England and Germany, 1740-1914

By Bernadotte Everly Schmitt | Go to book overview
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ON 1 July, 1911, the German gunboat Panther cast anchor in the harbor of Agadir on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. This incident produced the most serious crisis In Anglo-German relations before the actual outbreak of war three years later, and very nearly provoked war at the time. To the world at large, and probably to the European governments, the news of the German action came as a bolt from the blue, although such precipitancy was endemic in German diplomacy; but events were to show that if the Wilhelmstrasse reckoned on presenting Europe with a fait accompli, it had, as usual, calculated badly, and that neither France nor England could be cajoled or threatened. In the reaction which followed the peaceful solution of the difficulty, England got the credit for blocking the designs of Germany, although the real blame belonged to the stupid procedure of the German foreign office. This in turn led to much searching of heart in England, and for a brief period a reconciliation seemed possible, only to be shattered by the Great War. Hence the importance of the crisis.

In the early summer of 1911 Anglo-German relations, if not cordial, had lost much of the animosity engendered by the Bosnian troubles of 1908 and the naval scare of 1909. The German Emperor had been well received when he attended the obsequies of his uncle Edward VII, and again on the occasion of the dedication of the national monument to Queen Victoria in May, 1911. On 13 March of the same year Sir Edward Grey had remarked upon the friendly


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