World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Agadir Crisis

Agadir Crisis
Part of Causes of World War I

A column of French troops on the move in a tented encampment in Morocco, March 30, 1912.
Date April 1911
Location Morocco
Result Treaty of Fez: France establishes a full protectorate over Morocco (March 30, 1912)
Events leading to World War I
Triple Alliance 1882
Franco-Russian Alliance 1894
Anglo-German naval arms race 1898–1912
Entente cordiale 1904
First Moroccan Crisis 1905–06
Anglo-Russian Entente 1907
Bosnian crisis 1908–09
Agadir Crisis 1911
Italo-Turkish War 1911–12
Balkan Wars 1912–13
Assassination of Franz Ferdinand 1914
July Crisis 1914

The Agadir Crisis (also called the Second Moroccan Crisis or the Panthersprung) was the international tension sparked by the deployment of a substantial force of French troops in the interior of Morocco in April 1911. Germany reacted by sending the gunboat SMS Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir, on 1 July 1911.


  • Background 1
  • Events 2
    • Moroccan Rebellion 2.1
    • The Panther 2.2
    • British involvement 2.3
    • German financial crisis 2.4
    • Negotiations 2.5
  • Aftermath 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


France's pre-eminence in Morocco had been upheld by the 1906 Algeciras Conference, following the First Moroccan Crisis of 1905–1906.

Anglo-German tensions were high at this time, partly due to an arms race between Imperial Germany and Great Britain, including German efforts to build a fleet two thirds the size of Britain's.

Germany's move was aimed at testing the relationship between Britain and France, and possibly intimidating Britain into an alliance with Germany.[1] Germany was also enforcing compensation claims, for acceptance of effective French control of Morocco.


Moroccan Rebellion

In 1911, a rebellion broke out in Morocco against the Sultan, Abdelhafid. By early April, the Sultan was besieged in his palace in Fez. The French prepared to send troops to help put down the rebellion, under the pretext of protecting European lives and property, dispatching a flying column at the end of April. On 8 June, the Spanish army occupied Larache, and three days later Ksar-el-Kebir.

The Panther

On 1 July, the German gunboat SMS Panther arrived at the port of Agadir, under the pretext of protecting German trade interests. The larger Bremen-class cruiser SMS Berlin arrived days later, replacing the gunboat.[2] A German civilian, Hermann Wilberg, seventy miles to the north, journeyed south to be rescued only to arrive three days after the Panther.[3] There was an immediate reaction from the French and the British.

British involvement

The British government attempted to restrain France from adopting hasty measures and to dissuade her from sending troops to Fez, but failed. In April, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey wrote "what the French contemplate doing is not wise, but we cannot under our agreement interfere."[4] He felt that his hands were tied and that he must support France.

The British became worried by Panther's arrival in Morocco. The Royal Navy had a naval base in Gibraltar, in the south of Spain. They believed the Germans meant to turn Agadir into a naval base on the Atlantic.[5] Britain sent battleships to Morocco, in case war broke out. As in the First Moroccan Crisis, British support of France showed the strength of the Entente Cordiale.

German financial crisis

In the midst of this crisis, Germany was hit by financial turmoil. The stock market plunged by 30 percent in a single day,[6] the public started cashing in currency notes for gold and there was a run on the banks. The Reichsbank lost a fifth of its gold reserves in one month. It was rumored this crisis had been orchestrated by the French finance minister.[6] Faced with the possibility of being driven off the gold standard, the Kaiser backed down and let the French take over most of Morocco.


On 7 July, the German ambassador in Paris informed the French government that Germany had no territorial aspirations in Morocco, and would negotiate for a French protectorate on the basis of "compensation" for Germany in the French Congo region and the safeguarding of her economic interests in Morocco. The German terms, as presented on 15 July, while containing an offer to cede the northern part of Kamerun and Togoland, demanded from France the whole of the French Congo from the Sangha River to the sea, to which was later added the transfer of France's right to the preemption of the Belgian Congo.

On 21 July, Mansion House speech in which he declared that national honour was more precious than peace: "If Britain is treated badly where her interests are vitally affected, as if she is of no account in the cabinet of nations, then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure." The speech was interpreted by Germany as a warning that she could not impose an unreasonable settlement on France.[7]

By 4 November, Franco-German negotiations on the Treaty of Fez had led to a convention under which Germany accepted France's position in Morocco in return for territory in the French Equatorial African colony of Middle Congo (now the Republic of the Congo). This 275,000 km2 territory, known as Neukamerun, became part of the German colony of Kamerun. The area is partly marshland (where sleeping sickness was widespread), but gave Germany an outlet on the Congo River. Germany ceded to France a small area of territory to the southeast of Fort Lamy (now part of Chad).


France, subsequently established a full protectorate over Morocco (30 March 1912), ending what remained of that country's formal independence.

Rather than scaring Britain into turning toward Germany, increased fear and hostility drew Britain closer to France. British backing of France during the crisis reinforced the Entente between the two countries (and with Russia as well), increasing Anglo-German estrangement, deepening the divisions which would culminate in World War I.

It has been argued[8] that this incident led Britain's Home Secretary Winston Churchill to conclude the Royal Navy must convert its power source from coal to oil, in order to preserve its supremacy. Until then, the locally abundant coal was favoured over imported oil (mostly from Persia), but the speed and efficiency offered by oil convinced him that "Mastery itself was the prize of the venture." Subsequently, Churchill was asked by Prime Minister Asquith to become First Lord of the Admiralty, which he accepted.

The crisis led Britain and France to make a naval agreement where the Royal Navy promised to protect the northern coast of France from German attack, while France concentrated her fleet in the western Mediterranean and agreed to protect British interests there. France was thus able to guard her communications with her North African colonies, and Britain to concentrate more force in home waters to oppose the German High Seas Fleet.

The German colony of Kamerun (along with Togoland) was captured by the Allies early in World War I.

In modern Germany, the Agadir Crisis remains the best known example of gunboat diplomacy. The "Panther's jump" (Panthersprung) has become a popular figure of speech for any demonstration of power, especially an unnecessary one.

See also


  1. ^ Kissinger, Henry (1995-04-04). Diplomacy. Simon & Schuster. p. 912.  
  2. ^ MacMillan, Margaret. The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914. Random House, 2013. p. 439. 
  3. ^ MacMillan, Margaret. The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914. Random House, 2013. p. 440. 
  4. ^ Quoted in M.L. Dockrill, British Policy During the Agadir Crisis of 1911 from F.H. Hinsley, British Foreign Policy Under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge, 1977), p.271.
  5. ^ "TWO WAR CLOUDS MENACE EUROPE" (PDF). The New York Times. July 6, 1911. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  6. ^ a b Ahamed, Liaquat (2010). Lords of Finance. London: Windmill Books. p. 43.  
  7. ^ "The Morocco Crisis of 1911.". Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  8. ^ Yergin, Daniel (1993-01-01). The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power. Free Press. p. 928.  p.11-12, p153-154
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.