Five

THE EULENBURG ROUNDTABLE

CHANCELLOR BERNHARD von Bülow, refulgent in his new princely dignity, had obtained what he and Friedrich von Holstein, counselor in the Foreign Office, had planned in Morocco. Théophile Delcassé, the French minister of foreign affairs, had been felled, and Premier Maurice Rouvier had soon thereafter agreed to a conference of all the powers, to be convened in January 1906 at Algeciras, a port city in southern Spain. This was an illusory victory, however, for if Rouvier lacked Delcassé's combativeness, he did not flinch from energetically defending France's interests. Furthermore, Germany could not count on much goodwill to be forthcoming at Algeciras, for many diplomats feared that the conference would raise issues already believed to be settled, provoke new differences, and in general create difficulties that could have been avoided had Germany not insisted on a conference but instead accepted Delcassé's, and then Rouvier's, invitation to enter into bilateral negotiations. 1

From the moment the conference opened, Germany's delegates found themselves isolated, and they were unable to overcome this disadvantage. Bülow's two plenipotentiaries, Joseph von Radowitz and Count Christian von Tattenbach, envoys respectively to Spain and Morocco, were particularly unsuitable for the work at hand. Radowitz was old and frail, and the brusque Tattenbach, long a strenuous advocate of an aggressive German policy in Morocco, was soon thoroughly at odds with his conference colleagues. Wilhelm II's unpopularity in almost every capital significantly increased Germany's diplomatic liability. Nowhere was he more mistrusted than in London, for the British, and particularly King Edward VII, were very annoyed at both the Kaiser and Bülow for what they saw as an attempt to sabotage the Entente Cordiale and to promote Germany's power in Europe. As the German ambassador, Count Paul von Wolff Metternich zur Gracht, warned, this attempt was grounds for war. 2 Wilhelm II was not unaware of this feeling in London, but he insisted that his uncle and the British government, rather than himself or Berlin, were responsible for

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