The First Moroccan crisis grew out of the imperial rivalries of the great powers, in this case, between Germany on one side and France, with English support, on the other. France reached agreements in 1904 with England (April 8) and Spain (October 7) granting the French virtually protectorate control over Morocco. This was met with the hostility of Germany, which had been kept in the dark. Germany took immediate diplomatic action to black the new accord from going into effect, including Kaiser Wilhelm's dramatic arrival and "open door" speech in Tangier (March 31, 1905). Germany sought a multilateral conference where the French could be called to account before other European sovereigns. French premier Rouvier, initially interested in a compromise solution, refused as French public opinion turned against Germany and the English lent their support to the French position. Tensions reached a peak in mid-June, when the French cancelled all military leaves (June 15) and Germany threatened to sign a defensive alliance with the Sultan (June 22). On July 1 France with strong English backing, agreed to attend the conference, as it was apparent that Germany was becoming diplomatically isolated.
The crisis continued to the eve of the conference at Algeciras, with Germany calling up reserve units (December 30) and France moving troops to the German border (January 3). At the eight nation conference itself, the Germans found themselves with only Austria supporting their position. An Austrian attempt at compromise was rejected by all but Germany. The Germans decided to accept a face-saving compromise agreement on March 31, 1906. France agreed to yield control of the Moroccan police, but otherwise retained effective control of Moroccan political and financial affairs.