A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 37
interest in Morocco had been recognized at Algeciras and later by separate agreements both with Spain and with Germany. But the sultan of Morocco was totally incapable of controlling his turbulent subjects; anarchy in Morocco had its repercussions upon the tribesmen of Algeria, and in the spring of that year France marched troops to the capital for the defence of the sultan and the restoration of order. On the assumption that this was merely a preliminary to the partition of Morocco between France and Spain, Germany dispatched the corvette Panther to Agadir in July, an unmistakable threat of war.
It appeared, however, very shortly that this was by no means what Germany intended. In the interval D. Lloyd George, the British minister who was at that time credited with being the most zealous of pacifists, made a speech which in the view of pacifists was almost truculent. Thereupon the Agadir incident was explained away. Germany was only anxious lest her commercial interests in Morocco should be prejudiced by the French domination, for which fears a portion of the French Congo territory would be adequate compensation. The agreement was duly signed in November, and harmony was officially restored.
Meanwhile, however, war had broken out in another quarter – war with which neither the Central Powers nor the Entente could claim to be directly concerned. When France occupied Tunis, Italy had been in some degree placated by the recognition of her own paramount interests in Tripoli. But this did not prevent peaceful penetration by German commerce and the development of German influence, which threatened to supersede that of Italy, which could only be saved by the declaration of a formal protectorate. The Young Turks, moreover, were doing their best to undermine all infidel influences. Italy demanded from the Porte, the nominal suzerain of Tripoli, the recognition of her own protectorate; acquiescence was not immediately following, and she declared war on Turkey in September, 1911.
Twelve months of desultory maritime warfare followed. Italy occupied the Tripolitan coast town, and seized islands in the Aegean, whereby she annoyed the Greeks, in whose eyes Aegean islands were "Hellas irrendenta." Austria would not allow her to seize territory on the Balkan mainland, the war was expensive and unprofitable, and in October, 1912, peace was made