Germany Makes Bugaboo of France’s Foreign Legion

This article, dated 28 May 1911, was found in the New York Times Archives.  It discusses the current news of the time concerning Germany and it campaign against the Foreign Legion and informs the reader about the historical role of the Legion and the unlikelihood of it’s disbandment.  Several incidents of mistreatment and abuse of German Legionnaires were being highly publicized by German propagandists in an effort to get France to abolish the Legion.  It was becoming quite the cause célèbre in Germanyat the time.  Erwin Rosen’s book about his several dismal months in the Legion was made into a stage production to highlight German charges of ill treatment and abuse.  German agents were actively running safe houses and smuggling rings in Algeria to facilitate German Legionnaires in their efforts to desert.  France usually countered by publishing how many Germans joined the Legion that month which was always seemed to be higher than previous months.  Sometimes they published a counterpoint to German accusations such as the 1913 article from L’llustration (that I posted back in July)  This “propaganda war” all started back in 1908 when six Legion deserters (three of whom were German) conspired with the German Consul to Morocco to board a German steamer docked in Casablanca and make good their escape.  They were caught rowing out to the ship and Germany stridently demanded their release but France refused.  This was known as the Casablanca Incident and it took international arbitration to avoid war from breaking out over competing French and German interests in Morocco.

Germany Makes Bugaboo of France’s Foreign Legion

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About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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