The crisis that erupted in the summer of 1911 from Franco-German disagreements over remote regions of Morocco and Central Africa was to prove the start of a truly awesome chain reaction. In the following three years of almost continuous crisis, first the Ottoman possessions in North Africa and then the Ottoman Empire in Europe, were overwhelmed, until finally a direct threat was posed to the vital interests of the great powers in Europe that plunged them into the first general war for over a century. True, for two years the European states system showed enough flexibility to manage the crisis without embroiling the great powers in wars amongst themselves. Morocco and Tripoli were too remote from the vital interests of the powers to produce a relapse into the polarization of 1908; and if there were disturbing signs of both polarization and the militarization of diplomacy during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, these proved just sufficiently serious to frighten the powers into putting their common interests in the maintenance of peace before their separate concerns, without, however, posing the kind of threat to their vital interests that was in 1914 to plunge them into war.