Who's Who - Theophile Delcasse
Theophile Delcasse (1852-1923) was one of the principal architects of the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904. As Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1898 Delcasse helped foster closer Anglo-French diplomacy until, in the wake of the Moroccan Crisis of 1905 he was forced to resign.
Having returned to government as Navy Minister in 1911, Delcasse worked once again to draw Britain closer to France, most notably in securing Britain's agreement to defend the French Atlantic coast (via the Royal Navy) in the event of war, thereby allowing French naval strength to be consolidated in the Mediterranean.
Delcasse served in Viviani's wartime ministry of August 1914 as Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which role he greatly helped to bring Italy into the war on the side of the Allies.
Less helpfully, his outspoken pro-Russian views (he was a recent former ambassador to Russia) - to the extent of supporting Russian annexation of Constantinople and the Straits - proved only an albatross in the area of Balkan affairs, seriously weakening the Allied hand with regard to, notably, Bulgaria.
Bulgaria indeed sided with the Central Powers in finally entering the war in October 1915; this decision had far-reaching consequences for Serbia. Delcasse promptly resigned on 12 October, his government career over. He subsequently voted against the Versailles treaty in protest over its failure to secure the French eastern frontier.
Shrapnel comprised steel balls ejected from shells upon detonation.
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