World War I

by Edward Paice

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Which had a greater effect on Europe's alliance system: The Moroccan Crises or The Bosnian Crisis?

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First of all, we have to realize that there is no way to objectively and definitively answer this question.  We cannot measure the strength of the alliances before and after each crisis in any accurate way.  Therefore, we can only speculate about which crisis had more of an impact.  I would argue that the Moroccan Crises had the greater effect than the Bosnian Crisis.

The Bosnian Crisis was important.  In this episode, the Germans were driven into a closer alliance with Austria and the British and the French were put in a situation where it was going to be harder for them to avoid siding with Russia in the future.  This was important because it strengthened the pressure on Germany, France, and England to side with their allies in the future.

But this is not as important as what came about because of the Moroccan Crises.  In the first Moroccan Crisis, Britain and France became much closer to one another.  These two countries had not always been allies.  The crisis pushed them together very strongly, enough so that their two militaries started to collaborate on plans.  This friendship between France and England led England to become closer with France’s close allies, the Russians.  The second Moroccan Crisis had the same effect.  It exacerbated French and British fear of Germany and led them to collaborate even more closely.

I would argue that the Moroccan Crises were more important than the Bosnian Crisis because they actually led to concrete actions.  They led to the British and the French starting to collaborate.  This greatly strengthened the system of alliances and tied Russia together with Britain and France.  This is a greater effect than that of the Bosnian Crisis.

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