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Moroccan Crisis and Assassination at Sarajevo

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Which was the more important reason for the outbreak of the First World War in 1914: The Moroccan Crises in 1905 and 1911 or the Assassination at Sarajevo 1914? I think that the Assassination at Sarajevo was a more important reason for the outbreak of war because it triggered the war. It was because of the Assassination at Sarajevo that led directly to the outbreak of war. Morocco was one of the few places in Africa that hadn’t been colonised by a European Power. France was trying to gain control of Morocco and as part of the Entente Cordial, Britain agreed not to oppose the French. Germany was behind other countries on the size of the empire so they decided to oppose France’s attempts to gain control of Morocco. Germany wanted to show off as Morocco’s protector and test the Entente Cordiale. In 1905 the Kaiser went to Tangier to give a speech about Moroccan Independence and wanted to hold a conference about Morocco’s future. In 1906, Algeciras there was a conference with all major powers, where the Kaiser thought he would gain from the talks but none of the other countries sided with him except Austria-Hungary and Morocco.

Spain and France got control of the Moroccan banks and police. Britain and France’s relationship got stronger and France got a foot hold in Morocco so Germany had failed and become humiliated. The Second Moroccan Crisis in 1911 happened when there was a rebellion against the Sultan in Fez. The French sent an army to help put down the rebellion; the Germans felt that since the French were protecting their interests they had the right to protect theirs. So the Germans sent the Gunboat ‘The Panther’. This was seen as overly militaristic and an act of war; it also occurred during the naval race so Britain was already irritated with Germany and thought they were building a naval base to rival theirs at Gibraltar, this event lead to Britain taking more of an interest into European affairs and France feeling that they had Britain’s support. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand happened on 28th of June 1914 in Sarajevo. Franz Ferdinand was visiting on a special day for the Serbians and people were against the visit.

There was only 120 police guarding the route Franz Ferdinand was taking. The Black Hand was a terrorist group that wanted to united all Serbs in the Balkans; the group was being led by Colonel Apis, who was head of Bosnian military intelligence. The Black Hand was the group that wanted to kill Franz Ferdinand to destabilise the Austro-Hungarian Empire; they were afraid that Franz Ferdinand, who was in favour of more rights for Slavs, would give more freedom to the Serbs and the people would be happy to be ruled by the Austro-Hungarians. The assassins positioned themselves along the 6km route. The first assassin threw a hand grenade that bounced of Franz Ferdinand’s arm and wounded 20 people. The parade continued but with a detour so Franz Ferdinand could visit the wounded but nobody told the driver. He turned the wrong way and was told to stop and the car came to stop in front of Gavrillo Princip who took the opportunity and fired two shots. He hit both the Archduke and his wife, Sophie. Sophie died immediately and Franz Ferdinand died on the way to the hospital. It was the assassination of an Austro-Hungarian official that was launched into an event that caused a world war.

The Moroccan Crises were very important because the strongly affected Britain and France’s relationship and caused more tension between members of the Triple Entente and Germany. The crises we significant because they resulted in resentment between countries increasing further. The First Moroccan Crisis was set up by the Kaiser to try and claim Morocco as a colony and test the Entente Cordiale. The Germans wanted to highlight the weaknesses in the partnership but the result was quite different. The Kaiser wanted to cause friction between Britain and France but Britain defended France even though they thought ‘what the French contemplate doing is not wise’ they still stood by their ally. The Germans expected the British to stay out of European Affairs and they also expected other countries to support them. The Second Moroccan Crisis involved the Germans being overly militaristic ,which made Britain feel even more threatened by the Germans, and possibly even the feeling that when they had the opportunity in 1914 they should join the war and defeated Germany to stop them gaining anymore power.

The assassination at Sarajevo shocked the world however under normal procedure the two countries would deal with it. However this didn’t happen because Austria-Hungary was determined for revenge even though it was highly unlikely that Serbia was trying to cause a war. After the Balkans War Serbia was in no state for a war. The Austro-Hungarian Empire offered Serbia a 6 point ultimatum, to which Serbia agreed to all but one which would have involved Austria-Hungary having influence on the Serbian justice system. They said they would refer the case to the international court but Austria-Hungary refused and declared war on Serbia on 28 July. The assassination triggered these events which in turn triggered the powers of Europe declaring war on each other. These events lead to a country actually wanting to go to war with another. The murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a reason for Austria-Hungary to go to war whereas as in the Moroccan Crisis the situation wasn’t serious enough for any of the countries involved to want a war or have a reason to start one. The strain of the long term causes militarism, nationalism and alliances had been there for a long time but this was the last straw for Europe. I think that the assassination at Sarajevo was a more important reason for the outbreak of war because it was the event that triggered the war unlike the Moroccan Crises which only caused tensions through militarism and imperialism.

The aftermath of the Moroccan Crises was many resentful, unhappy and tense countries whereas the aftermath of the assassination was the ultimatum between Serbia and Austria-Hungary that lead to a declaration of war ,which lead to World War One. During the time before the assassination of the Archduke and his wife war had been proposed by the leader of the army 25 times in just over a year, this event was a reason to go to war since Serbia had refused the unfair ultimatum, whereas the Moroccan Crises weren’t serious enough to start a war over and the strains of the long term causes hadn’t been there for as long during 1905 or 1911. However by 1914 Europe had suffered both the Moroccan Crises, The Naval Arms Race, The Bosnian Crisis and arguments and tension that had finally boiled over with the assassination and the ultimatum. The time period of the Moroccan Crises was nowhere as tense, nor did it have the catastrophic impact that the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand did that is why I feel that it was not as important a reason for the outbreak of war in 1914.

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