. They decided to give France a public spanking. They demanded a European conference to discuss the affairs of Morocco.
There was nothing the French Colonial Party wanted less. They did not want public attention, even in their own country, called to their manner of work in Morocco. They did not want to admit that this was a matter of European interest. They wanted to "localize" their dispute with Morocco—just as in 1878 Russia had wanted to treat single-handed with Turkey and as in 1914 Austria was to insist on "localizing" her affair with Servia.
By ententes with Italy, England, and Spain, France had been able to arrange things quietly. German interests in Morocco were admittedly small, but if the Kaiser insisted on making a noise about them it was much better to discuss the matter à deux.
The French made it clear that they would grant any reasonable demands which Germany would formulate in regard to Morocco in order to avoid a conference. But concessions in Morocco were only a part of what Germany wanted. We have the words of Prince von Bulow himself. An interview with the chancellor—which he had had the opportunity to correct—was published in Le Temps of Paris (5th Oct., 1905).
"There are," he said, "in the incidents of the last six months, which have given rise to the Moroccan affair, two distinct things to consider. Morocco is the first and general politics (the international relations of Europe) are the second. In Morocco we have important commercial interests. We had and we have a duty to protect them. In regard to general politics we have been obliged to reply to a policy which tended to isolate us, and which, with tins avowed intention, took on towards us a clearly hostile character. The Moroccan affair was the most recent and most characteristic manifestation of this policy; it was for us the necessary occasion to strike back."
The German government felt that this matter of amour propre—of prestige—had not been satisfied by the ignominious resignation of Delcassé. All the nations of Europe— and the United States—should be called together to witness the application of public punishment. The Kaiser rattled his sword. The conference or war.
The French government had had to give in in regard to Delcassé, it had to give in again and accept the conference. But under these repeated threats the attitude of the governing Radicals had changed completely. The Minister of War, instead of being ashamed to show himself in the Chambre, became a personage. The Deputies were ready to give him all the money he wanted. For the first time since 1870 France began seriously to prepare for war. It was not like the spread-eagle jingoism of the Boulanger episode. It was a quiet—grim—adult period in French politics. In the interval between the fall of Delcasse and the opening of the European conference in the little Spanish town of Algeciras immense military credits had been voted and spent.
If Germany had been seriously preoccupied over her "interests" in Morocco she would not have insisted on the conference. To avoid this public discussion, France had been willing to cede to Germany much more of the spoils than Germany could claim any "right" to—much more than she could hope to get from a European conference which would have, in principle, to treat all equally.
Whoever tries to write history must have an especial gratitude towards the Germans—they are so amazingly frank. The interview from von Bulow, quoted above, shows that in his mind the Moroccan affair was primarily a matter of Weltpolitik. The concrete commercial "interests" at stake were secondary. And other German utterances—too numerous to quote—show clearly that they had two more important but indirect objects in insisting on this conference. (I) The public humiliation of France and (II) the testing—and if possible the breaking of the entente cordiale. And . . . "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." They were signally defeated. The Germans themselves admit that they are poor diplomats and almost every time, since the passing of Bismarck, when they have risked their prestige, on the diplomatic "terrain" it has been diminished.
During the months which had preceded the conference French diplomats had been exceedingly and successfully busy in preparing their case and in enlisting the sympathy of the other nations. The Germans accused the French of planning to annex or at least to declare a protectorate over Morocco which meant quite the opposite from the open door. Judged by the French methods in Tunisia these suspicions were, justified. (And the events which have passed since give further justifications.) But the French denied any such intentions.
In the very first session of the conference (February, 1906) M. Regnault, the chief of the French delegation, took the fire out of the German guns by proposing that the basis of the discussion should be the reaffirmation of the sovereignty of the Sultan, the integrity of his realm, and the policy of the open door. It was clever, even if insincere diplomacy. Besides, the French delegates were courteous and they knew their subject. The German delegates were offensively brusque and —as the affairs of Morocco were for them of only secondary interest— they were ignorant of the highly technical questions which came up.
The first vote —it was only a detail, a question of procedure— was the test. Of the thirteen nations represented, nine voted with the French and only Austria and Morocco voted with Germany. All the little states, instead of obediently doing as the Kaiser told them, showed signs of an heretical independence. Even the ally, Italy, voted against Germany: The jury of Europe instead of condemning France for her independent attitude, by a vote of 10 to 3 blamed Germany. Evidently Bismarck was dead.
Germany also hoped by this conference to break the accord between England and France. Before the delegates had begun work (3d Feb., 1906) the Count von Tattenbach, one of the German delegates, approached Sir Arthur Nicholson, the chief of the British mission, and urged him to abandon France and join the Germans in "saving" Morocco. His argument took this form: The bare fact that a European conference has assembled to regulate the fate of Morocco wiped off the slate all merely private agreements between two Powers; England had already reaped all the gain she could expect from the entente, France had withdrawn from Egypt; Germany was ready to recognize English rights there; the conference gave a technical excuse to declare the entente dead. If the British deserted France at this moment they and the Germans could divide up North Africa at their leisure. But to the great chagrin of the German diplomats, Albion refused to be perfidious.
Sir Arthur Nicholson's instructions were very simple. At the opening of the conference and whenever the German newspapers spread the rumor that England was about to desert France—it happened more than once—the government at London let it be known that the only instruction given to their mission at Algeciras was to act in accojpiwith the French delegates under every condition and in all circumstances.
In so far as the Germans insisted on the conference in order to test the strength and meaning of l'entente cordiale, they secured the information they sought. This Anglo-French agreement was more than a simple colonial deal, it was more than a compact the one to the other, it also united them in European politics against Germany. Whether or not they were pledged to give each other military help was still unknown, but England was evidently prepared to live up literally and loyally to the phrase "diplomatic support."
All that Germany had gained was the personal overthrow of M. Delcassé. His policy— the ententes with Italy, England and Spain—was greatly strengthened by the Conference of Algeciras.
Those who were opposed to the domination of the Deutschtum were greatly heartened. There had been successful, open resistance. The prestige of Germany, especially in the secondary states, was lessened. It is probable that the trend of Belgium away from Germany and towards friendship with France and England dated from that vote of 10 to 3 at Algeciras.
But a more tangible symptom of the new state of things in Europe was given—by the international comedy of the Spanish marriage. For a long time European princes had been in the habit of marrying German princesses. Young Alphonso had been feted from one end of the Empire to the other, he had passed in review the Royal Gretchens of all the courts of the Deutschland. And when he returned to Madrid and wrote his bread-and-butter letters of thanks for all their lavish hospitality he announced his engagement to a niece of King Edward. A Prince of the House of Hapsburg preferred an English girl! German women are among the things listed as "uber alles" in the famous song. Not long afterwards a Norwegian prince followed the example of Alphonso and chose an English bride. German prestige was falling.
The Conference of Algeciras—although everyone politely said that "no one was victor, no one vanquished"—was a very real diplomatic defeat for Germany. France had not been condemned by Europe. The entente was stronger than ever. And for almost the first time in history, English and Russian diplomats 'had worked together in a European assembly.
Official Germany made the best of a bad job, and claimed victory. It had been demonstrated that England and France could not divide up the map without consulting Germany. The conference was the German reply to their effort to ignore her and run the world to suit themselves. They had not wanted the conference but had had to accept it. And Germany had forced from France a pledge to respect the independence of the Sultan and the principle of economic equality—the open door.
The first claim was true. France had come reluctantly to Algeciras. But it could hardly be called a diplomatic victory. France had accepted the conference under the direct menace of war. In this department Germany was undoubtedly strong.
But the second of these official claims was pure falsification. France had promised repeatedly before to respect the sovereignty of the Sultan and the equal rights of all commerce. It was not necessary to set all Europe upside down to get that pledge repeated. The Germans—with considerable justification—had doubted the sincerity of this promise. Its renewal at Algeciras under threat of war was not any better. The German diplomats did not get anything in the way of commercial concession in Morocco at the conference which they could not have secured by direct negotiation à deux.There is every probability that they would have received much more: by the less noisy method.
In spite of the chants of victory from the government very few Germans were fooled. Forcing France to sacrifice her Minister of Foreign Affairs, dragging her against her will to the conference had been good. But something had gone wrong at Algeciras. The result had been bitterness and humiliation.
The conference had been a victory for France. Her gains were great and manifest. The Republic had not held so favorable a position in Europe since the Terrible Year of 1870. After endless humiliations, she had been able to enter the arena against her old conqueror and win. Powerful friends had rallied beside her loyally. The little countries of Europe had lost their awe of Germany. Every Frenchman was proud of the result.
But it was not an undiluted victory. There was a fly in the ointment. For all this new feeling of dignity—of being once more one of the Great Powers—France had to pay by pledging her word to Europe. And these promises, if they did not seem onerous to the mass of the nation, who—I repeat—cared as little about Morocco as we do about Nicaragua, were decidedly distasteful to the various elements of France who may roughly be called "the Colonial Party."
The question of whether or not France was sincere in signing l'acte d'Algesiras, cannot be answered simply. Some of the French were sincere about it, some were not. M. Tardieu in his book "La Conference d'Algesiras" (the best on the subject) takes the attitude that France had never intended to "Tunisify" Morocco, really hoped to maintain the sovereignty of the Sultan, did not seek any special commercial nor financial advantage. And while he—and many other people at home—may have been surprised by "the course of events" which later led to the establishment of the protectorate, a great many Frenchmen—especially those on the scene in Algeria and Morocco—were not surprised.
They believed that France had a "manifest destiny" in Morocco, that a promise made under duress was not binding. They treated with open scorn this "scrap of paper" and went on blithely, as they had been doing in the past, undermining the authority of the Sultan, fostering the kind of disturbance which would give a pretext for armed intervention and by all sorts of discreditable tricks trying to drive out their commercial rivals. And the "Colonial Party" at home, grouped about le Comité Marocain, encouraged them by maintaining a powerful "lobby" in the corridors of the Chamber of Deputies, and by carrying on a very clever and thorough-going campaign of misrepresentation in all the "venal" press.
The central government at least tolerated the conspiracy by which if was being forced to tear up its solemn promise. I have chanced to read some of the reports of our consular force in Morocco. It is hardly conceivable that our government did not bring these complaints to the attention of the French government. Certainly the Germans knew what was going on—their commerce fared worse than ours—and it is impossible to the point of absurdity to believe that they did not protest: the French government knew that it was not loyally observing its promises.
The history of colonial enterprise is seldom fit reading for children. Christendom has spread its civilization to the four corners of the world by devious and shameful means. We are not proud of the way we despoiled and killed off the Indians. Very few European nations can find much to be proud of in their colonial records. And France certainly has weakened her claim to be the Apostle of Light, the Defender of the Rights of Man by her record in Morocco. Murder, rapine, broken promises, the fanning of old vices among the natives, the introducing of new ones, intrigue and bribery were among the means used to overthrow the independence of Morocco. Women—poor wrecks of the Paris gutters—have been taken to Morocco and "married" to native chiefs to act as spies. It is a sorry story and all one can say in the way of extenuation is that there are so many others every bit as bad or worse.
It is necessary to stop the narrative a moment and philosophize a bit on the nature —the as yet imperfected nature— of democratic political institutions. Nothing is more clearly established than the fact that the French nation as politically organized, took the promises of Algeciras seriously and wanted to live up to them. A least once a year the Moroccan question came up for attention before the French Parliament. Every time a large majority of the Deputies rallied to a resolution in which the government was specifically instructed to keep its agreement. In 1908 such a resolution was passed at least four times— 24th January, 28th January, 19th June and 23d December. During all these years any minister who had even hinted to the Chamber that the Algeciras treaty should be torn up would at once have been hissed out of office. The people of France did not have their heart in the Moroccan adventure.
That was just the trouble—they were too much interested in internal problems to really worry over what was being done in their name in Africa.
This is the crux of the problem—as yet unsolved—of how to develop a democratic diplomacy. The tradition of secrecy is bad. It breeds suspicion and encourages aggression. It is essentially aristocratic. But the real difficulty lies deeper. It is that the democracy tends to be self-centered, absorbed in domestic problems, indifferent to foreign affairs.
The Algeciras crisis gave a striking example of how this general truth of politics applies to us in the United States. We are accustomed to congratulate ourselves on our freedom from the evils of "secret diplomacy". None of us knew at the time how important a role our government was playing in this crisis. But some of the diplomatic conferences which went on in the White House—and on the tennis court behind it—were quite as important as those held in the little town hall of Algeciras, or in the porches of the Hotel Reina Cristina.
Our government has not even published a special "White Paper" on the subject: but it was the most important departure made from our "traditional policy" of nonintervention in European politics which has happened in recent years. And it is idle to turn to the publications of our government to discover what part we played. In the Congressional Record there is nothing about the Algeciras crisis beyond a bare account of Senator Bacon's vain attempt to get information on the subject laid before the Senate. In the State Department's publication on foreign relations there is very little more. It is necessary to turn to a French book—André Tardieu's "La Conference d'Algesiras"—to get an inkling of what our diplomacy was about. In his index there are more references under Mr. Roosevelt's name than under Sir Edward Grey's—almost as many as under Delcasse. Our delegate, Mr. White, in every instance, voted on the French side.
One result of the conference was to greatly strengthen the War Party in Germany. Those who really believed in the sacred mission of their race, those who put the ideal of the Deutschtum above mere peace, felt and loudly said that a grave mistake had been made in allowing the contest to take place in the field of diplomacy, where they were manifestly weak. There is little doubt that future German historians will blame the Kaiser for not having drawn the sword at this time.
If, for a moment, we grant the official German doctrine that they are called of God to spread the reign of the Deutschtum —this beneficent ideal of freedom in the realm of the spirit, and discipline and duty in the world of matter, this "system" of ordered and rganized progress— it was a fatal mistake to keep the peace at the epoch of Algeciras.
The Kaiser, again and again, had professed this doctrine. At many times—although he apparently preferred to succeed in his mission by peaceful means—he had clearly told his people that they must be ready for war. Here was his chance.
Russia —France's one ally— was
practically eliminated as a military power. The revolution was paralyzing what
the Japanese had left of her army! And Russian public opinion had not then turned against Germany. The entente between France and England was still
the diplomats thought about it, the people of the two nations were not ready for military cooperation. The idea of going to war to help France over a Morocco squabble would have been most unpopular in England. Great Britain might have—probably would have—come in, if Germany had attacked France. But there had been none of the moral preparation which lent great strength to their united action in 1914.
And in 1906 the breach between Italy and Austria had not become acute. The Franco-Italian entente had not developed the strength it has shown since. Even if she had not joined in an attack on France—as she was pledged not to do—she would probably have remained neutral.
And in 1906 the breach between Italy and Austria had not become acute. The Franco-Italian entente had not developed the strength it has shown since. Even if she had not joined in an attack on France—as she was pledged not to do—she would probably have remained neutral.
And Turkey, then, as now, under German influence, had not been weakened by revolution and the defeats of the Balkan War.
Never again would there arise so favorable an opportunity for the German crusade. The Kaiser missed it.