chapter  II
39 Pages

The Pre-War Era: 1910 to 1914

The period from 1909 to 1912 has been aptly called by one eminent diplomatic historian ' the years of Anglo-German hostility '.1 The Moroccan and Bosnian crises of 1905 and 1908 had served to convince many officials in the British government that Germany was determined to dominate Europe. When in March 1909 it was learned that Germany had stepped up her naval ship-building programme, this conviction was reinforced and British public opinion began to march in step with official policy. Many people believed at this point that the German naval programme indicated a desire to dominate not only Europe but the world. ' The alarm of German " acceleration " stirred the British people as they had not been roused since the annexation of Savoy by Napoleon III in 1860 '.2 With the rallying cry 'we want eight and we won't wait ' the British took up the challenge. 3

In 1911 Anglo-German relations again reached crisis point over Morocco. The following year Haldane's mission to Berlin to effect a conciliation between Germany and England failed. While Britain sought simultaneously to avoid war with Germany and to prepare herself for the dreaded contingency, events in the Ottoman Empire also caused the' Weary Titan'' concern. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908, which had been greeted by many, both in the Ottoman Empire and in European governments, as holding out the prospect of reform and regeneration, did not live up to these hopes. True the ' long night of Hamidian despotism ' "' had come to an end, but the Young Turk dawn did not usher in a new liberal era. If the Young Turks were originally sincere in their liberal intentions, they had little chance to prove it. The new regime in Constantinople was immediately assailed by internal and external difficulties. In 1908 Austria seized Bosnia and Herzegovina, Crete announced her union with Greece, and Bulgaria declared her independence. In 1909 Abdul Hamid led an unsuccessful counter-revolution against the Young Turks. In 1911 Italy invaded Tripoli (Libya) and the following year the

first Balkan War broke out. Mter the conclusion of the second Balkan War in 1913, Turkey stood stripped of her European territories. As one writer has obsetved : ' With the ending of the Balkan wars, the future of Turkey-in-Asia was becoming the decisive question in international relations '.6