Tangier Crisis

The Tangier Crisis, also called the First Moroccan Crisis, refers to the political turmoil caused by the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Tangier on March 31, 1905. He made certain remarks in favour of Moroccan independence, a challenge to the French control of Morocco. France had had her control of Morocco reaffirmed by Britain and Spain in 1904, a move which Germany saw as a blow to her interests and took diplomatic action to challenge. The German government sought a pan-European conference and Wilhelm II's provocation can be seen as a test of the strength of the Entente Cordiale.

The speech turned the French public against Germany and with British support the French premier, Émile Loubet, took a defiant line. The crisis peaked in mid-June, but by July Germany was becoming isolated and the French agreed to a conference over Algiers. Both France and German continued to posture up to the conference, Germany moblizing reserve army units in late December and France actually moving troops to the border in January 1907.

The conference was held in Algeciras, Spain from January 16, 1908. Of the thirteen nations present the German representatives found their only supporter was Austria. France had firm support from Britain, Russia and the US. The Germans eventually accepted an agreement in April that was signed on May 31, 1908 where France yielded certain domestic changes in Algeria but retained control of key areas.


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