NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
2nd July, 1911 : The sudden announcement yesterday that the Kaiser has dispatched a German gunboat, the Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir has caused surprise and dismay in Paris and concern in London as to Germany’s motives. The German note to France insists the sole purpose of the Panther visit is to protect German firms at Agadir, “where considerable agitation exists”. A German firm active in European financial circles, the Brothers Mannesmann, has claimed to have substantial interests in Agadir, but this is questioned in London. Agadir is a closed port, not open to legitimate trade with Europeans; notoriously, it is used by Berbers for smuggling of guns into the interior. British speculation is that Germany may be preparing to stake a claim to a naval base on the Atlantic coast. The dispatch of the Panther follows mounting discontent in Germany at France growing influence in Morocco, emphasised by the occupation of Fez by an expeditionary force earlier this year.
[Today China acquires ports all over the world and nobody bothers to send a gunboat or even a protest note.]