Sidney Bradshaw Fay : The Origins of the World War



THE Franco-Russian Entente of 1891, which ripened into the Alliance of 1894, was the natural result of the suspicions, the feeling of isolation, and the irritation against Germany which existed in both countries.  A rapprochement between them, in spite of the fundamental contrast between the republican and absolutist forms of government at Paris and St. Petersburg, was the obvious counterbalance to the Triple Alliance.

Notwithstanding Bismarck’s generous promises to Russia in the Alliance of the Three Emperors and the Reinsurance Treaty, Alexander III had been greatly irritated at the election of Ferdinand of Coburg as Prince of Bulgaria.  Ferdinand had hesitated to accept the Bulgarian throne, or at least had pretended to hesitate, but had been secretly persuaded into final acceptance, so the Tsar believed, by a treacherous intrigue on Bismarck’s part.  Though Bismarck had alleged openly that Germany was not interested in Bulgaria and that Russia might have a free hand to do as she pleased there, the German Ambassador at Vienna was supposed to have written a letter to Ferdinand secretly assuring hint of Germany’s support against Russia in case he accepted the throne of Bulgaria.  The letter came into French hands and was conveyed by the French to the Tsar.  Though Bismarck assured the Tsar later that the letter was a forgery, there is no doubt that for a time Alexander III shared some of the French feeling of bitterness toward Bismarck.(1)  He could not reconcile Bismarck’s assurances of disinterestedness in Constantinople and the Balkans with the despatch of German officers to drill the Turkish army and with the enthusiastic reception at the German maneuvers given to the Turkish general, Muktar Pasha.  Like the French, he was suspicious and irritated at the publicly announced renewal of the Triple Alliance in 1887.  As its terms were secret, he not unnaturally suspected that it might contain offensive designs on the part of Austria and Italy detrimental to Russia’s ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Soon after the renewal of the Triple Alliance, Crispi, who had become Italian Premier in July, 1887, had ostentatiously visited Vienna, and then gone on to confer with Bismarck at Friedrichsruh.  On his return journey he informed the Frankfurter Zeitung that Italy wished well to Bulgaria, but “there can be no doubt that Italy, like every other European state, has every reason to fear Russia’s advances to Constantinople.  We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a Russian lake.”(2)

To all these grievances was added another.  In the summer of 1887, Russia suddenly found that the ruble was falling in value and that there seemed to be a systematic campaign in Berlin against Russian securities.  This was partly due to a ukase in May which naturally shook German faith in Russian credit:  it forbade the acquisition or inheritance of landed property by foreigners in Western Russia, or their employment as managers of estates.  As Germans owned much land in Russia and were largely employed in the management of estates, the ukase looked like an unjustifiable expropriation of property.  This not unnaturally led to a German newspaper campaign against Russian credit.  Though Bismarck may not have inspired these newspaper attacks, he at least looked upon them with approval as tending to make the Russians realize how dependent they were upon German good-will.(3)

The Russians, however, suspected that Bismarck had inspired this press campaign and were therefore the more ready to yield to the Pan-Slav desire that Russia should borrow in Paris.  France at the moment was looking for a field of investment, because commercial conflict with Italy had shut off the Italian market for French capital.(4)  A group of French bankers was formed at Paris and began negotiations for a series of Russian loans to be floated in France.  The first, amounting to 500,000,000 francs, was at last approved by the Governments on both sides and the bonds were listed on the Paris Bourse in December, 1888.  Naturally Germany looked askance at this proceeding, which might have eventual political significance.  German newspapers did their best to scare off buyers;  but the loan proved a huge success.  Though the sum was a relatively large one for those days, the 4% bonds issued at 86.45 offered attractive returns and were at once largely oversubscribed.  The Russians were encouraged the next year to contract two more loans, one for 700,000,000, and the other for 1,200,000,000 francs.  Both met with equal success.  Thus France set out on the financial path which led further than she foresaw at the moment, and which inevitably made thousands of her citizens interested financially and politically in Russia’s ambitions.  Occasionally saner minds in France took alarm, and the loans did not succeed so well, but for the most part Frenchmen were ready to give up an apparently unlimited amount of savings to invest at good profits in a country which might become an ally against the common enemy, and which might one day assist in the revanche which so many Frenchmen had in their hearts.(5)

On the financial ground thus prepared the next step was for France to supply Russia with guns.  The Grand Duke Vladimir, Alexander III’s brother, on a visit to Paris, was initiated into the reorganization of the army which Freycinet had been carrying out.  He was greatly impressed with the new Lebel rifle.  Upon request he was given a model of it.  Negotiations followed, and ultimately a contract was arranged by which France was to manufacture for Russia half a million rifles similar to the Lebel weapon.(6)

Neither William II nor his Foreign Office advisers supposed that “dropping the Pilot” and abandoning the Reinsurance Treaty would be followed by a Franco-Russian Alliance.  But to lessen such a possibility, the Kaiser, with exaggerated views of his own personal influence in diplomacy, proceeded to return to the conciliatory policy toward France which Bismarck had pursued during and after the Congress of Berlin.  He attempted to win French good-will by innumerable well-intentioned courtesies, by telegrams of congratulation and condolence, by recognizing the French protectorate over Madagascar, and by diplomatic support in other colonial questions where no German interests were involved.  He showed special courtesy to Jules Simon, the head of the French delegation at the Working Men’s Conference in Berlin.  He invited French artists to participate in a German art exhibition—an invitation which was at first accepted but later refused on account of an outcry in the French Press.  He arranged for a visit of his mother, the Empress Frederick, to Paris.  But this eventually led to such a hostile demonstration that a serious scandal was narrowly averted by the energy of the French Government and by her departure from Paris on an earlier train than had been intended.(7)  It contributed to a new chauvinist outburst and a renewed desire for closer relations with Russia.(8)

With Russia also the Kaiser sought to remain on the old friendly terms.  He was profuse in assurances that German policy should suffer no change as a result of Bismarck’s dismissal.  In August, 1890, he visited the Tsar at Narva and relations seemed cordial between the monarchs as well as between Caprivi and Giers, though the latter failed in his further attempt to get some kind of a written agreement which should replace the Re-insurance Treaty.  But in fact the Russians were becoming suspicious that Germany was drag closer to England.  The Treaty of June 14, 1890, by which Germany had given up claims to a great strip of African territory near Zanzibar in return for Heligoland, seemed to point in this direction.(9)  If Lord Salisbury had given away a suit of clothes in exchange for a suspender button, as Henry M. Stanley sarcastically described this transaction, there must be a reason, so the Russians argued to themselves.  The London Morning Post announced that “the period of England’s isolation is over.”  The Kaiser’s visit to England in the summer of 1890 seemed a further sign of the way the wind was blowing.  His allusion to the Triple Alliance at the opening of the Reichstag May 6, 1890, even though he spoke of it as a guarantee of universal peace, and his new Army Law increasing the German forces by some 18,000 men, were no less disturbing to the Russians than to the French.(10)


Such was the situation which at last led the Russians to listen seriously to French feelers for closer relations.  In view of the form ultimately given to the Franco-Russian Alliance and later to the Anglo-French military and naval arrangements, it is interesting to note that these first definite negotiations were carried on by the French and Russian military authorities and not by the regular diplomatic representatives.  General Boisdeffre, who attended the Russian maneuvers for a fortnight in 1890, talked almost daily with the Russian Minister of War and with Obruchev, the Russian Chief of Staff.  The latter had married a French wife and had long been an eager advocate of a Franco-Russian Alliance.  Boisdeffre and the Russian generals quickly came to an agreement on the principle that “the two armies would have to act simultaneously in case of an attack from which they both had to fear the consequences.”(11) This was a first step toward an Entente Cordiale which, though no written agreements had as yet been signed, was soon regarded by the Russian Ambassador at Paris as being “as solid as granite.”(12)  It had been solidified by the Empress Frederick incident and by the growing Franco-Russian suspicion that England was adhering to the Triple Alliance to thwart Russian ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  It was just at this time that the Triple Alliance was renewed, in spite of the efforts of the French to detach Italy and the hopes of both French and Russians that Bismarck’s dismissal might cause it to weaken and lapse.  It had not, however, been renewed without difficulty, owing to Italy’s demands for promises of greater support in the maintenance of the status quo in North Africa.  Austria and Germany had been forced to yield to some extent to Italy’s wishes and even to agree to exert themselves to secure England’s adhesion to this new stipulation.(13)

The fact that the Triple Alliance had been renewed was published to the world by the Italian Premier, Rudini, in a speech on June 29, 1891.  At the same time he also took occasion to refer to Italy’s existing agreements with England in such a way as to strengthen Franco-Russian suspicions that England had in some way joined the Triple Alliance.  Such a quadruple coalition, even though ostensibly aiming merely at the preservation of the status quo, was most annoying to the Russians who wanted to open the Dardanelles, and to the French who had not completed the development of their African colonial empire in the Western Mediterranean.

A few weeks later the French fleet under Admiral Gervais accepted the Tsar’s invitation to visit Kronstadt.  In addition to their suspicions of the Triple Alliance, Alexander III and Giers had been alarmed by the stiff attitude which the French had adopted in regard to a dispute between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox clergy concerning the use of a door in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem.(14)  They realized also the importance of making sure of French friendship if they were to be successful in borrowing more money at Paris.(15)  The Kronstadt visit was made the occasion, especially by the French, for an extraordinary demonstration of Franco-Russian solidarity.  It was to appear to the world as a counter-stroke to the renewal of the Triple Alliance.  The Tsar and Tsarina came aboard the French flagship, talked to the sailors, showed a thousand acts of politeness to Admiral Gervais and his officers, and invited them to Peterhof.  Hitherto, in absolutist Russia, the playing of the Marseillaise had been strictly forbidden, not only in public places, but even on a piano which might be heard on the street.  But now the prohibition was relaxed—only to be re-imposed again after the departure of the French fleet—and the news was trumpeted abroad that the Autocrat of All the Russias had stood bareheaded while the bands played the marching song of the Sans-culottes of 1793.(16)  It was, however, a stirring moment.  “Those of us who reached manhood in 1890,” writes President Poincaré twenty years later, “cannot, even today, recall without emotion the prodigious effect produced at that time in France by the demonstration of friendliness by Emperor Alexander III.  It was for Republicans not only a recognition of the Republic by a government whose traditions and form were furthest removed from us and our institutions;  it was for France herself the end of a prolonged isolation and the outward sign of her revival.”(17)

The Kronstadt demonstration was received in France with incredible joy and enthusiasm.  The man in the street believed that an alliance was already assured, that the long period of isolation was now past, and that France could now dare to take a stiffer tone toward Germany.  It created a new Boulangism without Boulanger.  But the French Ministry knew that the enthusiasm of the Paris populace was premature.  They knew that it takes two to make an alliance or even an entente, and that the ceremonial courtesies of Kronstadt still fell far short of a signed and binding agreement.  They therefore hastened to propose an alliance:  the two governments should agree to consult with one another in case of any danger, and to mobilize simultaneously the moment any one of the Triple Powers should mobilize;  the conditions of their simultaneous mobilization could be worked out by an understanding to be reached by the Russian and French General Staffs.(18)

But Giers, fearful that the French might have aggressive designs for recovering Alsace-Lorraine, wished to make the agreement vague and to extend its application beyond Europe to such places as Africa and China where peace might be threatened.  It was only after several weeks that the French were able to secure a written accord in the following form :

“1.  In order to define and consecrate the cordial understanding [Entente Cordiale] which unites them, and in their desire to contribute with one accord to the maintenance of peace, which is the object of their sincerest wishes, the two Governments declare that they will confer on every question of a nature to threaten the general peace.

“2.  In case this peace should actually be in danger,, and especially in, case, one of the two parties, should, be threatened by aggression, the two parties agree to come to an understanding on the measures which the realization of that eventuality would make it necessary for both Governments to adopt immediately and simultaneously.”(19)

The rather vague and very limited character of this agreement merely obligating the two Governments to take counsel with one another in case of danger, betrayed the divergence of views which still separated Paris and St. Petersburg.  France, in constant dread of an attack from across the Rhine and with the secret hope of some day recovering the lost provinces, thought mainly of war with Germany.  She did not at this time greatly desire Russian support in North Africa or China, because, as later events showed, she could always come to a compromise agreement with Italy and England in these regions.  Nor did the French wish the Russians to open the Dardanelles and control Constantinople.  Giers, on the other hand, felt no great hostility to Germany.  He and Alexander III were still anxious to maintain the traditional friendship between the two countries.  They did not want an alliance directed primarily against the Hohenzollerns and dreaded being drawn into a war against Germany in support of French revanche.  For Russia the main enemy was England, who blocked the Russian colossus both at the Straits and in the Middle East.  But France naturally had no desire to pull these distant chestnuts out of the fire to please her new Russian friends.

Owing, to this divergence of interests, as well as to the sickness of Giers and the Tsar’s persistent distrust of the French, it was many months before the French were able to give the Entente a more binding and practical form.  Upon Giers’ visit to Paris in November, 1891, Ribot pointed out to him the danger that Germany might make a sudden surprise attack, which would find Russia and France unprepared.  They would not have time to take adequate measures of defense before an irrevocable disaster might overwhelm them, so long as they merely “agreed to come to an understanding.”  It would be far more valuable and practical to come to an understanding beforehand, in time of peace, as to all the military arrangements which should come into force instantly in case of sudden war.  The Entente ought to be supplemented by a Military Convention providing that, in case of a sudden German aggression, Russia and France would instantly mobilize their whole forces and use them to secure the maximum mutual advantage in accordance with plans which would have been already agreed upon.  Giers not enthusiastic, consented to lay the idea before the Tsar.(20)  Accordingly General Miribel worked out the basis for such a Military Convention.  He estimated in detail the total Triple Alliance forces (even including the Rumanian) at only 2,810,000 men as against 3,150,000 for the Franco-Russian coalition.  France would throw five-sixths of her forces against Germany.  Russia was likewise urged to concentrate her attack upon Germany rather than upon Austria:

“The essential thing is to aim at the destruction of the principal enemy.  The defeat of the others will follow inevitably.  In a word, once Germany is vanquished, the Franco-Russian armies will impose their wills on Italy and Austria.”(21)

General Miribel’s draft project, after some modifications to meet the Russian desires, and after long delays caused by the sickness of Giers and the journeys of the Tsar, finally took form as the “Draft of a Military Convention.”  It was signed by the French and Russian Chiefs of Staff, Boisdeffre and Obruchev, and approved in principle by the Tsar on August 17, 1892.  But it was not signed by the Ambassador or Foreign Minister of either country, and therefore could not yet be regarded as having binding force.  There were two serious political difficulties in the way.  The Tsar was very anxious that absolute secrecy should be preserved, and that the document should be known only to the President and Prime Minister of France.  “I fear,” he said, “that if they discuss it in the Cabinet, it will have the fatal result of becoming public, and then, as far as I am concerned, the treaty is nullified.”(22)  Another difficulty was the fact that the French Constitution did not permit the President of the Republic to make secret treaties.  There was recognized at the very beginning of the negotiations, the “defect of our [French] constitution, which, through fear lest the Executive shall be too strong, has deprived the Head of the State of the essential prerogative of concluding treaties, and consequently deprived our foreign policy of the advantages of secrecy.”(23)  These two difficulties, as well as the essential divergence of interests noted above, caused a further delay of a year and a half.

Meanwhile, certain events took place which tended to lessen the Tsar’s scruples and his distrust of France, and to increase his readiness to accept at last a binding agreement.  A new German Army Law of 1892 increased the German forces by 60,000 men but reduced the term of service in the infantry from three to two years.  No settlement had been reached in regard to a Russo-German commercial treaty and a tariff war was being waged between the two countries.(24)  The Siam crisis of July, 1893, which brought France and England closer to war than was realized at the time, showed that the French were ready to take a stiff tone toward England, even in Asia, in a way which Russia liked to see, especially as England seemed to be drawing closer to the Triple Alliance.  As a result, Alexander III consented to return the Kronstadt compliments by having the Russian Navy visit Toulon in October, 1893.  The Russian officers and men were feted with extraordinary enthusiasm by the French both at Toulon and Paris.  But the Paris Press, at a wise hint from the French Government, refrained from chauvinistic editorials and implications that a Russian alliance would aid in regaining Alsace-Lorraine.  The Tsar was favorably impressed with the moderation and strength of the French Government.  He accordingly gave his approval to an exchange of official diplomatic notes which was completed on January 4, 1894, and gave binding effect to the Military Convention of August 17, 1892.(25)

As neither the exchange of notes nor the Military Convention signed only by military officers was a formal treaty, neither had to be submitted to the French Parliament for ratification.  The terms of the Military Convention, known only to the supreme military officials, did not even have to be divulged to Cabinets which rose and fell so rapidly in France.  The text of the Military Convention was kept in an envelope bearing an annotation in President Faure’s hand:  “The Military Convention is accepted by the letter of M. de Giers giving to the Convention the force of a treaty.”  M. Viviani carried it under his arm to the Chamber of Deputies when he mounted the tribune to ask for war credits on August 4, 1914.  He was prepared to read it if it should be asked for.  But as no one demanded it, he prudently kept it in his portfolio.(26)  It was never made public until published in a French Yellow Book in 1918.  Thus the two difficulties in regard to secrecy and French constitutional requirements were effectively met.

The Military Convention which was given the force of a treaty on January 4, 1894, and thus became the basis of the very secret Franco-Russian Alliance is so short, simple, and clear that it may be quoted in full :

“France and Russia, animated by a common desire to preserve the peace, and having no other aim than to prepare for the necessities of a defensive war, provoked against either of them by an attack by the e forces of the Triple Alliance, have agreed upon the following provisions :

“1.  If France is attacked by Germany, or by Italy supported by, Germany, Russia shall employ all her available forces to fight Germany.

“If Russia is attacked by Germany, or by Austria supported by Germany, France shall employ all her available forces to fight Germany.

“2.  In case the forces of the Triple Alliance or of one of the Powers which compose it should be mobilized, France and Russia, at the first indication of the event, and without a previous agreement being necessary, shall mobilize all their forces immediately and simultaneously, and shall transport them as near to the frontiers a possible.

“3.  The forces available which must be employed against Germany shall be for France, 1,300,000 men;  for Russia, from 700,000 to 800,000 men.  These forces shall begin complete action with all speed, so that Germany will have to fight at the same time in the east and in the west.

“4.  The Staffs of the armies of the two countries shall constantly plan in concert in order to prepare for and facilitate the execution of the above measures.  They shall communicate to each other in time of peace all the information regarding the armies of the Triple Alliance which is in or shall come into their possession.  The ways and means of corresponding in time of war shall be studied and arranged in advance.

“5.  France and Russia shall not conclude peace separately.

“6.  The present Convention shall have the same duration as the Triple Alliance.

“7.  All the clauses enumerated above shall be kept absolutely secret.”(27)

The Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, like the Austro-German Alliance of 1879 and the Triple Alliance of 1882, was in its origin essentially defensive in purpose.  This is clear from the preamble to the Treaty itself and from the full account which we now have of the negotiations by which it was concluded.(28)  There was originally no intention among responsible authorities of either party that the Alliance should be used for an aggression against Germany or any other Power, or that it should be employed to support dangerous and ambitious policies which might involve a conflict with any of the Triple Alliance Powers or with England.  Whatever may have been the hopes inspired by the Alliance in the hearts of Pan-Slavs for realizing Russia’s “historic mission” in the Balkans and the Far East, or in French chauvinists for the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine and the extension of French colonial power, the responsible Russian and French Ministers knew better.  The French Cabinet did not count upon Russian armed support at Fashoda or in Morocco, nor the Russians upon that of France in the Far East or the Balkans.  It was not until much later, in the days of Delcassé, Izvolski, and Poincaré, that the Franco-Russian Alliance was essentially changed in spirit from a defensive to a potentially offensive combination.

To be sure, the Alliance embodied from the outset the militarist doctrine, prevalent  since the Napoleonic Wars, that the best military defensive is to wage offensive war.  Mobilization by Germany was to be followed by the instant mobilization of the French and Russian armies.  Mobilization was expressly understood as being equivalent to war—to the actual opening of hostilities.  In the negotiations for the Military Convention in July, 1892,

“General Obruchev emphasized finally the necessity of the immediate and simultaneous mobilization of the Russian and French armies at the first news received by either of the two countries of a mobilization of the forces of the Triple Alliance.  He understands further that this mobilization of France and Russia would be followed immediately by positive results, by acts of war, in a word would be inseparable from an ‘aggression.’ ”(29)

Similarly, General Boisdeffre, in talking with the Tsar the day after the Military Convention had been approved, remarked:

“The mobilization is the declaration of war.  To mobilize is to oblige one’s neighbor to do the same.  Mobilization involves the carrying out of strategic transportation and concentration.  Otherwise, to leave a million men on one’s frontier, without doing the same simultaneously, is to deprive oneself of all possibility of moving later;  it is placing oneself in the situation of an individual who, with a pistol in his pocket, should let his neighbor put a weapon to his forehead without drawing his own.”  [To which Alexander III replied], “That is exactly the way I understand it.”(30)

This “offensive-defensive” character of the Alliance is further seen in the technical arrangements which were worked out annually later in great detail by the French and Russian General Staffs.(31)  On the generally accepted principle that the best form of defensive warfare is to take the offensive against the main enemy force, the French and Russian Staffs were “perfectly in accord on the point that the defeat of the German armies continues to be, whatever the circumstances, the first and principal objective of the allied armies.  This is all the more so now [1913] than formerly, in view of the considerable increase of the relative military strength of Germany in the Triple Alliance.”(32)

Though the Franco-Russian Alliance aimed primarily at crushing Germany in case the latter should attempt an aggression;  it did not at first arouse serious suspicions or antagonism, beyond the Rhine.  This was partly because its existence was kept so secret that for months after its establishment the German Ambassador in Paris optimistically refused to believe in its existence.(33)  Even after the open references to the “Alliance,” in speeches in the French chamber in 1895, or during the visits of Nicholas II to Paris in 1896 and of President Faure to Russia in 1897, Germany was not alarmed, because she felt that the Triple Alliance was still equal in strength to the new combination.  She also believed that England, holding the Balance of Power, would never join with such long-standing opponents as France or Russia.  The existence of the Franco-Russian Alliance inspired, however, a new respect in Germany for her two neighbors, and made her more ready to seek to cooperate with them on innumerable international questions.  In this sense the Franco-Russian Alliance at first tended to secure the peace of Europe;  also in the sense of the proverb that “one sword holds another in its sheath.”

The new Alliance served well its purpose of relieving France and Russia from their isolation.  It enabled France to take a stiffer tone toward England, but it did not yet constitute a combination which was strong enough, or which desired, to measure arms with the Triple Alliance.  The situation continued for some ten years.  Between the putting into force of the Alliance in 1894 and the establishment of the Anglo-French Entente in 1904, the equilibrium between the Triple Alliance and Franco-Russian Alliance was sufficiently well balanced so that neither combination could dare to risk disturbing it by force.

This situation of more or less equilibrium on the Continent even led to a series of temporary diplomatic combinations in which Germany coöperated with Russia and France.  In 1894, Germany and France joined hands in preventing England from acquiring a strip of Congo territory for the Cape-to-Cairo Railway.(34)  In 1895, Germany coöperated with France and Russia to compel Japan to restore part of the conquests taken from China.(35)  In 1900, Russia proposed that the same three Powers should try to mediate between England and the Boers.  Germany did not wish to antagonize England by such a step, but consented to discuss it.  Quite possibly the three Powers might have attempted it, had not France been unwilling to enter into an arrangement with Germany which would have involved a mutual guarantee of territories, and consequently a second renunciation of Alsace-Lorraine.(36)  In this same year also German, French, Russian and English troops marched side by side to suppress the Boxer revolt.  When the Tsar’s proposal for the First Hague Conference—well meant but naive for those times—took Europe by surprise, Germany and France, and even many of Russia’s own officials, joined efforts to restrict the scope of the Conference as much as possible without incurring the odium of seeming to sabotage the Tsar’s proposals.  Nothing sums up dozens of despatches on this topic better than the confidence which Delcassé is reported to have made to the German Ambassador in Paris :

“Our [French] interests in regard to the Conference are exactly the same as yours.  You do not want to limit your power of defense at this moment nor enter upon disarmament proposals; we are in exactly the same position.  We both want to spare the Tsar and find a formula for sidestepping this question, but not let ourselves in for anything which would weaken our respective powers of defense.  To prevent a complete fiasco, we might possibly make some concessions in regard to arbitration, but these must in no way limit the complete independence of the Great Powers.  Besides the Tsar, we must also spare the public opinion of Europe, since this has been aroused by the senseless step of the Russians.”(37)

Finally, as noted below, the Kaiser frequently mooted a proposal to merge the Triple Alliance and the Franco-Russian Alliance into a grand “Continental League.”  Such a combination of all five Great Powers, he thought, would not only assure the peace of Europe, but could put a check on England’s overweening domination in all colonial matters.

Thus the first years of the Franco-Russian Alliance tended to strengthen rather than endanger the peace of Europe.  It established a healthy counter-poise to the Triple Alliance.  Neither group was so greatly superior as to be able safely to attack the other, or even to seek to dominate it by threats of force.  But during the decade 1894 to 1904, two changes occurred which tended ultimately to destroy this equilibrium.  They are of the greatest importance, in the development of the system of secret alliances—England’s exchange of splendid isolation for an Entente Cordiale with France, and Italy’s dubious loyalty toward her Allies.


England’s traditional policy, generally speaking, had for centuries been one of “splendid isolation.”  By keeping her “hands free,” she could enjoy the Balance of Power in Europe between the Continental groups and make English influence in either scale decisive.  It was only at times when some one Power sought to become overwhelmingly strong, or threatened to endanger British control of the Channel and her maritime supremacy, that England intervened actively and decisively in European politics.  In the years following the Franco-Prussian War, England still adhered to her traditional policy.  Three times Bismarck sounded her as to an alliance with Germany—in September, 1879, in November, 1887, and in January, 1889, but in all cases Bismarck’s “feelers” came to nothing, partly because Lord Salisbury feared that he could not get Parliamentary approval for such a policy.(38)  England would depart no further from her no-alliance policy than merely to make an entente with Italy and Austria in 1887, in which the three countries expressed their common desire to maintain the peace and status quo in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey.(39)  This agreement did not bind England to any military obligations, but it did confirm her friendly relations with the Triple Alliance.  After Bismarck’s fall this friendship continued and seemed at first to be strengthened by the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty and by the young Kaiser’s personal ties and visits to England.

But at about the time of the formation of the Franco-Russian Alliance England appeared to have come to the parting of the ways.  Isolation, though splendid, was not always safe or comfortable.  Though a match upon the seas for either of the allied groups on the Continent, England was in danger of meeting unpleasant diplomatic defeats, if Germany and France, or Germany and Russia, coalesced against her.  Lord Rosebery, in his careless energetic policy, had already had several disagreeable experiences which left a bad taste in the mouth.  Without consulting the signatories of the Treaty of 1884, fixing the boundaries of the Congo State, he had signed a treaty giving up to the Congo State territory in the Upper Nile basin in exchange for a strip of Congo territory in the Tanganyika region, across which it was planned to run the British Cape-to-Cairo Railway.  France and Germany protested, the latter on the ground that it tended to encircle German East Africa and was contrary to a previous treaty.  Rosebery had to withdraw the arrangement, explaining apologetically that he was acting on memoranda left by Lord Salisbury and was unaware of the difficulties.(40)  Similarly, in the misunderstandings which arose over the Siamese troubles in 1893, Rosebery found the French assuming a stiff attitude.  He bristled up himself, and, on a Sunday, without consulting the Cabinet, sent off a telegram to the English commander at Bangkok which gave Queen Victoria a bad fright.  He himself admitted it might have resulted in England waking up on Monday morning to find herself at war with France.(41)

By her dangerously weak position in Egypt, England was continually exposed to the more or less united opposition of all the Continental Powers.  Egypt was like a noose around the British neck, which any Great Power could tighten when it wanted to squeeze a diplomatic concession from the Mistress of the Seas—as France threatened to do in connection with the Siam controversy, and as Germany was felt to have done in connection with railway concessions in Turkey.(42)  Such incidents exposed the hollowness of the phrase “splendid isolation.”  As Lord Grey truly says, speaking of his first Foreign Office experiences in 1892-1895, there was “the constant friction, rising on the slightest provocation to quarrel and hostility, between Great Britain and France or Russia.  The ground swell of ill-will never ceased.  British interests touched those of France and Russia in many parts of the world;  and where interests touch, an atmosphere of ill-will is always dangerous.  The blackest suspicion thrives in it, like noxious growth under dark skies in murky air.”(43)

Some such considerations as these gradually led English statesmen to the decision that “splendid isolation” was no longer possible.  In 1895, Lord Salisbury indicated the changed British attitude by hinting to Germany that the time had come to partition Turkey.  Though England had formerly pursued the policy of bolstering up a decrepit Turkish Empire, Salisbury had now at last come to the conclusion that this was a hopeless task.  He had been betting on the wrong horse.  Turkey might as well be carved up, or at least the slices had better be provisionally assigned in case the Ottoman Empire should finally go to pieces.

The Sultan’s misgovernment had steadily weakened Turkey;  the Christian populations under Turkish oppression were becoming more and more restless;  and the frightful massacres of Armenians, with the more or less tacit approval and connivance of Abdul Hamid, had shocked and roused Europe.  Lord Salisbury’s proposal was to the effect that in partitioning Turkey, Egypt should go to England, Tripoli to Italy, Salonica to Austria, and Constantinople or the control of the Straits to Russia.  Such a partition, based on friendly agreement beforehand and securing a fair share to each of the three Great Powers, might conceivably have gone a long way toward solving the Near Eastern Question, if the great difficulties connected with it could have been overcome.

Unfortunately, Berlin failed to take up Salisbury’s suggestion, Marschall and Holstein, who at this time largely determined German policy, were excessively suspicious.  They foresaw that France and Italy would be difficult to satisfy.  Moreover, what should Germany receive?  They feared that an attempt to partition Turkey would give rise to more problems than it settled, and might even involve the Powers in war.  They suspected that Salisbury’s proposal was intended to sow discord between Russia and the Triple Alliance, so that England would have an opportunity to fish in troubled waters.  Accordingly, when Salisbury renewed his suggestion directly to the Kaiser a month later at Cowes, where William was attending the English yachting races, the Kaiser gave a cool reply;  he said he believed it was best to attempt to sustain Turkey, and to force proper reforms for the protection of the Sultan’s Christian subjects.  Thereupon Lord Salisbury let the matter drop.(44)

By 1898 the political situation made still more evident to the British Cabinet the advisability of abandoning the isolation policy.  In Central Africa friction with France over the Niger boundary was acute;  France also was extending her power eastward toward the Upper Nile;  and Major Marchand, leading an exploring expedition toward the Sudan, had not yet been checked by Kitchener at Fashoda.  In South Africa English friction with the Boers had been steadily increasing, and was to break out some months later in the most humiliating and costly war which England had ever fought.  The Kruger Telegram had shown the lively interest which the Kaiser and his subjects took in the Boers, and the desirability therefore of putting an end to any possible support, either secret or open, which Germany might be inclined to give to the South African Republics.  Finally, in the Far East, Germany had just secured the lease of a naval base at Kiauchau;  Russia was getting an economic grasp on Manchuria through the extension of the Trans-Siberian Railway;  and by the lease of Port Arthur she would have a foothold which would menace Peking and seriously jeopardize Britain’s naval and commercial predominance in the Far East.  The English Press was clamoring to know how the Cabinet would stop Russia.


Under these circumstances the British first turned to Russia.  On January 19, 1898, they proposed to the Tsar an entente which should put an end to all the long-standing sources of friction between the Bear and the Lion.  The idea was to harmonize British and Russian policy in the two decaying empires of China and Turkey, instead of being constantly opposed.  What Lord Salisbury secretly suggested to Russia in regard to China and Turkey was “no partition of territory, but only a partition of preponderance” of political influence.(44a)  But the Tsar and his shifty ambitious Ministers did not receive the proposal in a way to inspire confidence or to encourage the British to proceed with it.  Instead, Russia secured the lease of Port Arthur, and the British made a counter-move by doing likewise in regard to Wei-hai-Wei.  Thereupon Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, the British Colonial Secretary, was allowed to try his hand at making an alliance with Germany.

On March 29, 1898, while Lord Salisbury was absent in France for his health, Count Hatzfeldt, the German Ambassador in London, was asked to dinner with Mr. Chamberlain at Alfred Rothschild’s house.  Chamberlain there declared quite frankly that England had decided to abandon her isolation policy.  England and Germany, he admitted, had many petty points of friction in colonial matters, but no great fundamentally opposing interests.  He therefore suggested an Anglo-German defensive alliance.(45)  To satisfy Germany’s fears that later British Cabinets might not keep the agreement, he was ready to get the treaty publicly approved by Parliament;  this, however, “would not prevent the inclusion in the treaty of one or more secret articles,” as he remarked confidentially three days later.(46)  Finally he hinted that if England did not succeed in making an alliance with Germany, which was the more natural for her, she might turn toward France and Russia.  This was said as a hint but not as a threat.

There was no reason to doubt that Chamberlain was sincerely seeking to open negotiations which should lead to an alliance.  To have succeeded would have been a great feather in his cap.  But other members of the Cabinet, like Lord Salisbury and Balfour, not to mention the Prince of Wales, who were all more Francophil, were less enthusiastic.  They were not unwilling to see his efforts fail.

Chamberlain’s offer was received in Berlin with the same suspiciousness as the proposed partition of Turkey three years earlier.  Count Bülow, who had replaced Marschall as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, feared that a publicly announced alliance with England might involve Germany in the risk of being attacked on two fronts—the Russian and the French—where the British navy would be of little assistance to Germany.  Moreover, he doubted whether the English Parliament, in view of the bitter public feeling in England since the Kruger Telegram, would ever ratify an Anglo-German alliance.  German public opinion would also be against it.  He therefore directed Hatzfeldt neither to accept nor reject Chamberlain’s offer, but to deal with it in a dilatory fashion.  By this means he believed that Germany and England might come to an agreement on some of their outstanding colonial problems, without going so far as to risk a definite alliance.(47)

In this connection the Kaiser took a step which reveals the lack of honesty which he sometimes displayed in his attempts to manage German foreign policy.  Without consulting his Ministers, and in spite of the fact that the Chamberlain proposals had been strictly confidential, he wrote to the Tsar on May 30, 1898, saying that England had thrice within the last few weeks asked for an alliance, making enormous offers which opened a brilliant future for Germany, and begging for a quick reply.  Before answering the British, the Kaiser added, he wanted to tell “Nicky” of this, since it was a life and death matter.  Such an alliance would evidently be directed against Russia.  “Now I ask you, as my old and trusted friend, to tell me what you can offer me, and what you will do for me if I refuse the British offers.”(48)

This letter was a gross exaggeration, because no “enormous offers” had been made by England.  The Kaiser was deliberately attempting by his exaggeration to bid Russia and England up against one another, and to use Chamberlain’s offer to sow discord between Russia and England.  What he wanted to secure from Nicky was Russian cooperation for bringing France into a Continental League, which should draw together the Triple and Dual Alliance and thus make a strong group of the five great European Powers.  This idea of a Continental League continually hovered before his imagination for years.  By it he hoped to secure the peace of Europe.  If Russia could bring the French into such a combination, France would be expected to give up the thought of revenge and the hope of recovering Alsace-Lorraine.  This would remove one of the fundamental sources of danger to the peace of Europe.  Further more, such a Continental League could be effectively used to check England’s excessive colonial pretensions in Africa and Asia, and eventually, perhaps, after the growth of the German navy, to place a check on England’s supremacy of the seas.(49)

The Tsar, however, did not allow himself to be fooled by the Kaiser into making any commitments.  But he replied at once on June 3, 1898:

Dearest Willy,

. . . Three months ago, in the midst of our negotiations with China, England handed us over a memorandum containing many tempting proposals trying to induce us to come to a full agreement upon all the points in which our interest collided with her’s.  These proposals were of such a new character, that I must say, we were quite amazed and yet their very nature seemed suspicious to us;  never before had England made such offers to Russia.  That showed us clearly that England needed our friendship at that time, to be able to check our development, in a masked way, in the Far East.  Without thinking twice over it, their proposals were refused. ...

It is very difficult for me, if not quite impossible, to answer your question whether it is useful or not for Germany to accept these often repeated English proposals, as I have not got the slightest knowledge of their value.

You must of course decide what is best and most necessary for your country.

Germany and Russia have lived in peace since old times, as good neighbours, and God grant! that they may continue so, in close and loyal friendship. . . .

I thank you once more for writing to me at such a grave moment for you!

God bless you my dearest Willy.

Believe me ever your loving cousin and trusting friend,


This news of “amazing” British offers to Russia, made just before Chamberlain’s proposals, made the Kaiser naturally suspect that “perfidious Albion” was trying to play Germany and Russia off against one another, and sow discord between them.  It confirmed him in his temperamental suspiciousness of British good faith.  So the Chamberlain proposal of March, 1898, was not grasped by Germany, and came to nothing.

The utmost that could be secured was the Anglo-German Convention of August 30, 1898, for the contingent partition of the Portuguese colonies.  As Portugal was supposed to be in financial straits and likely to wish to borrow money, Germany and England agreed to consult as to the terms of any loans made, and to divide the Portuguese colonial areas whose tolls were to be pledged as security for the loans.  In case Portugal should default on payment, Germany and England would enter upon the administration of the tolls in the areas pledged to each.  They agreed jointly to oppose any loans to Portugal by a third Power which involved pledging the revenue of the Portuguese colonies.(51)

This Convention is important because it aimed to remove one source of rivalry and friction between England and Germany, and became the basis of later negotiations in 1912-1914 for a fair and reasonable agreement for a further contingent rearrangement of colonial possessions.  But it also became a source of irritation and suspicion on Germany’s part.  The Kaiser and Bülow overestimated Portugal’s financial embarrassment.  They waited in vain for the loan which would bring the expected results from the treaty.  Lord Salisbury refused to hinder Portugal from making other loans which did not involve pledging the tolls as agreed in the treaty.  In this he was justified by the wording of the treaty, but the Kaiser and his advisers thought it contrary to its spirit.  They had expected England would use her influence to prevent Portugal finding any other sources of credit, thus hastening the moment for the contingent partition.

But, instead of this, the Germans soon observed closer relations between Lisbon and London after the visit of King Carlos to Windsor in the spring of 1899.  And in fact, upon the outbreak of the Boer War, by the secret Anglo-Portuguese Declaration of October 14, 1899 (often inaccurately called the “Windsor Treaty”), Lord Salisbury renewed with Portugal the old treaty of 1661 by which England promised to defend and protect all the Portuguese colonies.  In return, Portugal undertook not to permit the transporting of munitions of war for the Boers into the Transvaal, and not to issue any formal declaration of neutrality, inasmuch as that would hinder the supplying of coal to British warships at Delagoa Bay.  Observing this close Anglo-Portuguese friendship and the failure of the Anglo-German treaty to produce the hoped-for results, the German Foreign Office naturally suspected the sincerity of England’s proffered friendship.(52)

Similarly unfortunate in its effects on the relations of England and Germany was the Yang-tsze Convention of October 16, 1900.  It aimed to promote the common interests of the two countries in the Far East by preserving the territorial integrity of China and by keeping her ports open to trade for all countries without distinction; but a misunderstanding as to whether it applied or not to Manchuria, where Germany did not wish to antagonize Russia, ultimately led to friction and distrust on both sides.(53)  Disillusionment and disappointment in regard to the Portuguese, Yang-tsze, and Samoa arrangements, as well as the British detention and search of a couple of German steamers bound for South Africa and other sources of friction growing out of the Boer War, were further motives for German coolness toward suggestions for an alliance which Chamberlain continued to make.

Though the German rejection of the Chamberlain proposals was one of the most momentous factors in shaping the fatal course of events in the following years, only a word can be said about them here.(54)

In November, 1899, a few weeks after the outbreak of the Boer War and the consequent anti-English outburst all over the Continent, the Kaiser and Bülow visited England.  Chamberlain seized upon the occasion for long talks with both.  He suggested closer relations between England, Germany, and the United States.  The detailed notes which Bülow made of the conversations(55) do not indicate that he gave Chamberlain much encouragement to think that Germany would abandon the relatively favorable position which she then enjoyed in exchange for the risk of an alliance with England.  Nevertheless a few days later, in a famous speech at Leicester, the English Colonial Secretary spoke glowingly of the community of German and British interests, and publicly proposed an alliance:  “At bottom the character of the Teutonic race differs very slightly indeed from the character of the Anglo-Saxon race.  If the union between England and America is a powerful factor in the cause of peace, a new Triple Alliance between the Teutonic race and the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race will be a still more potent influence in the future of the world.”(56)

But the poisonous effects of the Boer War were already, at work.  German, as well as French and Russian, newspapers were attacking England violently.  Germans, Bülow himself noted, were more stirred up about the Boer War than the English themselves;  the anti-English feeling in Germany was stronger than the anti-German feeling in England.  In view of this Anglophobia, Bülow did not have the courage, speaking in the Reichstag on December 11 in favor of the German Navy Law, to take up sympathetically Chamberlain’s Leicester proposal.  On the contrary, he poured cold water on it, as being quite unnecessary for Germany.  It was a rude rebuff to England.  Moreover, if it be true, as Chamberlain told Eckardstein,(57) that he had made his Leicester speech at Bülow’s own suggestion, and with the expectation that it would find a friendly echo across the North Sea, Bülow’s Reichstag speech was a treacherous act greatly resented by Chamberlain.  At any rate, the British Foreign Office became more suspicious of the Wilhelmstrasse,—a suspicion which was now beginning to be further fostered by Tirpitz’s plans for building up the German navy.

Nevertheless, in 1901, after the Kaiser’s much appreciated visit to Osborne at the news that Queen Victoria was dying, Chamberlain again opened negotiations for a defensive alliance between England and Germany, or even between England, Germany and Japan.  England still had her hands tied in South Africa where the Boers were resisting with dogged determination.  In the Far East, following the suppression of the Boxer Revolt, English friction with Russia had reached an acute stage, because the Tsar’s forces would not evacuate Chinese territory.  Under these circumstances, a German alliance would have afforded a valuable support to Great Britain.  But for this very reason Germany was not at all anxious to commit herself.  The negotiations, which were taken over by Lord Lansdowne, dragged on through the year.  They were finally dropped in December, 1901, because the British Cabinet felt unable to meet Germany’s conditions that the treaty should include the Triple Alliance and that it should be approved by the British Parliament.  Whether such approval could have been secured was, in fact, very doubtful.  A bitter antagonism had been aroused in both countries by the Boer War and the Press attacks on both sides which accompanied it.  More, over, the British Cabinet was by no means solid in support of the alliance with Germany.  Lord Salisbury had always been sceptical, and finally left on record a strong memorandum against it.  Lansdowne and Balfour were not enthusiastic.  Chamberlain, except for support from the Duke of Devonshire, had rather been compelled to play a lone hand; and even he, after Bülow’s rebuff of his Leicester proposal, did not want to burn his fingers again.(58)

Looking back at the whole series of negotiations, it is possible that some kind of an Anglo-German defensive alliance could have been arranged, if Germany had been more receptive to Chamberlain’s offers at the beginning.  This would have laid.  the basis for a better mutual understanding and rendered less painful the popular antagonism caused by the Boer War, in which the German Government’s attitude, as distinct from that of the German people and the German Press, was tolerably correct.(59)  It would have helped to prevent the mutual suspicions which were nourished by the increase of naval armaments on both sides of the North Sea.  It would probably have averted the German fright of 1904 that England was planning “to Copenhagen” the German fleet,(60) as well as the English panic in 1908-09 at the specter of a German invasion of England.(61)  It might even have established a basis of mutual goodwill which would have brought success to the numerous efforts made later for some kind of an agreement to limit the mad competition in Anglo-German naval armaments.  And it would have doubtless prevented the formation of the Triple Entente.

But Holstein, Bülow and the Kaiser miscalculated the situation and let the golden opportunity slip by.  They were irritated at what seemed England’s unwillingness to afford Germany colonial acquisitions in Samoa and the Portuguese colonies.  They were unable, or unwilling, to defy German public opinion by allying with a country which was crushing the Boers.  They doubted whether the British Parliament would really sanction such an alliance.  Their fundamental miscalculation was their persistent conviction that England would never draw close to her traditional French enemy, and certainly not to her bitter Russian rival.  Anglo-Russian antagonism was so axiomatic in the Wilhelmstrasse that Holstein and Bülow were convinced that, even if England did establish a rapprochement with France, this would not be dangerous to Germany, since it would undoubtedly lead to the rupture of the Franco-Russian Alliance; an Anglo-Franco-Russian combination seemed impossible.  As things stood during the Boer War and the Far Eastern troubles, at the turn of the century, Germany, dominating the Triple Alliance, seemed to stand with hands free between England on one side and the Franco-Russian Alliance on the other.  Germany enjoyed, they believed, the advantage of holding the Balance of Power between them.  It made her, as Bülow once proudly said, arbiter mundi. He saw no reason to abandon lightly her advantage, and to assume instead the risk of defending British possessions all over the world.  England needed Germany, he believed needed her badly, and would probably need her more, rather than less, in the future;  therefore Germany could afford to defer assuming the risk of an Anglo-German alliance until English Ministers showed more consideration to Germany’s wishes in colonial and other matters.(62)  Why should Germany pull the British chestnuts out of the fire?  Why allow herself to be shoved forward by the British against the Russians?  What could the British Navy do to protect the East Prussian frontier from a Cossack attack?(63)

These are the ideas which occur again and again in the reasoning of Bülow and Holstein, and which were readily accepted by the Kaiser.  Though at times he seems to have inclined sincerely to an alliance with England, he was nevertheless, to judge by his letters and marginal notes, obsessed by a strong dislike of most British political leaders, including “Uncle Bertie,” which almost amounted to a kind of Anglophobia.  Psychoanalysts, perhaps, would say that he suffered from an “anti-English complex” caused partly by a reaction against early maternal influence, and partly by an “inferiority complex”—by an acute realization of Germany’s inferiority in naval and colonial power.  “Our future upon the Seas,” “the trident in our hands,” the building of the German navy, and the eager desire for colonies may have been a form of “compensation for the repressed envy with which he regarded England’s proud position in the world.”(64)

Thus, from a variety of reasons, Holstein, Bülow, and the Kaiser failed to take advantage of the English offers.  They held off in the hope of getting better terms-and got nothing.  They let slip the golden moments which were never to return.  The English, failing finally to arrange an alliance with Germany, turned elsewhere.  In 1902 they signed with Japan, the well-known alliance which protected their mutual interests in the Far East.  In 1904 they signed with France the treaties which were the first step in the formation of the Triple Entente.


Italy, like Germany, had been occupied so long establishing her own national unity that she came late into the race for colonial possessions.  But if she were to play the part of a Great Power in Europe, and find an outlet for her rapidly increasing population, she felt that she too must acquire colonies.  She had naturally cast her eyes on Tunis.  But the French had stepped in ahead of her.  She had then sought alliance with Germany and Austria in the hope of getting their support.  Bismarck, however, was not at first inclined to allow the Triple Alliance to be exploited for Italy’s colonial ambitions.  But in 1887, when the Boulanger crisis in France and the Bulgarian situation in the Balkans cast heavy clouds over Europe, Italy was able to extort, as the price of her renewal of the Triple Alliance, new clauses looking toward future acquisitions in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Eastern Mediterranean.  As Germany’s interests were not identical with those of Austria in the Balkans, and as Austria was unwilling to commit herself in regard to Italy’s North African ambitions, it was decided that these matters should be dealt with in separate treaties to be signed by Austria and Italy, and by Germany and Italy, on February 20, 1887, the same day that the Triple Alliance Treaty of 1882 was renewed.

Accordingly, Austria and Italy,

“having in mind only the maintenance, so far as possible, of the status quo in the Orient, engage to use their influence to forestall any territorial modification which might be injurious to one or the other. . . . However, if, in the course of events, the maintenance of the status quo in the regions of the Balkans or of the Ottoman coasts and islands in the Adriatic and in the Aegean Sea should become impossible, and if, whether in consequence of the action of a third Power or otherwise, Austria-Hungary or Italy should find themselves under the necessity of modifying it by a temporary or permanent occupation on their part, this occupation shall take place only after a previous agreement between the two Powers aforesaid, based on the principle of a reciprocal compensation. . . .”(65)

Germany, on her part, undertook “to use her influence to forestall, on the Ottoman coasts and islands in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas any territorial modification which might be injurious” to Italy.  As to North Africa:  “If it were to happen that France should make a move to extend her occupation, or even her protectorate or her sovereignty, under any form whatsoever, in the North African territories, whether of the Vilayet of Tripoli or of the Moroccan Empire, and that in consequence thereof Italy, in order to safeguard her position in the Mediterranean, should feel that she must herself take action,” Germany promised her armed support, if war should ensue.(66)

In 1891, at the third renewal of the Triple Alliance, Italy made a number of new requests, but the only one which was finally conceded to her was an extension of Ger many’s obligation to support her in North Africa.  Germany and Italy engaged to exert themselves for the maintenance of the status quo in Cyrenaica, Tripoli and Tunis.  But, “if unfortunately, as a result of a mature examination of the situation, Germany and Italy should both recognize that the maintenance of the status quo has become impossible, Germany engages, after a formal and previous agreement, to support Italy in any action in the form of occupation or other taking of guaranty which the latter should undertake in these same regions with a view to an interest of equilibrium and of legitimate compensation.”  In such an eventuality both Powers would seek to place themselves likewise in agreement with England.(67)

This opened the door, as the Italians hoped, to a possible annexation of North African territory.  But Germany still hoped to be able to restrain Italy from African adventures which might antagonize England, France or Turkey.  She had therefore insisted on the insertion of the phrases “as a result of mature examination” and “after a formal and previous agreement.”  She also struck out the reference to Morocco, which was in the 1887 treaty and in the first Italian draft of the new clause, in order not to encourage Italy to collide with possible French, English, or Spanish ambitions in that region.

The Italians, however, were bitterly disillusioned in their hopes that these treaty arrangements would speedily enable them to acquire Tripoli.  The following years were filled with demands and reproaches toward her allies, which became louder as the Abyssinian adventure went from bad to worse.  Crispi complained that he was being browbeaten by France, threatened by Russian intrigues in the Near East and in Abyssinia, and neglected by England—and that for all this Germany and the Triple Alliance were to blame.  The French, he said, were dominated by the thought of getting back Alsace-Lorraine, and had warned him to expect no concessions from them as long as Italy remained in the Triple Alliance;  on the contrary they would “aim to make life as sour as possible for him.”(68)

However, after Crispi had been overthrown as a result of the Abyssinian disaster, his successor, Rudini, began a rapprochement with France.  By the Franco-Italian Tunis Convention of 1896, Italy at last virtually recognized the French protectorate in Tunis and received in return certain political and commercial privileges.  The next year, the Italian Crown Prince, Victor Emmanuel and his Montenegrin bride, visited Paris, and the fetes in their honor tended to draw the two Latin nations together.  Two years later a Franco-Italian commercial treaty put an end to the long tariff war which had had a ruinous effect on the trade between the two countries and had caused great bitterness.

The rapprochement between Paris and Rome was helped by the new turn which Delcassé gave to Anglo-French relations.  After the bitter humiliation of Fashoda, Delcassé had determined to put an end to the traditional hostility between France and England.  By a convention of March 21, 1899, Delcassé came to an agreement with England in regard to the delimitation of spheres of influence in the regions between the Congo and the Upper Nile, and at the same time quieted Italian apprehensions by indicating that the French had no aspirations to the east of Tunis, in the Tripoli region coveted by Italy.  This opened the way for the secret Franco-Italian accord of December, 1900.  By an exchange of notes between Visconti-Venosta and Barrere, the active French Ambassador at Rome, Italy recognized French aspirations in Morocco, and France recognized Italian aspirations in Tripoli.(69)

The growing intimacy between France and Italy was now emphasized outwardly in every possible manner.  President Loubet bestowed upon Victor Emmanuel the Grand Cross of the French Legion of Honor.  The Italian fleet visited Toulon and was received with demonstrations of friendship which recalled the visit of the Russian fleet at the formation of the Franco-Russian alliance.  On December 14, 1901, Prinetti, who was decidedly Francophil, revealed in the Italian Chamber of Deputies the existence of the secret Franco-Italian accord made twelve months before by Visconti-Venosta and Barrère.  At the same time he protested profusely to the German and Austrian ambassadors that Italy was thoroughly loyal to the Triple Alliante, though he admitted it had been an act of disloyalty on his predecessor’s part not to inform Italy’s allies at once of the exchange of notes with France.  He tried to excuse it by alleging that he had supposed Visconti-Venosta had already notified Germany and Austria of it.(70)

Bülow was worried at Italy’s defection.  He feared that Italy might proceed to the annexation of Tripoli, thus antagonizing Turkey and jeopardizing German interests in the Near East.  But publicly he attempted to appear unconcerned, declaring in his famous Reichstag speech of January 8, 1902, that “the Triple Alliance still enjoys the best of health, and will, as I believe and hope, continue to do so, like persons who are mistakenly announced as dead but continue still to live for a good long time.”  And he added jauntily, “In a happy marriage the husband must not get angry right off if his wife innocently takes an extra dance with another partner.  The main thing is that she does not elope with him;  but she will not elope, if she realizes that she is better off with her husband.”  This warning to Italy he emphasized by remarking further that the Triple Alliance was “not a business concern for making gains, but an insurance company,”

Italy, however, did not heed the warning.  While carrying on negotiations for the renewal of the Triple Alliance, she at the same time listened to the wooing of Barrère, who was determined to secure a promise from Italy that she would not attack France and would give up any military conventions or other treaty obligations which might compel her to join in a German aggression against France.(71)  And in fact on June 4, 1902, several weeks before the renewal of the Triple Alliance, Prinetti secretly assured Delcassé that it contained nothing either directly or indirectly aggressive toward France.  Though he stipulated that “this communication is destined to remain secret,” Delcassé soon announced its substance in the French Chamber of Deputies.

Delcassé was not yet satisfied.  He wanted to get from Prinetti a signed document which would bind Italy to observe strict neutrality in case France should take the initiative in declaring a war to which she had been provoked.(72)  Accordingly, by an exchange of notes between Prinetti and Barrère on November 1, 1902, it was mutually agreed:

“In case France [Italy] should be the object of a direct or indirect aggression on the part of one or more Powers, Italy [France] will maintain a strict neutrality.

“The same shall hold good in case France [Italy], as the result of a direct provocation, should find herself compelled, in defense of her honor or her security, to take the initiative of a declaration of war.  In that eventuality, the Government of the Republic [the Royal Government] shall previously communicate its intention to the Royal Government [the Government of the Republic], which will thus be enabled to determine whether there is really a case of direct provocation.”(73)

Practically this meant that Italy was now no longer a loyal member of the Triple Alliance.  To be sure, Prinetti might soothe his conscience by maintaining that his promise to France merely “defined the character” of Italy’s Triple Alliance obligations, and was not directly contrary to them.(74)  It is true his promise was not contrary to the letter of Italy’s obligations to Germany;  since, according to Art. II of the Triple Alliance Treaty, Italy was bound to assist Germany only in case Germany was attacked by France “without direct provocation.”  Italy reserved the right to decide what would constitute “direct provocation.”  But the interpretation of this phrase might be made as elastic as rubber.  When asked by Barrère to define what it meant, Prinetti had cited as examples of “direct provocation” the Schnaebele incident, the Ems telegram, and King William’s refusal to receive Benedetti in 1870.(75)  This meant that at any time in the future, if some similar incident arose, which France considered a provocation, which compelled her, “in defense of her honor or her security,” to declare war on Germany, Italy would remain neutral.  Thus, owing to the inclusion of the phrase “direct provocation,” the Franco-Italian accord of 1902 was not exactly contrary to the letter of Italy’s Triple Alliance obligation;  but it was certainly contrary to its spirit and purpose.(76)  Italy would no longer help Germany in case of a French attack, which had been one of the original essential purposes of the Triple Alliance.  It all depended on how Italy would choose to interpret the essentially indefinite and elastic conception of “direct provocation.”  Being incapable of precise or judicial definition, this interpretation was likely to depend, as events proved, on what Italy considered her interests at the moment.  M. Poincaré shrewdly summed up the real situation when he told Izvolski in December, 1912, that “neither the Triple-Entente nor the Triple Alliance can count on the loyalty of Italy;  the Italian Government will employ all its efforts to preserve the peace;  and in case of war, it will begin by adopting a waiting attitude and will finally join the camp toward which victory will incline.”(77)  Henceforth Italy had a foot in both camps and could jump in either direction, though she was not wholly trusted by either her old ally or her new friend.

In the fall of 1903, shortly before Germany was surprised by the conclusion of the Anglo-French Entente which threatened to draw Italy further to the side of these two Mediterranean Powers, she began to fear more seriously that Italy’s “extra dance” might develop into an elopement after all.  Victor Emmanuel explained to Emperor William that French friendship was important for Italy’s commercial relations and for enabling Italy to borrow needed money.  Though he was reported to have said of Barrère, “I don’t like him, he is a liar and a nasty man,”(78) nevertheless he paid a visit a few months later to Paris, which was made the occasion for further demonstrations of Franco-Italian friendship.  At about the same time there was a violent renewed outburst of Italian irredentist feeling against Austria, which the Italian Government made little effort to check.(79)  In April, 1904, President Loubet returned Victor Emmanuel’s visit, going to Naples with the French fleet, and then even going on to Rome, though no French President hitherto had thus snubbed the Pope to honor the King.  In the toasts given to Loubet at Naples, the Italians emphasized Franco-Italian friendship, but made no mention of Italy’s position in the Triple Alliance.  Germany protested against this omission, demanding that if further toasts were exchanged some reference should be made to the Triple Alliance and its peaceful character, in order that the world might not think that Italy had shifted to the side of France.  The Italian Minister promised to heed the German protest.  But he did not keep his promise.  Two more Franco-Italian toasts were exchanged in which the Triple Alliance was passed over in dead silence.(80)

Monts, the German Ambassador at Rome, urged that the way to make Italy return to a more loyal attitude was to take a severe tone toward her.  “If we now are polite, friendly, and helpful, the Italians will become altogether intractable.  The only motives which appear to be effective here are fear and a feeling of respect.”(81)  This advice was in accord with Bülow’s past warnings to Italy not to let the flirtation with France develop into a permanent liaison.  But Bülow now decided cordiality was wiser than scolding.  He tried to win Italy back by assuring her that Germany had no objections to her taking Tripoli.  He also believed it far better that Italy’s colonial ambitions should be afforded an outlet in North Africa rather than in Albania and the Adriatic, where she was sure to antagonize Austria.  Some months later, as Tittoni expressed contrition and promised “not to do it again,”(82)  and as the Moroccan cloud was gathering on the horizon, Bülow felt particularly anxious not to offend the Italians, or take a stiff attitude which might drive them further into the arms of France and England.  “The façade of the Triple Alliance must be kept as intact as possible,” he wrote to the Kaiser, “especially so, because as long as the Italians are still in the Triple Alliance, they will be regarded with distrust on the enemy’s side.  But in case of complications, we need certainly give ourselves no illusions as to active Italian coöperation.  However, it will be a gain, not to be lightly valued, if Italy remains neutral instead of going with France.”(83)

In his public utterances, and in the volume defending his policies which he published just before the War, Bülow naturally sought to maintain as far as possible the fiction of Italian loyalty-that is, to give the facade as good an appearance as possible.  “Neither at Algeciras, nor during her Tripolitan expedition, nor shortly before this, at the interview of Racconigi, did Italy ever contemplate severing her connection with us.”(84)  This has often misled persons into thinking he placed more confidence in Italy after the Franco-Italian agreement of 1900-02 than was really the case.  Even such a well-informed scholar as Professor Pribram says:  “By the end of 1905, Bülow believed that no danger existed of Italy’s alienation from the Triple Alliance.”  He quotes Bülow as declaring in 1905:  “Italy has cast in her lot with the Triple Alliance, not for reasons of mawkish sentimentality, but because she finds it to her advantage to do so.  The reasons which originally brought the three great states together are still in existence;  nothing has happened to work a change in them.”(85)  But pre-war declarations of this kind axe merely examples of the optimistic Chancellor’s usual policy of “faire bonne mine au mauvais jeu”—of putting a good face on a bad matter.  Privately and in reality he was much worried by Italy’s double-dealing.

At the Algeciras Conference, by voting with France and England against Germany, Italy gave another rude shock to the facade of the Triple Alliance, and showed that Bülow had reason to be worried.  Speaking in the Chamber of Deputies on March 8, 1906, Sonnino attempted to explain Italy’s double policy, saying:  “Loyal from our heart to the Triple Alliance, we shall maintain the traditions of intimacy with England and our honest friendship with France.”  On this the German Emperor commented significantly:

“ ' No one can serve two masters,’ it says in the Bible;  certainly therefore not three masters !  France, England and the Triple Alliance, that is wholly out of the question !  It will turn out that Italy stands in the British-French group !  We shall do well to reckon with this, and write this 'ally’ off as smoke ! ”(86)


M. Delcassé, who became French Minister of Foreign Affairs in June, 1898, is said to have declared that the first object of his policy would be to secure a rapprochement with England.  If France were to expand her colonial empire and some day recover Alsace-Lorraine, the age-long hostility with England must be ended.  Delcassé therefore took steps toward a reconciliation with “perfidious Albion.”  He approved a treaty settling a long-standing dispute to Anglo-French boundaries in the Niger Valley.  A few months later, in the face of Kitchener’s troops and in defiance of traditional French feelings, he had yielded to the British at Fashoda.  On March 21, 1899, he reached an agreement with England delimiting French and English spheres of influence in the region between the Upper Nile and the Congo.  He had done what he could to open the way for better Anglo-French relations.

But public opinion in the two countries was still hostile.  It was further aggravated by the Boer War.  To overcome this was part of the work of Sir Thomas Barclay.  Looking at the two countries from a commercial rather than a diplomatic point of view, he secured the approval of Salisbury and Delcassé for a visit to Paris of British Chambers of Commerce in 1900.  The banquet of 800 at which he presided proved an encouraging success.  This was the year of the great Paris Exposition, and thousands of other British visitors flocked to the French capital.  These visits were followed by delegations of French Chambers of Commerce to England, and by a similar exchange of visits by members of Parliament and their wives.  With the ground thus prepared, Sir Thomas Barclay began to agitate for the conclusion of an Anglo-French Treaty of Arbitration, which should remove possible causes of friction and place the future of the two countries beyond the dangerous reach of popular emotions.  Such a treaty, referring to the Hague Arbitration Tribunal all disputes between the two countries (except those touching vital interests, honor, or independence), was finally signed on October 14, 1903.(87)

Meanwhile, the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and the retirement of Lord Salisbury in 1902, opened the way for two men who were more enthusiastic than their predecessors for closer relations with France—Edward VII and Lord Lansdowne.

The new King, Edward VII, had spent much of his time as Prince of Wales in Paris or on the Riviera.  He spoke French with perfect ease, had formed many warm attachments in France, and had a strong liking for the people as a nation.  In the spring of 1903, on his own initiative, he paid to Paris his first formal visit as King, and was delighted by his reception.  Though it was not at first enthusiastic,

it was respectful, and soon decidedly sympathetic.  In one of those tactful speeches, in which he knew how to combine flattering appreciation and hearty personal good-will, thereby winning so many personal friends, he declared to the French :

“It is scarcely necessary to tell you with what sincere pleasure I find myself once more in Paris, to which, as you know; I have paid very frequent visits with ever-increasing pleasure, and for which I feel an attachment fortified by so many happy and ineffaceable memories.  The days of hostility between the two countries are, I am certain, happily at an end.  I know of no two countries whose prosperity is more interdependent.  There may have been misunderstandings and causes of dissension in the past, but that is all happily over and forgotten.  The friendship of the two countries is my constant preoccupation, and I count on you all who enjoy French hospitality in their magnificent city to me to reach this goal.”(88)

The warmth of this royal utterance, and his hearty enjoyment of the state banquet at the Élysée, the military review at Vincennes, and the races at Longchamps, all went a long way toward wiping from the French mind the bitter memories of Fashoda and the Boer War.  Two months later (July 6-9, 1903) President Loubet paid King Edward a return visit.  This was marked on both sides by the greatest cordiality.  “France,” the French President said to his royal host, “preserves a precious memory of the visit which you paid to Paris.  I am sure that it will have the most happy results, and that it will greatly serve to maintain and bind still more closely the relations which exist between our two countries, for their common good and as a guarantee of the peace of the world.”  In return Edward VII expressed the hope “that the welcome you have received today has convinced you of the true friendship, indeed I will say the affection, which my country feels for France.”  And upon President Loubet’s departure, the King sent a farewell message which found a warm response on both sides of the English Channel:  “It is my most ardent wish that the rapprochement between the two countries may be lasting.”

Delcassé had accompanied President Loubet on this visit and began those conversations with Lord Lansdowne which were to bear fruit eight months later in the famous Anglo-French Entente Cordiale. This was signalized by the signing on April 8, 1904, of a series of conventions which settled amicably long-standing disputes concerning the Newfoundland fisheries, Senegambia, Siam, Madagascar, the New Hebrides, and other subjects.  The most important convention was that by which France at last gave the English a free hand in Egypt in return for a free hand in Morocco.

Egypt for more than a quarter of a century had been one of the most acute sources of friction between Downing Street and the Quai d’Orsay.  It had been the Achilles heel of British foreign policy.  All the Great Powers had certain political and financial rights in Egypt which continually hampered England’s freedom of action and threatened the efficiency of Egyptian administration.  Egyptian finance was now in a flourishing condition.  But owing to the international fetters originally imposed under conditions which no longer existed, the Khedive, that is to say, his English advisers, were unable to derive any real profit from the surplus funds.  The situation, says Lord Cromer, had become intolerable.(89)  It was therefore a great relief to England to obtain a waiver of the financial restrictions and to receive the assurance that “the Government of the French Republic will not obstruct the action of Great Britain in Egypt by asking that a date should be fixed for the British occupation or in any other matter.”(90)  England’s new freedom of action was embodied in a Khedivial Decree which England speedily notified formally to the Powers and to which she secured their assent.(91)  Egypt was no longer a vulnerable point in English diplomacy.  Within six months, as Kühlmann wrote from Tangiers, “The Egyptian question is dead, but the Moroccan question is very much alive.”(92)

Morocco, on the other hand, was pregnant with trouble for France and was soon to become a diplomatic nightmare for all Europe.  At the close of the nineteenth century it was virtually an independent country of some four or five million inhabitants—Arabs, Berbers, Jews, negroes and others—under the nominal rule of a Sultan at Fez.  But this rule was a shaky one.  There were continual uprisings from hostile tribes, or from rival claimants to the Umbrella, which was the symbol of sovereignty in that sunny land.  Arab marauders continually jeopardized the life and property of European traders and travelers.  Little satisfaction could be obtained from the Sultan’s government.  As a result of these turbulent conditions, the thirteen Powers;  including the United States, who had once coöperated to suppress the Barbary Pirates, signed with the Sultan of Morocco in 1880 the Convention of Madrid.  This provided for the proper protection of foreigners in Morocco and promised the most-favored-nation treatment to all the Signatory Powers.(93)  The two European countries which were most directly interested in Morocco, because of geographical propinquity and historic associations, were Spain and France.

Spain had inherited or conquered during the sixteenth century a number of settlements on the North coast, between the Straits of Gibraltar on the West, and the French territory of Algeria on the East.  These, however, were separated from the Moroccan interior by the line of Riff Mountains, so that Spain did not aspire to acquire any of the Moroccan hinterland. If a partition of Morocco was to take place, Spain merely wished to be assured of the Mediterranean coastal strip and of some seaports on the Atlantic coast opposite the Canary Islands for their protection.

France, though further removed from Morocco geographically, had in reality a closer and more vital interest in the country.  Beginning in 1830, she had gradually built up a great colony in Algeria, or, to speak more correctly, had extended France into Algeria, for Algeria was not a colony in the ordinary sense of the word.  It was divided into departments like France, was represented in the French Chamber of Deputies, and persons born in Algeria enjoyed all the full rights of French citizens.  As the French extended their control southward toward the Sahara, there was no effective natural boundary separating their territories from those of the Sultan of Morocco.  Algeria in consequence was subjected to continual raids from the plundering Moroccan tribesmen.(94)  France could have no peace on the western border of Algeria so long as turbulent conditions continued to prevail in Morocco.  The French, therefore, came to feel that the safety and destiny of Algeria, as well as their aspirations for a great North African Colonial Empire, made it imperative for them to extend their control over Morocco, either by police supervision, or by a protectorate, or by direct annexation.

But Italy, England, and Germany also had political, as well as commercial, interests in Morocco.(95)

Italy, being without colonies, cast her eyes covetously toward Morocco, especially after the French had stepped into Tunis ahead of her.  But in 1900 France bought off Italy’s claims by the secret promise not to oppose Italian aspirations to Tripoli.

England, possessing one of the Pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar, was determined that the other Pillar at Ceuta must never come into the hands of a strong European Power like France;  otherwise the English navy and English commerce would lose that vital control of the entrance to the Mediterranean, which Gibraltar had assured to her for two centuries.  Ceuta belonged to Spain, but Spain was so weak, especially after the Spanish-American War, that England was content to have her retain it; she had no fear that Spain would ever dispute British control of the Straits.  England also coveted Tangier, partly because of her large trade there.  If she could not acquire Tangier for herself, she was at least determined not to let it fall into the hand of any other Great Power.  England likewise wished to prevent any European Power from establishing a coaling station or naval base on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

Germany was chiefly interested in preserving and extending her rapidly growing commercial interests in Morocco.  Some Germans, including some Foreign Office personages, wanted a German colony in West Morocco which would open new markets for German goods, afford a much needed source for iron ore, and offer a convenient coaling station and naval base for the German fleet in the Atlantic.  But the Kaiser was opposed to pressing this, for fear of antagonizing England and France.

By the opening of the twentieth century, it became increasingly evident that the Sultan, in spite of the Madrid Convention, was unable to maintain order and protect foreigners properly.  As the scramble for colonial possessions became more intense among the Powers, there was danger that one or another of them, probably France, would find reasons for intervening and depriving the Sultan of his independence, or his territories, or both.  The future of Morocco therefore became one of the most lively subjects of secret discussion among the diplomats of Europe.

Mr. Joseph Chamberlain broached the question very privately to the German Ambassador on November 3, 1899, suggesting a secret convention: Germany was to renounce all claims to the Mediterranean coasts of Morocco, including Tangier;  in return, “England could make Germany the most extensive concessions on the Atlantic coast.”(96)  Chamberlain, however, wanted the matter kept secret for the present from his Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.  Bülow was interested in the suggestion, and it was discussed behind Lord Salisbury’s back by the Kaiser on his visit to England a few weeks later.  But the Kaiser, foreshadowing the consistent attitude he adopted in the following years, had no great desire for German territorial acquisitions on the West coast or anywhere else in Morocco.  “He himself had never had great interest in this question,” he told Eckardstein, “and he had never understood why Germans placed such interest in it.”(97)  In spite of fresh misgivings aroused everywhere by the French occupation of Moroccan territory at Touat, in the spring of 1900, Chamberlain’s suggestion came to nothing, owing in part to Salisbury’s reserved and negative attitude.(98)

Bülow did not care to interfere in the Touat affair, “because today this would be equivalent to the possibility of a war with France.(99)  He adopted his usual prudent but sphinx-like policy of “wait and see.”  In spite of recurring rumors of possible Anglo-French and Franco-Spanish agreements contemplating a possible partition of Morocco, he maintained this attitude for nearly three years.(100)  Then on March 16, 1904, he received a telegram from the Kaiser, recounting a visit to King Alfonso at Vigo.  William II had congratulated the Spanish King upon the rumored Franco-Spanish arrangements for a partition of Morocco, and had declared that Germany wished no territorial acquisitions;  Germany wanted only the safeguarding of her commercial interests—“open ports, railway concessions, and the importation of manufactures;”  and perhaps by way of compensation the Spanish Island of Fernando Po in the Gulf of Guinea off the German Kamerun coast, for which Germany would pay generously.(101)  This declaration of German disinterestedness in Moroccan territory caused some dismay to Bülow and his Foreign Office colleagues, who had been inclined to think Germany might well secure some share of the disintegrating Sherifian Empire.  But the Kaiser’s declaration tied their hands.  In spite of the clamorings of Pan-Germans on the one hand, and of Anglo-French suspicions on the other, the Kaiser’s declaration laid down one of the guiding principles of German Moroccan policy in the following years.

Within a few days of the Vigo declaration, one of the Sultan’s officials cast into prison a Moroccan in German employ, without giving reasons to the German consul in accordance with custom.  The consul protested, but could get no satisfaction and no release for the imprisoned man, German officials suspected that the Sultan was being encouraged in his defiant attitude by the English or the French.  They were the more indignant because some months earlier a German citizen (Genthe) had been robbed and murdered in Morocco, and the Sultan had replied evasively to demands for an indemnity to the murdered man’s family.  Bülow and his German Foreign Office colleagues feared that unless energetic steps were taken, German prestige, and consequently German trade and influence in Morocco, would suffer seriously.  Bülow begged the Kaiser to consent to sending a German warship to Tangier to impress upon the Sultan the advisability of giving speedy satisfaction to German demands in these two matters.  But the Kaiser was unwilling to sanction such a demonstration.(102)  He knew that Anglo-French negotiations concerning Morocco were on the point of being signed, and wisely decided that sending a ship to Tangier just at this moment would arouse suspicion as to the genuineness of his Vigo declaration of Germany’s territorial disinterestedness.  He believed that,

“forceful pressure by Germany against Morocco ought to be considered only after our grievances against Morocco have been brought fully with the facts to the knowledge of the three Powers most interested in Morocco [England France and Spain].  It could then be pointed out that remedial measures against the attitude of the Moroccan Government lay in the interests, not of Germany alone, but of all Europeans, and that Germany would gladly have the support and cooperation of the three aforesaid Powers in restoring by proper measures the injured prestige of Europeans in Morocco.”(103)

Accordingly, in spite of arguments by Bülow, Lichnowsky, and German officials in Morocco, the Kaiser’s decision prevailed and no German naval demonstration took place.  But the Kaiser’s hope that disorders in Morocco could be dealt with through the friendly cooperation of all the Powers most directly concerned was vain.

At this very moment, Lord Lansdowne and M. Paul, Cambon, the French Ambassador in London, were signing the famous Anglo-French Convention of April 8, 1904, concerning Egypt and Morocco which has been indicated above.  Its “Public Articles” disclaimed, of course, intention of any altering the political status of Morocco, but at the same time “recognized that it appertained particularly to France to preserve order there”:

Art. I. [France gives England a free hand in Egypt as indicated above at note 90].

Art. II. The Government of the French Republic declare that they have no intention of altering the political status of Morocco.  His Britannic Majesty’s Government recognise that it appertains to France, more particularly as a Power whose dominions are coterminous for a great distance with those of Morocco, to preserve order in that country, and to provide assistance for the purpose of all administrative, economic, financial and military reforms which it may require.  They declare that they will not obstruct the action taken by France for this purpose, provided that such action shall leave intact the rights which Great Britain enjoys in Morocco in virtue of treaties, conventions and usage. . . .

Art. VIII. The two Governments, inspired by their sincere feeling of friendship for Spain, take into special consideration the interests which that country derives from her geographical position and her territorial possessions on the Moorish coast....

Art. IX. The two Governments agree to afford one another their diplomatic support, in order to obtain the execution of the clauses of the present declaration regarding Egypt and Morocco.

Important “Secret Articles,” however, contemplated an eventual partition of Morocco between France and Spain:

Art. II. [England has no present intention of proposing changes in Egypt, but, in case she should consider it desirable to introduce reforms, France] will not refuse to entertain any such proposals, on the understanding that His Britannic Majesty’s Government will agree to entertain the suggestions that the Government of the French Republic may have to make to them with a view of introducing similar reforms in Morocco.

Art. III. The two governments agree that a certain extent of Moorish territory adjacent to Melilla, Ceuta, and other présides should, whenever the Sultan ceases to exercise authority over it, come within the sphere of influence of Spain and the administration of the coast from Melilla as far as, but not including, the heights on the right bank of the Sebou shall be entrusted to Spain.

Nevertheless, Spain would . . . have to undertake not to alienate the whole, or a part, of the territories placed under her authority or in her sphere of influence.(104)

It is curious to note how casually Viscount Grey and M. Poincaré speak of these secret articles contemplating the partition of Morocco and seek to minimize their importance.  Grey says the agreement with France “was all made public except a clause or two of no importance.”(105)  It is characteristic of his psychology that when he has to deal with something disagreeable or repugnant, which does not fit in with his conception of things, he rationalizes it into thinking it “of no importance.”(106)  M. Poincaré likewise speaks of the secret Moroccan arrangement as destined to remain “temporarily” secret.(107)

Upon the announcement of the public articles, the Spanish professed to be furious:  they had not been consulted;  they had been treated as quantité négligeable;  this humiliation endangered their dynasty;  with clenched fists (prudently kept in his pocket), the Spanish Ambassador declared to Delcassé that “this Anglo-French Convention will have serious consequences and involve unforeseeable complications.”(108)  But Delcassé speedily bought off Spanish objections by providing that Spain should have her proper share when Morocco was partitioned.  By the Franco-Spanish Moroccan Convention of October 3, 1904, in secret articles, Spain gave her approval to the Anglo-French agreement of April 8, 1904, and both France and Spain piously declared that they would remain firmly committed to the integrity of the Moroccan Empire under the sovereignty of the Sultan.  But secret articles, which of course were communicated to Lord Lansdowne, frankly contemplated quite the opposite.

In delimiting the spheres of influence, the Spanish were to be given the northern coastal strip on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the French were to have the vast hinterland. The boundaries were virtually identical with those which were actually adopted for the French and Spanish protectorates which were arranged by M. Poincaré in 1912.(109)

It has been asserted by a German historian,(110) though without proof, that the German Government in some unofficial way speedily became informed of the secret articles, and saw in them an evidence of the hostile feeling which France had nurtured against her ever since 1870.  The assertion has been endorsed by Mr. Gooch(111) and others, but appears to be without foundation.  There is no tangible evidence in Die Grosse Politik that Germany was definitely acquainted at this time with the double-faced bargain which Lansdowne and Delcassé had made and in which Spain participated.  Had it been definitely known to Germany, it would surely be indicated in the recent German documents, as an evidence of Albion’s perfidy and Delcassé’s deviltry.  It was not necessary, however, for Germany to have been definitely told what had been done.  Given the knowledge of French ambitions and interests in Morocco, she could easily surmise the truth.  She correctly suspected that there was more to the Anglo-French agreements than met the eye in the published articles.  But though not without suspicions as to the fate awaiting Morocco, Bülow and Holstein seem chiefly to have suspected that France and England had made some secret deal in regard to the partition of China,(112) or had entered into some sort of an alliance aimed against Germany.(113)

Who were the originators of the Entente Cordiale and what were their motives? M.  Tardieu, who stood close to Delcassé and had good information, says, “The English King was the initiator of the rapprochement. He it was who both conceived and facilitated it while many still believed that the moment was premature.”(114)  Lord Cromer spoke of it as the “work of that very eminent diplomatist, His Majesty the King, and Lord Lansdowne.”(115)  That the main impulse to it came from the side of England and not France grew to be a very general opinion both in England and on the Continent, and it was certainly greeted with more general enthusiasm in England than in France.(116)  Tardieu, however, throughout his volume seems to over-emphasize England’s role and England’s advantages from the Moroccan agreement.  There is no doubt that Delcassé, from the moment he took charge of the French Foreign Office in 1898, had worked eagerly for the extension of French influence in Morocco.  He had made a treaty with Spain with this in view in 1900, but the treaty was bound to be abortive so long as the greatest Naval Power with large Moroccan interests did not give her consent.  Hence, one of his reasons for a rapprochement with England.  His Minister of Colonies, M. Etienne, and his London Ambassador, Paul Cambon, energetically supported him and were warmly seconded by Lord Lansdowne and Lord Cromer.

As to the motives, those on the English side were primarily somewhat as follows.  Having decided to abandon splendid isolation and having failed to receive a satisfactory response from Germany to Chamberlain’s alliance feelers, England naturally turned to France.  In view of the growing friction between Russia and Japan, ending in the outbreak of war between the two in February, 1904, and the fact that England was allied to Japan, and France to Russia, it was important to establish cordial relations with France to prevent the Russo-Japanese War from involving England and France against one another.  England desired to avoid the danger of having the war in the Far East spread to Europe.  She perhaps also wanted to forestall the possible renewal of the Triple combination of 1895 (Russia, Germany, France) for concerted pressure against Japan in the Far East.(117)  England sincerely desired to wipe off the slate the numerous causes of friction which had so frequently brought her to the verge of war with France in the past.(118)  Finally, and perhaps the most important, as Lord Cromer believes, was the desire for freedom of action in Egypt.  There is little conclusive evidence that at the outset England planned to isolate Germany or to encourage France to count on England for more than diplomatic support, and even this was to be limited to the case of Morocco.  On the other hand, there is much evidence that, within a few months, the Anglo-French Entente came to have a far wider significance inimical to the peace of Europe-partly owing to Germany’s clumsy and alarming diplomatic gestures.

On the French side the motives were in part somewhat the same.  The French were determined to avoid being involved in war on account of the ambitions of her Russian ally in the Far East.  They wished to end the longstanding friction with England.  They desired freedom of action in Morocco.  And they hoped to secure England as a friend, or possibly as an ally, in order to build up a combination of Powers, equal to, or stronger than, the Triple Alliance.  France had come painfully to realize that her alliance with Russia was of less value than she had anticipated, at the time of its formation, that it would be.  Russia had given her little or no support at Fashoda and on other critical occasions, and now she appeared to be so involved in the Far East as to be of little support to France in case of a Franco-German war.  Delcassé had no thought of abandoning the alliance with Russia, but he believed that close relations with England would help to compensate France for the lessened value of the Franco-Russian alliance.

By 1904 Delcassé had thus bought off the Moroccan claims of Italy and England, by promising these countries a free hand in Tripoli and Egypt respectively, and he had satisfied Spain with a sphere of influence in northern Morocco.  He assumed that he could now proceed leisurely to the “pacific penetration” of the rest of the Sherifian Empire without paying any attention to the natural claims of Germany.  He believed that France at last had risen to such a strong diplomatic position, with Russia as an ally and England as a friend, that she could risk ignoring the country which had seized Alsace-Lorraine and long dominated Europe.(119)  In this he was mistaken.  He was grievously mistaken.  As a French critic has well said, “With incredible blindness the Government took precautions with everybody, except the only one of its neighbors whom it had serious cause to fear.”(120)  And as Mr. Gooch has justly pointed out, “It is regrettable that the British Cabinet did not perceive—or at any rate did not help France to perceive—the wisdom of securing German consent by a solartium.  Though the Secret Treaties of 1904 reserved no share for Great Britain in the contingent partition of Morocco, and though it has been argued that it was reasonable for the contracting parties to make alternative arrangements in the event of Morocco collapsing from internal weakness, our share in the transaction which suggested double-dealing involves the British Government in partial responsibility for the crises of 1905 and 1911.”(121)


1. On the so-called “Bulgarian Documents” and their alleged forgery, see G.P., V. 338-350, and J.V. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at its Zenith, pp. 205 ff;  292 ff.

2. Quoted in Robertson, Bismarck, p. 460.

3. G.P., V, 330-337;  Fuller, p. 202 ff.

4. Cf. Debidour, Histoire Diplomatique de l’Europe, 1878-1916 (2nd, td., Paris., 1917-1918), I. 130 f.

5. Debidour, I, 137, reckons the total borrowings in France by the Russian Government up to 1906 at the enormous sum of 7,903,000,000 francs.  These Russian government bonds did not include other vast sums which French private capitalists invested in Russian cotton mills, lumber mills, factories, and other undertakings of all sorts.

6. Livre Jaune:  L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 49.  This French Yellow Book, published in 1918, is the authoritative source for the early history of the Franco-Russian Alliance, and renders antiquated the older accounts of Cyon, Hansen, Daudet, Albin, Debidour, Tardieu, and Welschinger.  The best recent brief studies are by L.B. Packard, “Russia and the Dual Alliance,” in Amer. Hist. Rev., XXV, 391-410, April, 1920;  and by W.L. Langer, “The Franco-Russian Alliance,” in the Slavonic Review, III, 554-575;  IV, 83-100, March-June, 1925.  See also G.P., VI, 91-124;  VII, 191-458;  the Belgian documents edited under the direction of B. Schwertfeger by W. Köhler, Revanche-Idee and Panslawismus, Berlin, 1919;  and, for the later history of the alliance, George Michon, L’Alliance Franco-Russe, 1891-1917, Paris, 1927.

7. G.P., VII, 263 ff;  Debidour, I, 165-168.

8. The Russians had at first been alarmed at the Kaiser’s efforts at reconciliation with France, and were delighted with the outburst against the Empress Frederick, in which they were suspected by the German Ambassador in Paris of having had a hand.  The Tsar took advantage of the favorable opportunity to flatter the French by conferring the Order of St. Andrew upon President Carnot, who returned the compliment by bestowing the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor upon the Russian Ambassador in Paris.  G.P., VII, 196-201.

9. G.P., VIII, 3-25.

10. Cf. Goriainov, pp. 348-349.

11. Laboulaye, the French Ambassador to Russia, to Ribot, August 24, 1890; L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 1.

12. Ribot to Laboulaye, March 9, 1891;  L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 3.

13. Art. IX of the Triple Alliance Treaty of May 6, 1891. Cf. Pribram, pp. 66, 208-229;  and G.P., VII, 53-106;  VIII, 41-72.

14. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 3.

15. Cf. Langer, pp. 14-17.

16. Cf. the sarcastic comments of the Belgian minister in St. Petersburg, Schwertfeger, V, 295-300.

17. Les origines de la Guerre, p. 55;  cf. also Tardieu, France and the Alliances, pp. 11-14.

18. Ribot to Laboulaye, July 24, 1891;  L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 4.

19. Russian formula, confirmed by Ribot, Aug. 27, 1891;  L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 16.

20. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 39.

21. Ibid., p. 39.

22. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 94;  cf. also pp. 66, 72, 87, 91 ff., 103 ff.

112 ff.

23. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 2; cf. also pp. 50, 54, 69, 90 ff., 99 ff., 114.

24. G.P., VII, 389-458.

25. Montebello to Giers, Dec. 23, 1893;  Jan. 4, 1894;  ibid., p. 128. “I have received your letter ... in which you advise me that ... the draft of the Military Convention ... may be considered henceforth definitely adopted. ... The French Government likewise considers the aforesaid Military Convention, the text of which has been approved by both parties, as executory henceforth. In consequence of this agreement, the two Staffs shall have power immediately to deliberate at any time and to communicate to each other all the information which may be useful to them.”

26. Poincaré, Les Origines de la Guerre, p. 60.

27. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 92.

28. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, passim. At one point in the negotiations Alexander III wished to insert a clause that the treaty would be nullified if France provoked a war;  but he renounced the idea when General Boisdeffre pointed out that “it was concluded for a defensive war”;  ibid., p. 91.

29. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 56.

30. L’Alliance Franco-Russe, p. 95 f.

31. For some of the Franco-Russian military conversations and protocols for the years 1900-1907, see A. Zaiontchkovski, “Relations Franco-Russes avant la Guerre de 1914,” in Les Alliés contre la Russie, Paris, 1926, pp. 8-43;  for the years 1911-1913, M.F.R., 697-718;  and L.N., II, 419-437.

32. Art. I of the ninth annual conference of French and Russian Staff officers, Aug., 1913; M.F.R., p. 712;  L.N., II, 432.

33. Cf. G.P., VII, 261-343;  IX, 335-425;  even as late as December, 1895, Count Münster was still convinced that “Russia’s love [for France] is only Platonic.  Platonic love usually ends in hate”;  G.P., IX, 423.  Even as late as December, 1898, after the Fashoda Affair, Count Eulenburg, the German Ambassador at Vienna and an intimate friend of the Kaiser’s, “felt sure there was no formal alliance”, and was convinced that France could not count on Russia in any Egyptian or other African quarrel;  Rumbold to Salisbury, Dec. 5, 1898;  British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1914-1918, I, p. 102.

34. See below at note 40.

35. Bourgeois et Pagès, pp. 248-253;  G.P., IX, 241-333.

36. G.P., XV, 406 note, 499-550;  XVII, 105, 222 f.;  XXIV, 173;  Bourgeois et Pagès, pp. 286-289;  Sidney Lee, King Edward VII, I, 761-773. According to the current Anglo-French version, the Kaiser instigated the mediation proposal, and then sought to lay the odium of it on France and Russia;  according to the documents in G.P., the reverse is the fact—Russia originated it, and the French and the Russians then sought to put the odium of the proposal on Germany.  Certainly the formal proposals were first made to Germany by Russia.  Whether Muraviev or the Kaiser was the original Machiavellian instigator of this business can hardly be determined with certainty until the Russian despatches referred to by Lee are published in more complete form and subjected to comparison with those in Die Grosse Politik. The recent British Documents (I, 235 ff., 247 f.) seem to confirm the German contention that Muraviev first initiated the mediation proposal.

37. G.P., XV, 186. On this whole conference, where Germany’s bluntness caused her to be somewhat unduly blamed for the thwarting of the Tsar’s suggestions for the limitations of armaments, see ibid., XV, 141 364;  Andrew D. White, Autobiography, II, chs. 45-49;  F.W. Holls, The Peace Conference at the Hague, N. Y., 1900;  W.J. Hull, The Two Hague Conferences, Boston, 1908;  P. Zorn, Die beiden Haager Friedenskonferenzen, Stuttgart, 1915;  Ch. Meurer, Die Haager Friedenskonferenz, 2 vols., München, 1905-07;  J.B. Scott, The Hague Peace Conferences, 2 vols. Baltimore, 1909;  E.J. Dillon, The Eclipse of Russia, ch. 14.

38. G.P., IV, 1-14, 376-419;  Lady Cecil, Life of Robert, Marquis of Salisbury, II, 364-69; cf. also M. Ritter, Bismarcks Verhältnis zu England und die Politik des Neuen Kurses, Berlin, 1924;  H. Rothfels, Bismarcks Englische Bündnispolitik, Berlin, 1924;  F. Frahm, “England and Russland in Bismarcks Bündnispolitik,” in Archiv f. Pol. u. Gesch., V, Heft 4, 365-431 (1927).

39. G.P., IV, 261-376;  Pribram, pp. 36-42.

40. G.P., VIII, 428-475;  for a somewhat different Viscount Grey, Twenty-five Years, 1892-1916, I, 21 f.

41. G.P., VIII, 103-112;  Grey, I, 12-15.

42. Grey, I, 9-11;  G.P., VIII, 143-235, especially 185 ff;  and XIV, 451-464;  E.M. Earle, Turkey, the Great Powers, and the Bagdad Railway (N.Y., 1923), ch. iii.

43. Grey, II, 11.

44. G.P., X, 1-41, 76 f., 111-114. The German documents indicate the incorrectness of Sir Valentine Chirol’s contention (London Times, Sept. 11, 13, 1920) that the partition proposal came first from the German and not from the English side;  they also correct many of Eckardstein’s legendary assertions in his Erinnerungen (I, 207 ff.;  II, 284;  III, 12ff.) concerning the Cowes conversations of 1895. Cf. also R.J. Sontag, “The Cowes Interview and the Kruger Telegram”, in Political Science Quarterly, XL, 217 ff. (June, 1925);  and E.N. Johnson and J.D. Bickford, “The Contemplated Anglo-German, Alliance, 1890-1901,” in Political Science Quarterly, XLII, 10 ff. (March, 1927).

44a. Salisbury to O’Conor, Jan. 25, 1898;  British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1914-1918 (London, 1927), I, p. 8. The story of this British offer to Russia was first revealed in detail, ibid., pp. 5-41, though the Kaiser got an inkling of it from the Tsar (see below, at note 50).

45. G.P., XIV, 193-199, 212-216;  Eckardstein, I, 292 ff. At a shooting party in January, 1898, the Kaiser had already suggested to the British Military Attaché the desirability of such an alliance, which he said he had been striving after for eight years but had met with no response.  At a luncheon at Friedrichshof in August he repeated the suggestion to the British Ambassador.  But at a dinner in December he concurred with the Ambassador that “there was certainly no necessity for a formal alliance”, because if it became advisable for them to act in common the arrangements could be made in twenty-four hours;  British Documents, I, pp. 69, 100-105.  The editors of the British Documents state (p. 101) that these are the only references to the proposals of 1898 for an Anglo-German alliance which they have been able to find in the Foreign Office Archives.  This extraordinary fact that the British archives contain no mention of the Chamberlain proposal suggests that this was his own personal venture rather than any official move on the part of the British Cabinet.

46. G.P., XIV, 202.

47. G.P., XIV, 199-249;  see also pp. 337-344.

48. M. Semenoff, Correspondance entre Guillaume II et Nicolas 11, 1894-1914 (Paris, 1924), pp. 38-42;  Briefs Wilhelm II an den Zaren 1894-1914 (ed. W. Goetz), Berlin, 1920, p. 309 ff.

49. G.P., XI, 67-92, XIII, 63, 89;  XIV, XIX-XXI, passim;  and Willy-Nicky Correspondence, passim.

50. G.P., XIV, 250 f.;  Semenoff, p. 42, note, confirming the truth of the Tsar’s statement says a British note to Russia of Feb. 12, 1898, formulated the conceptions of the British Cabinet concerning the delimitation of Russian and English spheres of influence both in Turkey and China.  Russia was to enjoy freedom of action in Northern, and England in Southern, China;  for O’Conor’s note of Feb. 12 to Muraviev, see British Documents, I, p. 12.

51. G.P., XIV, 347-355;  for the negotiations, see pp. 259-367;  Eckardstein, II, 205ff.;  and British Documents, I, pp. 44-73.

52.   British Documents, I, pp. 74-99;  G.P., XV, 429;  XVII, 17 ff., 34 ff., 85. Brandenburg, p. 133, is incorrect in stating that the so-called Windsor Treaty was signed during the visit of King Carlos in the spring of 1899.

53.   British Documents, II, pp. 1-31;  G.P., XVI, 197-491;  XVII, 85, 103;  Eckardstein, II, 201-203, 210-223;  0. Franke, Die Grossmächte in Ostasien (Hamburg, 1923), pp. 149-177.

54. The details can easily be found in G.P., XV, 410-426;  XVII, 1-118;  Eckardstein, Lebenserinnerungen, passim;  Brandenburg, pp. 114-155;  G.P. Gooch, History of Modern Europe, 1898-1919, pp. 310-332;  and E. Fischer, Holsteins grosses Nein, Berlin, 1925. Fischer however fails to note adequately Germany’s reasons for distrusting England, and, wise by later events, condemns unduly the German failure to come to an understanding with England.  The same criticism may also be made of E.N. Johnson and J.D. Bickford, “The Contemplated Anglo-German Alliance: 1890-1901”, in Political Science Quarterly, XLII, 1-57 (Mar. 1927).  The fact that the new British Documents contain practically nothing on the Chamberlain proposals of 1899 indicates that again, as in 1898, he was making a private venture and not representing the official policy of the Cabinet;  this tends to justify the German scepticism as to the real possibility of an Anglo-German Alliance.  See also Friedrich Meinecke, Geschichte der Deutsch-Englischen Bündnisproblems, 1890-1901, Berlin, 1927.

55. G.P., XV, 413-420.

56. Quoted by Gooch, p, 311.

57. Lebenserinnerungen, II, 107, 111, 124.  A current, but inaccurate and misleading English version of this unfortunate Chamberlain-Bülow episode is given by H.H. Asquith, The Genesis of the War (N.Y., 1923), pp, 43-49.

58. G.P., XVII, 16-19, 53, 67, 115, 221-224, 297, 316 f. Eckardstein, II,

337f., 397 ff. According to the Germans, the initiative in reopening these negotiations in March, 1901, came from the British;  according to the British Documents, II, pp. 60-88, it came from the Germans.  For Lord Salisbury’s memorandum condemning the inclusion of England in the Triple Alliance, ibid., II, 68 f.

59. The German Government realized from the outset that the cause of the Boers was hopeless, and that Germany was impotent to help them owing to the lack of any adequate German fleet.  The German Government had therefore tried to dissuade Kruger from defying England to the point of war.  Later, the Kaiser refused to receive Kruger on his mission to Europe, and refused to join in Russian and French mediation projects.  (G.P., XV, 367-437, and note 35 above).

60. G.P., XIX, 353-380:  “Das erste Deutsch-Englische ‘War Scare’, Nov. Dec., 1904,” with the quotation (p. 354) from Vanity Fair of Nov. 17, 1904 about “the precedent of Copenhagen in 1807.”  This was just after Sir John Fisher bad “purged the navy of obsolete vessels” and carried out other revolutionary reforms to make the British navy more effective; see his Memories and Records, 11, 128-153; he himself admits (ibid., I, 22) that in 1908 he urged King Edward to “Copenhagen” the German Navy, while England had seven dreadnoughts and Germany had none. Cf. B.E. Schmitt, England and Germany, 17.40-1914, pp. 178-182, 205207.  For an excellent summary of the broad aspects of Anglo-German relations during the decades after Bismarck, see Friedrich Meinecke, Geschichte des Deutsch-Englischen Bündnisproblems, 1890-1901, Berlin, 1927.

61. Cf. the play, “An Englishman’s Home.”

62. Cf. Bülow to the Kaiser, who was visiting at Osborne, Jan. 21, 1901:  “Your Majesty is quite right in feeling that the English must come to us.  They have just lost a good deal of hair in Africa; America is uncertain;  Japan is not to be depended upon;  France is filled with hate;  Russia is perfidious;  public opinion in all countries is hostile. ... At present it is beginning gradually to dawn on the mind of the English that they will not be able merely by their own power to hold their World Empire against so many opponents.

“Now the important thing is neither to discourage the English, nor yet allow ourselves to be bound by them prematurely.  The English difficulties will increase still further in the coming months, and with them will increase the price which we can demand.  We ought not to show England too great eagerness, which would only increase the English demands and diminish our chances of gain;  but at the same time we ought to maintain the English in their conviction that we desire the continuance of a powerful England;  that we believe in the solidarity of Anglo-German political, cultural, and also commercial, interests;  and therefore that we shall in time be ready for this or that agreement with England if we receive proper treatment from the English side. ... The English threat of an understanding with the Dual Alliance is a spectre invented to frighten us, which the English have used for years”;  G.P. XVII, 20 f.

63. G.P., XVII, 1-129. passim;  XVIII, 510;  XX, 15.

64. On the curious psychology of “the most brilliant failure in history”, as Edward VII called his nephew, see the by no means friendly or sympathetic accounts of Emil Ludwig, Wilhelm der Zweite (Berlin, 1925);  especially pp. 174-198, 218-265, for the Kaiser’s baneful influence on Anglo-German relations;  and [F.C. Endres], Die Tragödie Deutschlands (Leipzig, 1922;  3rd ed., Stuttgart, 1924), pp. 121-148, with extensive bibliography.

65. Art. I of the Austro-Italian Treaty of 1887, which was embodied as “Art. VII” in the Triple Alliance Treaty of 1891 and its subsequent renewals;  Pribram, pp. 44, 66, 94, 99f., 103, and 175-304, passim;  G.P., IV, 179-260; VII, 51-123; XI, 267-300;  XVIII, 499-647, 681-759;  XXI, 351-419;  XXX, 493-579;  and Crispi, Memoirs, III, 301-349.

66. Arts. I and III of the Italo-German Treaty of 1887, embodied as Arts. VI and X in the Triple Alliance Treaty of 1891 and subsequent renewals.

67. Art. IX of the Triple Alliance Treaty of 1891 and subsequent renewals.

68. Crispi’s report of a French official statement, Feb., 9, 1896;  G.P., XI, 288.

69. Livre Jaune:  Les Accords franco-italiens de 1900-1902 (Paris, 1920), pp. 1-4; Pribram, The Secret Treaties of Austria-Hungary, 1879-1914, ed. Coolidge, II, 227, 240-245.

70. G.P., XVIII, 730 ff.

71. Barrère to Delcassé, May 8, 1902;  Les Accords franco-italiens, p. 5.

72. Delcassé to Barrère, June 18, 1902;  Les Accords franco-italiens, p. 6.

73. Barrère to Delcassé, Nov. 1, 1902;  Les Accords franco-italiens, 7-9.

74. This is the aspect of the affair which Barrère gave to Poincaré in 1912, Les Accords franco-italiens, 11-14;  it was, he said, not “a counter-treaty but a counterpart of the Triple Alliance.”

75. Les Accords franco-italiens, 7.

76. Even such a stout champion of France and severe critic of Germany as Pagès admits that Italy’s new promise to France was “difficilement conciliable” with her prior obligation to Germany;  Bourgeois et Pagès, p. 301, note 1.

77. Livre Noir, I, 365.

78. G.P., XVIII, 615.

79. G.P., XVIII, 616-636.

80. G.P., XX, 37-64.

81. Monts to Bülow, May 6, 1904; G.P., XX, 69.

82. G.P., XX, 81-95.

83. Bülow to the Kaiser, Mar. 5, 1905;  GP., XX, 95.

84. Bülow, Deutsche Politik, Berlin, 1913;  Eng. trans. Imperial Germany, N.Y., 1914, p. 59.

85. Pribram, pp. 263-4;  Pribram-Coolidge, II, 135-6.

86. G.P., XXI, 353.

87. Cf. Sir Thomas Barclay, Thirty Years of Anglo-French Reminiscences, 1876-1906, London, 1914, pp. 175-229, 340-354. British Documents, II, 261, 289 ff., 318f.

88. Quoted by Gooch, History of Modern Europe, 1878-1919, pp. 338-339. Cf. also Sidney Lee, King Edward VII, II, 221 ff.

89. Cromer, Modern Egypt, ch. 48. For Lord Cromer’s active influence on the Anglo-French negotiations, see British Documents, II, 298 ff., 323, 332 f., 339 f., 354 ff., 364, 400.

90. Art. I of the convention concerning Egypt and Morocco. For the text of the Anglo-French Conventions see the British Blue Book of 1904 (Cd. 1952) and the French Livre Jaune of 1904, Accords conclus le 8 avril, 1904 . . . au sujet du Maroc, de l’Egypte, de Terre Neuve, etc.;  for the secret articles, first revealed in the Paris Temps, in 1911, see the English Blue Book, Treaty Series, 1911 (Cd. 5969);  E.D. Morel, Morocco in Diplomacy, London, 1912, p. 234ff.; Amer. Jour. of International Law, VI (1912), supplement, pp. 26ff;  and British Documents, II, 374-407.

91. For the negotiations to secure Germany’s assent, see G.P., XX, 121-165.

92. G.P., XX, 33.

93. Amer. Jour. of International Law, VI (1912), supplement, pp. 18-24.

94. The mournful tale of them is to be found in the despatches in the French Livre Jaune: Affaires du Maroc (Paris, 1905), passim.

95. Sir Thomas Barclay, well informed, as to the relative commercial interests of the various nations, says:  “As it is still currently supposed in both England and France that Germany’s brusque entry upon the scene was more or less gratuitous and that she intervened in view of possible interests to come, I may mention as explanatory facts that Germany had considerable interests in Morocco, in some respects greater interests than France.  In 1901 the tonnage of ships calling at Moroccan ports was 434,000 for Great Britain, 260,000 for Germany, 239,000 for France, and 198,000 for Spain.  At all ports, except Safi, England is an ‘easy first’, but as between France and Germany the latter is ahead at Casablanca, much ahead at Mazagan, and overwhelmingly ahead at Safi.  At Mogador Germany shows a tonnage of 44,000 against France with 24,000.  As regards imports into Morocco, Great Britain in 1901 stood first with 24,000,000f., against France with 10,000,000f., and Germany and Belgium with 3,000,000 f., each.  Spain could only show 600,000 f.  Of exports from Morocco, Great Britain received 12,000,000 f., France 6,000,000 f., Spain 5,000,000 f., and Germany 4,000,000 f.  Germany’s interest, it is seen, was substantial, and among Morocco ports Mazagan and Mogador were places at which Germany was developing a considerable Morocco trade”;  Barclay, Thirty Years Anglo-French Reminiscences, p. 276.

96. G.P., XVII, 297.

97. Eckardstein, H, 93.

98. G.P., XVII, 299-323.

99. G.P., XVII, 331.

100. May, 1901, to March, 1904;  G.P., XVII, 332-363.

101. G.P., XVII, 383-5;  XX, 268.

102. Bülow to the Kaiser, Mar. 30, 1904;  GP., XX, 197-199.

103. April 3, 1904;  G.P., XX, 200.

104. See note 90 above.

105. Twenty-Five Years, I, 49.

106. So, for instance, in explaining the omission from the report of his speech in Parliament on Aug. 3, 1914, of the last sentence in his 1912 note to Paul Cambon, Grey says, “Perhaps I thought the last sentence unimportant”;  ibid., II, 17.  Similarly he continually seeks to minimize the political importance of the vital naval and military “conversations” carried on with France in the following years.

107. Au Service de la France, I, 107.

108. Report of Prince Radolin, German Ambassador at Paris, April 29, 1904;  G.P., XX, 169;  cf. pp. 170-194 for the cautious German attitude during the ensuing Franco-Spanish negotiations.

109. Cf. Poincaré, I, 106-118.

110. Veit Valentin, Deutschlands Aussenpolitik (Berlin, 1921), p. 54.

111. Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, III, 340;  cf. also G. Lowes Dickinson, The International Anarchy, p. 124.

112. G.P., XIX, 548.

113. G.P., XX, 16, 27-30, 599-698.

114. Tardieu, France and the Alliances, p. 60.

115. Speech on receiving the freedom of the City of London, Oct. 28, 1907;  Annual Register, 1907, p. 242.

116. Cf. J. A. Farrer, England Under Edward VII, pp. 89-94. See, however, Lee, King Edward VII, II, 216-257, and the recent British Documents, II, 253-407, which show that King Edward’s influence has commonly been exaggerated, and that the chief initiative came from Delcassé and the French.

117. According to the belief of Bernstorff, German Chargé d’Affaires in London, which was at first shared by Bülow and the Kaiser, this was a strong English motive in the rapprochement with France;  G.P., XX, 14-21;  and also 23, 31, 173.

118. Grey, I, 48 ff., emphasizes this motive.

119. Tardieu, France and the Alliances, pp. 178-182.

120. R. Millet, Notre Politique exterieure, p. 224.

121. Gooch, Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, III, 340.