My esteemed readers will surely remember the so-called Agadir Crisis of the summer of 1911. In July of that year, the Kaiser sent a gunboat to the Moroccan city after the French had made moves to add the country to their African empire. My sympathies for the French do not extend particularly far, but here they had a point. They could not well let the Germans set up shop next to Algeria. So the French put down their foot, the Germans dug in their heels, and soon the only topic of conversation at my club was the coming war. Despite having long since joined the ranks of the middle-aged, I wondered whether I would be called up. There can never be too many surgeons on a battlefield. The war did not come, of course. We backed the French and so did the Americans, and eventually the French traded the Kaiser some patches of jungle, and the whole affair blew over.