Lesson video

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Hello, and welcome to this lesson four of six.

In the inquiry, "Did the Assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lead to the Outbreak of World War One?" Your title for today is "Imperial Rivalries." And for today's lesson, you're going to need a pen, something to write on, and you'll also need to make sure that wherever you are, you're free of any distractions.

I'll give you a moment to write down the title, "Imperial Rivalries," and then we'll move on.

Great to see you again.

It's me, Mr. Hewitt, and we're onto our fourth lesson, which means you're all doing fantastically well, and I'm glad to see you back here again.

I'm sure you're all eager to come to a conclusion as to why "World War One" really did break out.

If you're joining us for the first time, you're very welcome.

But I would recommend that you go back and finish the other lessons in the inquiry, as well as carrying on with this one, and our last couple.


Let's move on to talking about imperial rivalries.

Travelling in pomp and style, as he liked to do, the Kaiser arrived in the beautiful, historic North African city in Morocco, of Tangiers, bedecked in his favourite military uniform.

But he was not there on vacation, rather, to send a message to the British and French, that if Germany were excluded from colonial actions in Africa, they would work to frustrate the British and French empires.

As the Kaiser proudly declared the Sultan of Morocco an independent leader to be respected and supported by Germany against attempts by powers such as France to take over Morocco, he did not have so much in mind a genuine commitment to the freedom of African nations, but rather, the more sinister desire to expand Germany's territory in Africa, or at least, to explain to the French, rather subtly, that if they did not, along with the British, give territory in Africa to the Germans, the Germans would work to stop France and Britain extending their power also.

The 1905 speech which the Kaiser gave, which became known as the "open door speech," was really the crux of the first Moroccan Crisis.

And the second crisis, which followed in 1911, are both excellent ways of understanding the story of imperial rivalry, and just how these imperial rivalries can prepare the ground for a war in Europe, in 1914.

Let's get my head out of the way, so that you can see this rather disturbing cartoon on the right-hand side, which I'll explain to you, as we understand the Berlin Conference.

Now in 1884, the European powers had gathered together in the capital of newly unified Germany.

Why? Essentially, to decide on how best to colonise and divide African nations.

The European powers at this time felt entitled to rule over the non-white peoples of Africa, and they were not concerned about the welfare of the people of Africa, so much as they were the money they could make from these colonies.

You can see there the Germans dividing the cake, which is labelled "Afrique," or Africa, and this is a direct reference to what the Belgian Emperor referred to as , or, "The magnificent cake," by which he meant Africa.

It's quite horrific to think that one of the European leaders could be talking about a whole continent of people, diverse as it was, and is, as something to be divided up and eaten for the pleasure of the Europeans, but this was the reality of the period.

And it was this colonialism that saw Africa become a hotbed of rivalry between Germany, Britain, and France, particularly at the start of the 20th century.

Take a look at this map, which shows North Africa in detail.

Can you name the three North African states which are marked by the red stars? And, I'll be extremely impressed, if you can name a major city, or capital, in any of these three nations.

Pause the video now, have a go at that, and when you're done, un-pause the video, and we'll look at some of the answers.

That's really good work.

Morocco was the furthest to the left, Algeria to the right of that, and on the right-hand side, Egypt.

You could have had Rabat, for example, the capital of Morocco, or Tangiers, a city we looked at only moments ago, Algiers, the capital of Algeria today, and Cairo, the capital of Egypt today.

By 1900, Algeria was colonised by France, whilst Britain controlled the Egyptian government.

Morocco, however, remained independent.

The Kaiser hoped to expand Germany's power and influence in Africa.

And, if possible, to drive a wedge between Britain and France.

But how to do this? Well, an opportunity presented itself in 1905.

As I mentioned earlier, when the French were attempting to take over Morocco, and the Kaiser determined to travel to the city of Tangiers, and declare there his support for an independent Morocco.

The message, effectively this, unless Germany were allowed to participate in dividing and ruling Africa, they would not cooperate with England and France.

In fact, they would go out of their way to prevent Britain and France from expanding their empires further in the African continent.

This cartoon says it better than I could.

We see the Kaiser crossing from Germany to Morocco, looking a little shocked and surprised, perhaps even a bit frightened, as two others shout on, representing Britain and France.

"I say, keep off the grass.

How dare you," says the out-of-touch, John-Bull-like Englishman with a Union Jack sweater and top hat.

"There's always trouble when I travel," Kaiser Wilhelm.

And indeed, there was trouble when the Kaiser travelled.

Angered by the Kaiser's open support of the Moroccans, Britain and France decided to call a conference in Spain, Algeciras, the next year, in 1906.

At the conference, a resolution was brought to the crisis, but this resolution was far from satisfactory, not only for the Moroccans, of course, who now would effectively be ruled by the French, but also for the Kaiser, who had hoped that the conference signalled Britain and France accepting him as a member of the European political elites.

In fact, France and Britain had conspired even before the conference, to outmanoeuvre and freeze the Kaiser out of any real territory in Africa, as well as forcing him to accept French rule over Morocco.

The Kaiser left the conference paranoid and humiliated.

When French troops moved into Morocco entirely in 1911, the Kaiser sent a strong and dangerous signal in the form of a gunboat, The Panther, to menace French troops off the coast of Morocco.

Although no real fighting took place, this was a dangerous sign.

It confirmed the reality that the Germans might be willing to use force in future imperial rivalries or conflicts.

Something else rather dangerous came out of the Moroccan crisis.

I want you to take a look at this cartoon before I explain exactly what that was.

Think about the figure in the cartoon.

Who do they represent? And what is their facial expression? What's happened to this person? Have they been hurt? What does the rock at the bottom-left of the image represent? Can you see what's written on it? Pause the video, write down your thoughts, and when you're happy, come back to the video, and we can share some of our answers.

Outstanding! That is the Kaiser in full military outfit.

And you're right.

He looks shocked and surprised.

Clearly the indication is, he didn't realise Britain and France were going to come together and work against him so effectively.

The Kaiser's been hurt.

He's holding his foot.

Well done.

You spotted that.

Of course, he's not seriously injured.

But, it's an unexpected injury, and there's something potentially dangerous about to fall, perhaps again on the Kaiser.

Well, the rock, it's a bit difficult to read, so I'm really impressed that you got it.

It says "Entente Cordiale," the agreement formed between France and Britain after the Moroccan Crisis.

Remember that word, "entente," from the Triple Entente? It means agreement.

So this really means the friendly, or cordial, agreement, and this was an informal, but extremely important, pact that was struck between the French and the British, after the Moroccan Crisis.

You see, both powers felt so threatened by the Kaiser's behaviour that they decided to allow their navies, their forces at sea, to work together in patrolling the Mediterranean and Atlantic, to make sure they were on top of the German Navy.

But this wasn't even the first time that Germany had found itself at odds with other European powers over a dispute in Africa.

The Boers, a white, racist Dutch descendant group, who ran a regime in South Africa, were led by Paul Kruger, the person which you can see on the right.

The British, under Cecil Rhodes, also an oppressive white colonialist, wanted to take South Africa for themselves.

And in fact, they tried before, but being humiliated, defeated by the Boers in the first Boer War, and the Jameson Raid.

What did this have to do with Germany? Well, the Kaiser had given his support to Paul Kruger, the Boer leader, in a widely published telegram, and behind the scenes, the Kaiser had provided weapons and money to the Boers.

Let's take a look at the Kruger telegram.

What does the Kaiser say? "I express to you my sincere congratulations that you and your people have succeeded by your own energetic action against the armed bands which invaded your country." What the Kaiser is saying here, is that the British are warmongers, and armed bands, who are invading the country of the Boers, and that the Kaiser is happy the British have been defeated.

You can understand how this would frustrate the British.

Great job.

We've reached that point in the lesson where it's time for you to complete some comprehension questions.

I want you to have a go at those whilst the video is paused, and then when you're happy, come back to the video, and we'll look at some of the answers that you might've got.

I'm back.

Well done, you've completed your work.

Let's look at some of the answers that you could have had.

So for that first question, "Which city in Morocco did the Kaiser visit in 1905?" You could have said "Tangiers," and you'd be absolutely right.

You could, of course, have extended your answer and said something like, "The Kaiser visited Tangiers in Morocco to give his support to Morocco remaining independent of France." What about that second question then? "What did the Kaiser send to Morocco during the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911?" Well, if you had "a gun boat" or "The Panther," then that's extremely impressive, you've got the right answer.

You could have gone a little bit further and said something similar to, "The Kaiser ordered the gunboat Panther to the region.

This created further tension, and it indicated that a conflict might follow." Okay.

This third question.

"What name was given to the agreement that developed between France and Britain after the Moroccan Crisis?" Well, if you had "The Entente Cordiale," that's very impressive, and you're working on your French too.

And you could say also, "The Entente Cordiale was formed between Britain and France, where it was agreed that their navies, their forces at sea, would work together." "Why did the Kruger telegram anger the British?" Well, if you answered, "It showed that Germany were against Britain," then that's good, but you might want to go a bit further, and say something along the lines of "The Kruger telegram gave support to the Boers who had defeated the British in the past, and were preventing Britain, much to their frustration, from taking over South Africa." "How did imperial rivalries create tension between European powers?" Well, I'm extremely impressed that you've done so well on this one, because it's a challenging question.

And if you had something like, "Disputes and threats over control of Africa created tension," that is fantastic work.

You can always develop your answer further though.

And you might have said, "Events such as the Kruger telegram, and the Moroccan Crisis, drove France, and Britain, and Germany apart.

And of course they made the Kaiser more paranoid, and more aggressive.

An incredible job you've done there.


And if you want to go even further, I'll be seriously impressed, because you've completed all your questions, but there is an extension task on the next slide as well, when we return to our inquiry.

So let's just have one last look at that.

"What role did the Kaiser's character," you need to be thinking back to this last lesson also, "play in the development of imperial rivalries?" Couple of sentence starters for you there.

And as always, three key words to be included.

Fantastic work.

I'll see you in the next lesson.