Alemania y Tánger

Los acuerdos entre Inglaterra y Francia de 1902 y posteriores y las ambiciones coloniales de Francia y España sobre Marruecos, habían despertado los recelos de Alemania deseosa de no quedarse fuera del reparto colonial en ciernes.

En 1905 y a iniciativa del Canciller Von Bulow el Kaiser realizó una visita sorpresa a Tánger que causó gran impacto en la ciudad y revuelo e inquietud en los países que se disponían a repartirse el país que al año siguiente convocaban la Conferencia de Algeciras para apresurar el reparto del Imperio Jerifiano.

Simultáneamente a su visita a Tánger Alemania envía una delegación al Sultán, que se encontraba en Fes, encabezada por el Conde de Tattenbach y acompañada por el Caid Challak Rebeï. En la delegación figura un joven pintor, Bruno Richter, que dejará una estupenda colección de acuarelas sobre Tánger y Fes con sus percepciones del viaje.

Kaid Challak Rebeï. Acuarela de Bruno Richter

Cuando en 1906 se reune la Conferencia de Algeciras, Alemania designa a su embajador en Madrid, Herr Redowitz, jefe de la delegación alemana. La verdadera Eminencia gris de la delegación alemana era, no ostante, el conde Tantenbach o Tattenbach, pues de las dos formas lo recogen las crónicas.

En 1899 ya, Alemania, celosa de lo que estimaba expansión franco-española en Marruecos, había abierto oficinas postales en Tánger, Casablanca, Rabat y Mazagán. España las tenía en todas las ciudades importantes. Cuando el Protectorado, Francia ofreció suprimir las suyas en zona española (Tetuán, Arcila y Larache) a cambio de que España hiciese lo mismo en la zona francesa (Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Safi y Mazagán).

La delegación del Conde Tattenbach a Fes. Acuarela de Bruno Richter

Cuando en 1906 se reune la Conferencia de Algeciras, Alemania designa a su embajador en Madrid, Herr Redowitz, jefe de la delegación alemana en la Conferencia. La verdadera Eminencia gris de la delegación alemana era, no ostante, el conde Tantenbach (o Tattenbach).

31 March, 1905 The First Moroccan Crisis

"Through your Majesty I threw down the gauntlet to the French. I wanted to see whether they would mobilize", said Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow explaining to the Kaiser the purpose of the Tangier visit. The Morocco crisis of 1905 helps illustrate a couple of points regarding German diplomatic policy of the time. The first of these is the threat or implication of war to achieve political ends. The Germans were big fans of von Clausewitz, one of Napoleon's Prussian officers who literally wrote the book on modern warfare. The second is an attempt to break up the entente of the nations Germany saw as attempting to encircle her.

The country of Morocco was located in a highly strategic position in the north of Africa overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar. It's domestic state in 1905 was one of chaos. The highly publicized kidnapping of Pedicaris and Varley, both wealthy Americans, in May of 1904 by a local radical demonstrated this condition. Germany had no real interest in Morocco, whereas France did.

Both countries were among the signers of the Treaty of Madrid which, in 1880, was meant to protect the country from the land grab that was going on in Africa. The treaty required that all signatories be consulted before any participant were to take action there. On 21-Feb-1905 the French violated this treaty by demanding control of the Sultan's army and police. These demands were made without consulting Germany.

El Kaiser en el Marshan de Tánger

While Germany, as stated above, did not have any real interest in what occurred in Morocco, they did see an opportunity to humiliate the French and possibly to weaken the entente cordial between France and Britain. Also considering that France's major ally, Russia, was still licking its wounds over its recent defeat in the Russo-Japenese war, the time would be right for the threat of military action without the need for worry over Russian intervention.

The Landing of Wilhelm II in Tangier, March 31, 1905:

Report of Councillor von Schoen, Envoy in the Imperial Suite, to the German Foreign Office: Gibraltar, 31 March, 1905: After overcoming the difficult technical task of landing in Tangier, there was a very fitting reception on the dock by Moroccan officials and the German colony. Then a ride through the gaily decorated streets amid the indescribable joy of the natives and the European population; it was a magnificent oriental pageant in fine weather. In the Embassy there was a reception of Germans, the diplomatic corps, and the Sultan's envoy, who, because of his great age and a rough sea, had not been able to come aboard ship.

Remarks of His Majesty, all colorless, with the exception of what follows. In conversing with the French agent, although at first the talk was without significance, yet when the latter conveyed his respects and greetings from Delcasse, the Kaiser replied that his visit meant that His Majesty wanted free trade for Germany and complete equality of rights with other countries.

When Count Cherisey was about to acknowledge these remarks courteously, His Majesty said that he would like to treat directly with the Sultan, the free ruler of an independent country, as an equal; that he himself would be able to make his just claims valid, and that he expected that these claims would also be recognized by France. Count Cherisey became pale. He was about to respond, but was courtly dismissed. He withdrew with drawn head.

Reception of the honorable great uncle of the Sultan was very formal. Text of the address, which was full of the usual high-sounding words but was somewhat colorless, together with autograph letter, to be delivered to the envoy. His Majesty remarked that he looked upon the Sultan as the ruler of a free and independent empire subject to no foreign control; that he expected Germany to have advantages equal to those of other countries in trade and commerce; and that he himself would always negotiate directly with the Sultan....

On the whole the brief visit of His Majesty came off splendidly without any unfortunate event and apparently made a great impression upon Moors and foreigners.
His Majesty was highly satisfied with the visit, especially with the confidential message of the Sultan, brought to His Majesty, that he would initiate no reforms without a previous understanding with the Imperial Government. According to the custom of the country, our ships were richly loaded with gifts consisting of natural products of the land. V. SCHOEN

Chancellor von Bulow decided that the Kaiser should visit the Sultan in Tangier and pledge German support should the French become more aggressive in their Moroccan policy. A reluctant Kaiser was, more or less, tricked by von Bulow into making the visit on 31-Mar-1905, the Kaiser wanted to back out but von Bulow deliberately leaked news of the visit to the press and then told the Kaiser it was too late for a change of heart. He was reluctant for several reasons: he feared an assassination attempt in the unstable country, he'd just as soon see the French get bogged down with the occupation of Morocco, and he feared provoking the French into war.

Expectación en las calles de Tánger al paso del Kaiser

The visit did not go well for the Kaiser. In his own words to Chancellor von Bulow: "I landed because you wanted me to in the interests of the Fatherland, mounted a strange horse in spite of the impediment my crippled left arm causes to my riding, and the horse was within an inch of costing me my life. I had to ride between Spanish anarchists because you wished it and your policy was to profit by it."

King Edward VII of Britain took the French side and described his nephew's Moroccan visit as: "the most mischievous and uncalled for event which the German Emperor has been engaged in since he came to the throne." Edward VII was well aware of the German motive - wrecking the entente. French Foreign Minister Theophile Declasse was sure the Germans were bluffing and was hoping to use the crisis to his advantage by turning the entente into a true Anglo-French military alliance.

As seen back home in France, such radical diplomatic moves as this could well push Germany into war with France - better now than later when the Russians would enter the equation again. This fear of war by the French cabinet, along with demands from German diplomats for "someone we can trust", cost Declasse his job on 6-Jun-1905. The Kaiser was ecstatic of this seemingly sweeping diplomatic victory. He declared von Bulow a Prince of the German Empire as a reward.

Had it all stopped there, Morocco would have remained a notch on the German diplomatic belt but von Bulow wanted more. Part of the agreement over Morocco included a conference which was held in Algeciras, Spain in January 1906. Here the prime matter of interest became control of the Moroccan police force.

The German diplomats, von Radowitz and von Tattenbach, kept up an overtone of impending war but wound up losing the resolution to keep the control of the police away from the French. Joint control was given to France and Spain. Germany would have been better off stopping while it was ahead after the Declasse dismissal. Instead, due to the strengthening effect of the crisis on relations between Britain and France, the earlier victory was tarnished and the whole event viewed in a negative manner back home in Germany.

Alemania y Tánger durante la II Guerra mundial

Durante la II Guerra Mundial los alemanes dispusieron un puesto de observación en el Marshan para vigilar el tráfico de barcos a través del Estrecho. Es comunmente aceptado que el Barón Langenheim hizo que los alemanes se inclinaran a favor de Franco.

Durante la ocupación española de Tánger se impartió un curso de alemán en las Escuelas Casa Riera, los viernes y sábados, además de otro en el Hotel Rif. El Diario España de Tánger de 6/5/1942 informaba que acababa de llegar a Tánger el representante agregado militar de la embajada alemana en Madrid teniente coronel Hans Remer.. Unos días más tarde, el 30/5/1942, el mismo diario señala que ha llegado Kurt Rich de Madrid como plenipotenciario a cargo del consulado alemán. Venía con el Conde Pappenheim. Fue recibido por Castronuovo del Consulado Italiano. Era Cónsul General alemán el Dr Neri

El Dr Richter era cónsul alemán en Tetuán, el vicecónsul era el Dr. Kruger, el agregado de prensa Dr. Poerzger y el representante del partido nacionalsocialista en Marruecos Dr. Zobel

El 1/6/1942 el Consulado alemán fue transformado en Consulado General.

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