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FRICTION BETWEEN THE RIVAL GROUPS
It has already been shown that England was drawn into a friendship with France and Russia because of the friction that had developed between her Government and that of Germany. During the decade preceding the war, occasions of dispute also arose between the other members of the Triple Entente-Russia and France --and the Triple Alliance powers. The most serious of these quarrels were those between Russia and Austria over the Balkans and France and Germany over Morocco. Germany was in favor of the “open-door” policy with reference to Morocco and was opposed to the arrangement provided for by the agreement of 1904 between Great Britain and France. She did not, however, protest against this arrangement, probably because she felt that the odds against her were too strong for her to risk a war; but in the next year, after Russia had suffered great defeats at the hands of Japan, she concluded that the opportunity had come for her to declare her disapproval of the French Moroccan policy. On March 31, 1905, the German Emperor stopped at Tangier on his way to Constantinople and made a speech. He declared that the Sultan of Morocco was an independent ruler and that all nations had equal rights and should enjoy equal opportunities in his dominions. This was a challenge to France, but the latter country was not in a position to take it up owing to the weakness that her ally, Russia, was then exhibiting. The question was referred to an international congress held at Algeciras, Spain (1906). Great Britain and Italy supported France in the congress, and France won a diplomatic victory. It was decided that the merchants and investors of all the signatory powers were to have equal opportunities in Morocco but that France and Spain were to supervise the policing of the country. The result of Germany's attitude was to strengthen the friendly feeling between England and France.
In 1908 another occasion of dispute arose between France and Germany in Morocco. Six soldiers under the control of the French deserted at Casablanca and appealed to the German consul for protection. Three of these soldiers were of German nationality. The German consul, thinking that all were Germans, gave them a safe-conduct to a German ship. The French officials disregarded this safe-conduct and arrested the soldiers before they could
embark. Germany protested most vigorously against this action, claiming that it violated her right to protect through her consuls German subjects in Morocco. France conceded to Germany the right to protect her nationals in Morocco, but contended that this right could not be exercised in such a way as to deprive her military officials of authority over their soldiers. The difficulty was settled by referring the questions in dispute to The Hague Tribunal.
Germany and France also signed a convention in 1909, by the terms of which Germany agreed to cease her opposition to French political supremacy in Morocco and France agreed to “safeguard the economic equality" of all countries in the Sultan's dominions. This agreement, however, was not approved by the political leaders in Germany and Von Bülow, who negotiated it, was superseded as chancellor by Von Bethmann-Hollweg. The new chancellor was opposed to the convention and determined to annul it as soon as a proper occasion should arise. The opportunity came in 1911, when France sent troops to occupy Fez, the Moroccan capital. In July of this same year Germany sent a warship to the port of Agidir, declaring that its presence was necessary for the protecion of the interests of German capitalists. At the same time she stated
that the "warship would be withdrawn as soon as conditions were sufficiently settled to admit of French withdrawal from Fez."'i Both countries began preparations for war, and Great Britain announced that France could count on her support. The trouble, however, was settled by another convention (November, 1911) between Germany and France. By this second agreement, the “open-door” policy in Morocco was guaranteed by France and her political supremacy was recognized by Germany. The latter nation was also given a part of the French Congo.
The long controversy over Morocco was thus finally settled but in a way that was unsatisfactory to both parties. The French were displeased because they had lost a part of their territory and had gained nothing but a recognition of a right which they already had been exercising. Germany, too, was disappointed in not being able to win a port on the Moroccan coast. She also considered that her "position as a world power” had been jeopardized "by the joint machinations of the French and the British.” 2 The friendship between England and France had been strengthened as well as the hostility between Germany and her rivals; and thus the Moroccan question in passing left behind a legacy of jealousy and hatred between 1 Hayes, II, 705.
2 Hayes, 706.
the Entente and its enemies that foreboded greater trouble in the future.
Although Morocco had thus been eliminated as a source of trouble, still the peace of Europe was being threatened from another quarter. A growing friction between the rival groups had developed over the Balkan situation. To understand this situation it is necessary to review briefly some of the events out of which it has grown.
There were many different peoples in the Balkan peninsula at the time it was overrun by the Turks. Of these the most important were the Serbs, the Bulgars, the Albanians, the Rumanians, and the Greeks. The Turks ruled these subject races very harshly and unjustly, extorting from them exorbitant and at times almost ruinous taxes and subjecting them to all sorts of cruel indignities. They were, however, permitted to retain their religion, their civil laws, and in large measure the right of local self-government. They had their own magistrates and thus controlled the local administration. These concessions helped to keep alive national sentiment among the subject peoples, and furnished them with a governmental machinery that could be employed against their oppressors when the opportunity for revolt should arise. The Turkish Government was
3 Hazen, Europe Since 1815, 603.