The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History since 1815

By A. J. P. Taylor | Go to book overview

9

THE CRISIS OF HOHENZOLLERN GERMANY, 1906-16

Prussian domination in Germany and German predominance in Europe fell together in 1918; but this destruction of Bismarck's work was merely the open culmination of a process which had been in full swing for twelve years. 1906 marked the opening of the crisis in both home and foreign affairs: the authority of the Reich was challenged abroad, and the authority of the Chancellor was challenged at home. In 1905 the German government, estranged from both Russia and England, decided to seize the opportunity of Russia's defeat in the Far East and of her revolution at home in order to force France under German protection and so deprive both Russia and England of any foothold in western Europe. This was the meaning of the 'first Moroccan crisis', a crisis deliberately provoked by the German government and achieving the dismissal of the French Foreign Minister, Delcassé, at German orders. But thereafter the crisis did not develop according to German plans. Bülow had always reckoned to work with political opinion, but the Moroccan crisis had been devised by the Foreign Office without any propaganda preparation, 'cabinet diplomacy' possible in the days of Bismarck, but ineffective in the age of demagogy and mass agitation.

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