HST 504 – Week 2
First and Second Moroccan Crisis
Kaiser Wilhelm II
The Blame Game: Origins of the Great War
- contended that the war aims of the imperial German government and its widespread supporters were
- The Second Reich had planned and pursued a grandiose plan to assume control over most of Europe, North
Africa and the Middle East.
- Since the beginning of the early 1890s, the German military, economic and political elites had supported a
strategy that promoted the acquisition of new territories, sources of raw materials and markets.
Great Power Status
- Firstly, colonial acquisitions came to be perceived as the most genuine indication of having achieved Great
- Public opinion encouraged the belief that only through the establishment of a vast empire could a state really
fulfill its nationhood.
- These ideas were often fuelled by the press and various colonial associations, clubs and societies.
- Many emerging ideologies concluded that a state would acquire colonies or it would cease to exist.
- Secondly, many of the Great Powers felt the consequences of imperial overstretch.
- In the Second Anglo-Boer War, the British forces managed to defeat the rebels in open warfare, and then by
suppressing the guerrilla campaign.
- However, the conflict lasted three years, required the use of thousands of troops from the home isles and
colonies, and revealed many of Britain’s weaknesses (e.g., military ineffectiveness).
- Thereafter, Britain became especially obsessed with national security.
- She abandoned splendid isolation and sought allies (such as France, Russia and Japan) and became overly
sensitive to the aspirations of others (such as Germany).
Old Timers vs. Latecomers
- Thirdly, there were tensions between established colonial powers and the latecomers.
- The French and the British became the victors of the Scramble for Africa, creating vast empires.
- Others, such as Italy and Germany, struggled to acquire political and economic influence. - After its unification, Italy began its imperial venture in the 1870s, reawakening the nostalgia of the Roman
- But her acquisition of the Ottoman province of Tunisia was thwarted by the French, pushing Italy into the
Triple Alliance (with Germany and Austria-Hungary), increasing militarism and national ambitions.
- By the 1880s, the Italians turned to East Africa, creating Italian Somaliland, and by the mid-1890s, as their
ambitions expanded, declaring war on Ethiopia.
- The humiliating defeat by the Ethiopian forces was only avenged by the war with the Ottoman Empire in
1911, which gave Italy control over Libya.
Instability in International Relations
- Lastly, imperial rivalry stimulated instability in international relations in Europe.
- Although globalization promoted peace by making war more expensive, international trade more beneficial,
societies more democratic, and countries more constrained in reaching for military force, imperial rivalry was
a major cause of the First World War.
- The Franco-German rivalry over Morocco and the Russo-Austrian competition in the Balkans pushed the