Nations of Europe and the Great War - Charles Morris

The French Republic

Struggles of a New Nation


It has been already told how the capitulation of the French army at Sedan and the captivity of Louis Napoleon were followed in Paris by the overthrow of the empire and the formation of a republic, the third in the history of French political changes. A provisional government was formed, the legislative assembly was dissolved, and all the court paraphernalia of the imperial establishment disappeared. The new government was called in Paris the "Government of Lawyers," most of its members and officials belonging to that profession. At its head was General Trochu, in command of the army in Paris; among its chief members were Jules Favre and Gambetta. While upright in its membership and honorable in its purposes, it was an arbitrary body, formed by a coup d'etat like that by which Napoleon had seized the reins of power, and not destined for a long existence.

[Illustration] from Europe and the Great War by Charles Morris


The Republic Organized

The news of the fall of Metz and the surrender of Bazaine and his army served as a fresh spark to the inflammable public feeling of France. In Paris the Red Republic raised the banner of insurrection against the government of the national defense and endeavored to revive the spirit of the Commune of 1793. The insurgents marched to the senate-house, demanded the election of a municipal council which should share power with the government, and proceeded to imprison Trochu, Jules Favre, and their associates. This, however, was but a temporary success of the Commune, and the provisional government continued in existence until the end of the war, when a national assembly was elected by the people and the temporary government was set aside. Gambetta, the dictator, "the organizer of defeats," as he was sarcastically entitled, lost his power, and the aged statesman and historian, Louis Thiess, was chosen as chief of the executive department of the new government.

The treaty of peace with Germany, including, as it did, the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and the payment of an indemnity of $1,000,000,000, roused once more the fierce passions of the radicals and the masses of the great cities, who passionately denounced the treaty as due to cowardice and treason. The dethroned emperor added to the excitement by a manifesto, in which he protested against his deposition by the assembly and called for a fresh election. The final incitement to insurrection came when the Assembly decided to hold its sessions at Versailles instead of in Paris, whose unruly populace it feared.

The Commune of Paris

In a moment all the revolutionary elements of the great city were in a blaze. The social democratic "Commune," elected from the central committee of the National Guard, renounced obedience to the government and the National Assembly, and broke into open revolt. An attempt to repress the movement merely added to its violence, and all the riotous populace of Paris sprang to arms. A new war was about to be inaugurated in that city which had just suffered so severely from the guns of the Germans, and around which German troops were still encamped.

The government had neglected to take possession of the cannon on Montmartre; and now, when the troops of the line, instead of firing on the insurrectionists, went over in crowds to their side, the supremacy over Paris fell into the hands of the wildest demagogues. A fearful civil war commenced, and in the same forts which the Germans had shortly before evacuated firing once more resounded; the houses, gardens, and villages around Paris were again surrendered to destruction; the creations of art, industry, and civilization were endangered, and the abodes of wealth and pleasure were transformed into dreary wildernesses.

The wild outbreaks of fanaticism on the part of the Commune recalled the scenes of the revolution of 1789, and in these spring days of 1871 Paris added another leaf to its long history of crime and violence. The insurgents, roused to fury by the efforts of the government to suppress them, murdered two generals, Lecomte and Thomas,, and fired on the unarmed citizens who, as the "friends of order," desired a reconciliation with the authorities at Versailles. They formed a government of their own, extorted loans from wealthy citizens, confiscated the property of religious societies, and seized and held as hostages Archbishop Darboy and many other distinguished clergymen and citizens.

Meanwhile the investing French troops, led by Marshal MacMahon, gradually fought their way through the defenses and into the suburbs of the city, and the speedy surrender of the anarchists in the capital became inevitable. This necessity excited their passions to the most violent extent, and, with the wild fury of savages, they set themselves to do all the damage they could to the historical monuments of Paris. The noble Vendome column, the symbol of the warlike renown of France, was torn down from its pedestal and hurled prostrate into the street. The most historic buildings in the city were set on fire, and either partially or entirely destroyed. Among these were the Tuileries, a portion of the Louvre, the Luxembourg, the Palais Royal, the Elysee, etc.; while several of the imprisoned hostages, foremost among them Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, and the universally respected minister Daguerry, were shot by the infuriated mob. Such crimes excited the Versailles troops to terrible vengeance, when they at last succeeded in repressing the rebellion. They made their way along a bloody course; human life was counted as nothing; the streets were stained with blood and strewn with corpses, and the Seine once more ran red between its banks. When at last the Commune surrendered, the judicial courts at Versailles began their work of retribution. The leaders and participators in the rebellion who could not save themselves by flight were shot by hundreds, confined in fortresses, or transported to the colonies. For more than a year the imprisonments, trials, and executions continued, military courts being established which excited the world for months by their wholesale condemnations to exile and to death. The carnival of anarchy was followed by one of pitiless revenge.

Instability of the Government

The Republican government of France, which had been accepted in an emergency, was far from carrying with it the support of the whole of the Assembly or of the people, and the aged, but active and keen-witted Thiers had to steer through a medley of opposing interests and sentiments. His government was considered, alike by the Monarchists and the Jacobins, as only provisional, and the Bourbons and Napoleonists on the one hand and the advocates of "liberty, equality and fraternity" on the other, intrigued for its overthrow. But the German armies still remained on French soil, pending the payment of the costs of the war; and the astute chief of the executive power possessed moderation enough to pacify the passions of the people, to restrain their hatred of the Germans, which was so boldly exhibited in the streets and in the courts of justice, and to quiet the clamor for a war of revenge.

[Illustration] from Europe and the Great War by Charles Morris


The position of parties at home was confused and distracted, and a disturbance of the existing order could only lead to anarchy and civil war. Thiers was thus the indispensable man of the moment, and so much was he himself impressed by the consciousness of this fact, that many times, by the threat of resignation, he brought the opposing elements in the Assembly to harmony and compliance.

This occurred even during the siege of Paris, when the forces of the government were in conflict with the Commune. In the Assembly there was shown an inclination to moderate or break through the sharp centralization of the government, and to procure some autonomy for the provinces and towns. When, therefore, a new scheme was discussed, a large part of the Assembly demanded that the mayors should not, as formerly, be appointed by the government, but be elected by the town councils. Only with difficulty was Thiers able to effect a compromise, on the strength of which the government was permitted the right of appointment for all towns numbering over twenty thousand.

In the elections for the councils the Moderate Republicans proved triumphant. With a supple dexterity, Thiers knew how to steer between the Democratic-Republican party and the Monarchists. When Gambetta endeavored to establish a "league of Republican towns," the attempt was forbidden as illegal; and when the decree of banishment against the Bourbon and Orleans princes was set aside, and the latter returned to France, Thiers knew how to postpone the entrance of the Duc d'Aumale and Prince de Joinville, who had been elected deputies, into the Assembly at least until the end of the year.

Thiers Proclaimed President

The brilliant success of the national loan went far to strengthen the position of Thiers. The high offers for a share in this loan, which indicated the inexhaustible wealth of the nation and the solid credit of France abroad, promised a rapid payment of the war indemnity, the consequent evacuation of the country by the German army of occupation, and a restoration of the disturbed finances of the state. The foolish manifesto of the Count de Chambord, who declared that he had only to return with the white banner to be made sovereign of France, brought all practical men to the side of Thiers, and he had, during the last days of August, 1871, the triumph of being proclaimed "President of the French Republic."

The new president aimed, next to the liberation of the garrisoned provinces from the German troops of occupation, at the reorganization of the French army. Yet he could not bring himself to the decision of enforcing in its entirety the principle of general armed service, such as had raised Prussia from a state of depression to one of military regeneration. Universal military service in France was, it is true, adopted in name, and the army was increased to an immense extent, but under such conditions and limitations that the richer and more educated classes could exempt themselves from service in the army; and thus the active forces, as before, consisted of professional soldiers. And when the minister for education, Jules Simon, introduced an educational law based on liberal principles, he experienced on the part of the clergy such violent opposition that the government dropped the measure.

In order to place the army in the condition which Thiers desired, an increase in the military budget was necessary, and consequently an enhancement of the general revenues of the state. For this purpose a return to the tariff system, which had been abolished under the empire, was proposed, but excited so great an opposition in the Assembly that six months passed before it could be carried. The new organization of the army, undertaken with a view of placing France on a level in military strength with her late conqueror, was now eagerly undertaken by the president. An active army, with five years' service, was to be added to a "territorial army," a kind of militia. And so great was the demand on the portion of the nation capable of bearing arms that the new French army exceeded in numbers that of any other nation.

But all the statesmanship of Thiers could not overcome the anarchy in the Assembly, where the forces for monarchy and republicanism were bitterly opposed to each other. Gambetta, in order to rouse public opinion in favor of democracy, made several tours through the country, his extravagance of language giving deep offense to the Monarchists, while the opposed sections of the Assembly grew wider and more violent in their breach.

Punishment of the Unsuccessful Generals

Indisputable as were the valuable services which Thiers had rendered to France, by the foundation of public order and authority, the creation of a regular army, and the restoration of a solid financial system, yet all these services met with no recognition in the face of the party jealousy and political passions prevailing among the people's representatives at Versailles. More and more did the Royalist reaction gain ground, and, aided by the priests and by national hatred and prejudice, endeavor to bring about the destruction of its opponents. Against the Radicals and Liberals, among whom even the Voltairean Thiers was included, superstition and fanaticism were let loose, and against the Bonapartists was directed the terrorism of court-martial.

The French could not rest with the thought that their military supremacy had been broken by the superiority of the Prusso-German arms; their defeats could have proceeded only from the treachery or incapacity of their leaders. To this national prejudice the Government decided to bow, and to offer a sacrifice to the popular passion. And thus the world beheld the lamentable spectacle of the commanders who had surrendered the French fortresses to the enemy being subjected to a trial by court-martial under the presidency of Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, and the majority of them, on account of their proved incapacity or weakness, deprived of their military honors, at a moment when all had cause to reproach themselves and endeavor to raise up a new structure on the ruins of the past. Even Ulrich, the once celebrated commander of Strasburg, whose name had been given to a street in Paris, was brought under the censure of the court-martial. But the chief blow fell upon the commander-in-chief of Metz, Marshal Bazaine, to whose "treachery" the whole misfortune of France was attributed. For months he was retained a prisoner at Versailles, while preparations were made for the great court-martial spectacle, which, in the following year, took place under the presidency of the Duc d'Aumale.

MacMahon a Royalist President

The result of the party division in the Assembly was, in May, 1873, a vote of censure on the ministry, which induced them to resign. Their resignation was followed by an offer of resignation on the part of Thiers, who experienced the unexpected slight of having it accepted by the majority of the Assembly, the monarchist MacMahon, Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta, being elected President in his place. Thiers had just performed one of his greatest services to France, by paying off the last installment of the war indemnity and relieving the soil of his country of the hated German troops.

The party now in power at once began to lay plans to carry out their cherished purpose of placing a Legitimist king upon the throne, this honor being offered to the Count de Chambord, grandson of Charles X. He, an old man, unfitted for the thorny seat offered him, and out of all accord with the spirit of the times, put a sudden end to the hopes of his partisans by his medieval conservatism. Their purpose was to establish a constitutional government, under the tri-colored flag of revolutionary France; but the old Bourbon gave them to understand that he would not consent to reign under the Tricolor, but must remain steadfast to the white banner of his ancestors; he had no desire to be "the legitimate king of revolution."

This letter shattered the plans of his supporters. No man with ideas like these would be tolerated on the French throne. There was never to be in France a King Henry V. The Monarchists, in disgust at the failure of their schemes, elected MacMahon president of the republic for a term of seven years, and for the time being the reign of republicanism in France was made secure.

While MacMahon was thus being raised to the pinnacle of honor, his former comrade Bazaine was imprisoned in another part of the palace at Versailles, awaiting trial on the charge of treason for the surrender of Metz. In the trial, in which the whole world took a deep interest, the efforts of the prosecution were directed to prove that the conquest of France was solely due to the treachery of the Bonapartist marshal. Despite all that could be said in his defense, he was found guilty by the court-martial, sentenced to degradation from his rank in the army, and to death.

Bazaine's Sentence and Escape

A letter which Prince Frederick Charles wrote in his favor only added to the wrath of the people, who cried aloud for his execution. But, as though the judges themselves felt a twinge of conscience at the sentence, they at the same time signed a petition for pardon to the president of the republic. MacMahon thereupon commuted the punishment of death into a twenty years' imprisonment, remitted the disgrace of the formalities of a military degradation, without canceling its operation, and appointed as the prisoner's place of confinement the fortress on the island of St. Marguerite, opposite Cannes, known in connection with the "iron mask." Bazaine's wealthy Mexican wife obtained permission to reside near him, with her family and servants, in a pavilion of the sea-fortress. This afforded her an opportunity of bringing about the freedom of her husband in the following year with the aid of her brother. After an adventurous escape, by letting himself down with a rope to a Genoese vessel, Bazaine fled to Holland, and then offered his services to the republican government of Spain.

In 1875 the constitution under which France is now governed was adopted by the republicans. It provides for a legislature of two chambers; one a chamber of deputies elected by the people, the other a senate of 300 members, 75 of whom are elected by the National Assembly and the others by electoral colleges in the departments of France. The two chambers unite to elect a president, who has a term of seven years. He is commander-in-chief of the army, appoints all officers, receives all ambassadors, executes the laws, and appoints the cabinet, which is responsible to the Senate and House of Deputies—thus resembling the cabinet of Great Britain instead of that of the United States.

This constitution was soon ignored by the arbitrary president, who forced the resignation of a cabinet which he could not control, and replaced it by another responsible to himself instead of to the Assembly. His act of autocracy roused a violent opposition. Gambetta moved that the representatives of the people had no confidence in a cabinet which was not free in its actions and not republican in its principles. The sudden death of Thiers, whose last writing was a defense of the republic, stirred the heart of the nation and added to the excitement, which soon reached fever heat. In the election that followed the republicans were in so great a majority over the conservatives that the president was compelled either to resign or to govern according to the constitution. He accepted the latter and appointed a cabinet composed of republicans. But the acts of the legislature, which passed laws to prevent arbitrary action by the executive and to secularize education, so exasperated the old soldier that he finally resigned from his high office.

Gravy, Gambetta and Boulanger

Jules Grevy was elected president in his place, and Gambetta was made president of the House of Deputies. Subsequently he was chosen presiding minister in a cabinet composed wholly of his own creatures. His career in this high office was a brief one. The Chambers refused to support him in his arbitrary measures and he resigned in disgust. Soon after the self-appointed dictator, who had played so prominent a part in the war with Germany, died from a wound whose origin remained a mystery.

The constitution was revised in 1884, the republic now declared permanent and final, and Grevy again elected president. General Boulanger, the minister of war in the new government, succeeded in making himself highly popular, many looking upon him as a coming Napoleon, by whose genius the republic would be overthrown.

In 1887 Grevy resigned, in consequence of a scandal in high circles, and was succeeded by Sadi-Carnot, grandson of a famous general of the first republic. Under the new president two striking events took place. General Boulanger managed to lift himself into great prominence, and gain a powerful following in France. Carried away by self-esteem, he defied his superiors, and when tried and found guilty of the offense, was strong enough in France to overthrow the ministry, to gain re-election to the Chamber of Deputies, and to defeat a second ministry.

But his reputation was declining. It received a serious blow through a duel he fought with a lawyer, in which the soldier was wounded and the lawyer escaped unhurt. The next cabinet was hostile to his intrigues, and he fled to Brussels to escape arrest. Tried by the Senate, sitting as a High Court of Justice, he was found guilty of plotting against the state and sentenced to imprisonment for life. His career soon after ended in suicide and his party disappeared.

The Panama Canal Scandal

The second event spoken of was the Panama Canal affair. De Lesseps, the maker of the Suez Canal, had undertaken to excavate a similar one across the Isthmus of Panama, but the work was managed with such wild extravagance that vast sums were spent and the poor investors widely ruined, while the canal remained a half-dug ditch. At a later date this affair became a great scandal, dishonest bargains in connection with it were abundantly unearthed, bribery was shown to have been common in high places, and France was shaken to its center by the startling exposure. De Lesseps, fortunately for him, escaped imprisonment by death, but others of the leaders in the enterprise were condemned and punished.

[Illustration] from Europe and the Great War by Charles Morris


In the succeeding years perils manifold threatened the existence of the French Republic. A moral decline seemed to have sapped the foundations of public virtue, and the new military organization rose to a dangerous height of power, becoming a monster of ambition and iniquity which overshadowed and portended evil to the state. The spirit of anarchy, which had been so strikingly displayed in the excesses of the Parisian Commune, was shown later in various instances of death and destruction by the use of dynamite bombs, exploded in Paris and elsewhere. But its most striking example was in the murder of President Carnot, who was stabbed by an anarchist in the streets of Lyons. This assassination, and the disheartening exposures of dishonesty in the Panama Canal Case trials, stirred the moral sentiment of France to its depths, and made many of the best citizens despair of the permanency of the republic.

[Illustration] from Europe and the Great War by Charles Morris


Despotism of the Army Leaders

But the most alarming threat came from the army, which had grown in power and prominence until it fairly overtopped the state, while its leaders felt competent to set at defiance the civil authorities. This despotic army was an outgrowth of the Franco-Prussian war. The terrible punishment which the French had received in that war, and in particular the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, filled them with bitter hatred of Germany and a burning desire for revenge. Yet it was evident that their military organization was so imperfect as to leave them helpless before the army of Germany, and the first thing to be done was to place themselves on a level in military strength with their foe. To this President Thiers had earnestly devoted himself, and the work of army organization went on until all France was virtually converted into a great camp, defended by powerful fortresses, and the whole male population of the country were practically made part of the army.

The final result of this was the development of one of the most complete and well-appointed military establishments in Europe. The immediate cause of the reorganization of the army gradually passed away. As time went on the intense feeling against Germany softened and the danger of war decreased. But the army became more and more dominant in France, and, as the century neared its end, the autocratic position of its leaders was revealed by a startling event, which showed vividly to the world the moral decadence of France and the controlling influence and dominating power of the members of the General Staff. This was the celebrated Dreyfus Case, the cause célèbre of the period. At the time concerned it excited the utmost interest, stirring France to its center, and attracting the earnest attention of the world. It aroused indignation as well as interest, and years passed before it lost its hold on public attention. It can be dealt with here only with great brevity.

The Dreyfus Case

Albert Dreyfus, an Alsatian Jew and a captain in the Fourteenth Regiment of Artillery of the French army, detailed for service at the Information Bureau of the Minister of War, was arrested October 15, 1894, on the charge of having sold military secrets to a foreign power. The following letter was said to have been found at the German embassy by a French detective, in what was declared to be the handwriting of Dreyfus:

"Having no news from you I do not know what to do. I send you in the meantime the condition of the forts. I also hand you the principal instructions as to firing. If you desire the rest I shall have them copied. The document is precious. The instructions have been given only to the officers of the General Staff. I leave for the maneuvers."

Previous to the arrest of Dreyfus, the editor of the Libre Parole had been carrying on a violent anti-semitic agitation in his paper. He now raved about the Jews in general, declared Dreyfus guilty of selling army secrets to the Germans, and by his crusade turned public opinion in Paris strongly against the accused.

As a result of this assault and the statement that the letter was in the handwriting of the accused, he was tried before a military court, which sat behind closed doors, kept parts of the indictment from the knowledge of the prisoner and his lawyer, and in other ways manifested a lack of fairness.

As a result of this secret trial the accused was found guilty and condemned to be degraded from his military rank, and by a special act of the Chamber of Deputies was ordered to be imprisoned for life in a penal settlement on Devil's Island, off the coast of French Guiana, a tropical region, desolate and malarious in character. The sentence was executed with the most cruel harshness. During part of his detention Dreyfus was locked in a hut, surrounded by an iron cage, on the island. This was done on the plea of possible attempts at rescue. He was allowed to send and receive only such letters as had been transcribed by one of his guardians.

He denied, and never ceased to deny, his guilt. The letters he wrote to his counsel after the trial and after his disgrace are most pathetic assertions of his innocence, and of the hope that ultimately justice would be done him. His wife and family continued to deny his guilt, and used every influence to get his case reopened.

The whole affair in time excited a strong suspicion that Dreyfus had been used as a scapegoat for some one higher up and had been unjustly condemned, the fact of his being a Jew being used to excite prejudice against him. Many eminent literary men of France advocated the revision of a sentence which did not appeal to the sense of justice of the best element of France.

It was declared that military secrets continued to leak out after Dreyfus's arrest, and that the handwriting of the letter found was closely similar to that of Count Ferdinand Esterhazy, an officer, in the French army, of noble Hungarian descent. This matter was so ventilated that some action became necessary and Esterhazy was tried secretly by court-martial, the trial ending in acquittal.

At this juncture Emile Zola, the celebrated novelist, stepped into the fray as a defender of Dreyfus, writing a notable letter to President Faure, in which he accused the members of the court-martial of acquitting Esterhazy under order of their chiefs, who would not admit that a military court of France could possibly make a mistake.

This letter led to the arrest and trial of Zola and of the editor who published it. Their trials were conducted in a secret manner and they were found guilty and sentenced to a heavy fine and a year's imprisonment. Zola escaped imprisonment by absenting himself from France.

By this time the interest of the whole world was enlisted in the case, the action of the French courts was everywhere condemned, and in the end it was deemed advisable to bring Dreyfus back to France and accord him a new trial. This trial, which lasted from August 7 to September 7, 1899, indicated that he had been convicted on the most flimsy and uncertain evidence, largely conjectural in character, while there was strong evidence in his favor. Yet the judges of the court-martial seemed biased against him, and by a vote of three judges to two, he was again found guilty—"of treason, with extenuating circumstances," as if treason could be extenuated.

The whole affair was a transparent travesty upon justice, and the method by which it was conducted threw into a strong light the faulty character of the French method of trial. The result, indeed, was so flagrantly unsatisfactory that no further punishment was inflicted upon the accused, and in July, 1906, his case was brought before the Court of Appeals, with the result that he was acquitted and restored to his rank in the army.

Church and State

Later events of interest in French history had to do with the status of the Catholic Church in France and with the relations of France, Germany and Spain to Morocco, the latter more than once threatening war. The union of Church and State in France, which had only before been broken during the turbulent period of the Revolution, was definitely abrogated by a law of December 19, 1905, proclaiming the separation of Church and State in that country. By this, and a supplementary act in 1907, the Catholic Church was put on the same footing in the republic as the Protestant and Jewish congregations. The use of church buildings, which had been the property of the State since the Revolution, was granted only under conditions which the Pope refused to accept, and religious liberty made a radical advance in France.

The Morocco Controversy

Meanwhile troubles had arisen on the borders of Algeria between the French army of occupation and the unruly Moroccan tribes beyond the boundary. The efforts of France to abate these disturbances, which found support in the British government, aroused opposition in Germany, which objected to the claim of France to a predominant interest in Morocco. The affair went so far that Emperor William II visited Tangier, had a conference with the representatives of the Sultan, and was reported to have agreed to enforce the integrity of Morocco. The friction that resulted was allayed by a conference of the Powers held at Algeciras, Spain, in 1905, and the trouble was temporarily settled by a series of resolutions establishing a number of reforms in Morocco, the privileged position of France along the Moroccan-Algerian frontier being acknowledged.

Disturbances continued, however, and the murder of a French doctor by the tribesmen in March, 1907, led to the occupation of a Moroccan town by French troops. Later in the year a more serious affair took place at the port of Casablanca, which was raided by insurgent tribesmen and European laborers and others were massacred. A French force landed on August 7th and a desperate fight took place, during which nearly every inhabitant of the town was killed and wounded or had fled, the dead alone numbering thousands.

In 1911 matters in Morocco grew serious, there being severe fighting by Spanish troops in the Spanish concession around Alcazar, while tribal outbreaks against Fez, the Sultan's capital, brought a French military expedition to that point. By this, communication between the capital and the coast was established, the French government undertaking to organize the Sultan's army and carry out certain works of public improvement.

These movements revived the suspicions of Germany and that country took the decisive step of sending a war vessel to Agadir, a southern port of Morocco, with the ostensible purpose of protecting the persons and property of German subjects. This act led to the suspicion in France that Germany meant more than she said and that her real purpose was to gain a permanent hold on Moroccan territory. There was heated talk of war, as there usually is in such cases, but the affair was, in the end, amicably adjusted.

It became known that France wished to secure a free hand in Morocco, outside of the coastal provinces held by Spain, and was willing in return to concede to Germany a considerable amount of territory in French Congo. The agreement finally reached, with the assent of the other Powers, especially Spain, which had a vital interest in the problem, was that France should be given a protectorate over Morocco, and in return should cede to Germany a region in French Congo, in equatorial Africa, of about 230,000 square kilometers, containing a population of from 600,000 to 1,000,000, and adjoining the German district of Kamerun, France retaining certain transit privileges in the region.

Thus ended a source of dispute which had more than once threatened war. It ended greatly to the advantage of France, whose interests in Morocco far outweighed any advantages likely to arise from her holdings in central Africa. Behind all this lay the probability that her influence in and hold upon Morocco would increase until eventually it would develop into a virtual, perhaps an actual, sovereignty over that country.