Moroccan Crises

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Moroccan Crises


sharp international conflicts that arose in 1905 and 1911 during the imperialist powers’ struggle over Morocco.

The Moroccan crisis of 1905 began when France, which had seized Algeria in 1830 and Tunisia in 1881, attempted to take over Morocco. Through secret agreements with Italy in 1902 and with Great Britain and Spain in 1904, France had secured the support of these powers in return for recognizing their “rights” to Libya, Egypt, and northern Morocco, respectively. At the beginning of 1905, France tried to coerce the sultan of Morocco into introducing “reforms” that served France’s interests, inviting French advisers into the country, and granting French companies major concessions. German imperialists, who also had designs on Morocco, were particularly anxious to persuade the sultan to reject the French demands; on Mar. 31, 1905, Wilhelm II visited Tangier and publicly promised support for the sultan. By aggravating the crisis during the Russo-Japanese War, at a time when Russia could not aid its ally France, Germany counted on weakening France’s position and strengthening its own influence in Morocco. In June 1905, the French foreign minister T. Delcasse, who strongly advocated seizure of Morocco, was forced out of office, and the French government found itself obliged to accept Germany’s demand for the convocation of an international conference on the Moroccan question, the Algeciras Conference of 1906. However, Germany was isolated at the conference because of the consolidation of the Entente and did not succeed in substantially weakening France’s position in Morocco. Nonetheless, the French occupation of the country was postponed.

The French took advantage of the tribal uprising around Fes, the capital of Morocco, to occupy the city in April 1911. In June 1911, France offered Germany part of its colonial possessions in the Congo in exchange for Germany’s renunciation of its claims to Morocco. Seeking to obtain greater compensation, the German government on July 1, 1911, sent the gunboat Panther to Agadir, a port on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The “panther’s spring” precipitated an acute international confrontation, known as the Agadir crisis, which again brought France and Germany to the brink of war. To strengthen the Entente, Great Britain supported France, as it had done in the crisis of 1905. Germany was obliged to consent to a Franco-German agreement recognizing France’s preferential rights in Morocco in exchange for the transfer to Germany of half of the French colony of the Congo. V. I. Lenin noted, “1911: Germany on the verge of war with France and Britain. Morocco plundered (’partitioned’). Morocco is exchanged for the Congo” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 28, p. 668). On Mar. 30, 1912, Morocco was declared a French protectorate. The Moroccan crises helped consolidate the Entente and contributed to the aggravation of imperialist contradictions between the Entente and Germany.


Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia v epokhu imperializma, series 2, vol. 18, parts 1-2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938.
Die grosse Politik der Europäischen Kabinette, 1871-1914. vols. 20, 21, 29. Berlin, 1925-27.
Affaires du Maroc, 1901-1912, vols. 1-6. Paris, 1905-12. (Livres jaunes series.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.