France's pre-eminence in Morocco had been upheld by the 1906
Algeciras Conference, following the
First Moroccan Crisis of 1905–06.
Anglo-German tensions were high at this time, partly due to an arms race between
Imperial Germany and
Great Britain, including
German efforts to build a
fleet two thirds the size of Britain's. Germany's move was aimed at testing the relationship between Britain and
France, and possibly intimidating Britain into an alliance with Germany.
 Germany was also enforcing compensation claims for acceptance of effective French control of Morocco.