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The Wind and the Lion (1975)
Wind and the Lion : Good adventure movie but... A work of Fantasy
When did Theodore Roosevelt invade Morocco? NEVER
Never - really. During Theodore Roosevelt's administration as President, the US did not invade Morocco. That only happened in a movie called the "Wind and the Lion" which is a work of fantasy, not fact.
Here's what really happened. . .
In May,1904, about two months before the Republican convention, a man named Ion Perdicaris, an American living in Tangiers, and an Englishman , Cromwell Varley, were kidnapped in Morocco. The kidnapper, a known bandit named Mulay Hamid El Raisuli (Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers), was demanding ransom and President Roosevelt expected the Moroccan government to intervene.
When the government response was found lacking, Roosevelt ordered a military presence to the area, sending his beloved Navy off the coast of Tangier to make a statement. The potential threat of an American landing worked and the Moroccan Sultan used his influence/power with the kidnapper to force a release of Perdicaris and Varley. The marines never landed ashore and never fired a shot.
No shots were fired, no invasion took place. But the general story made for a colorful tale in the movie which changed kidnapper's victims to an American woman and children and had the military invading Morocco. According to biographer Edmund Morris*, "The part of the kidnapped Perdicaris, in real life a bald, fat, sixtyish gentleman is given to Candice Bergen, who may be prematurely wizened, but is neither bald nor fat, and is by no means a gentleman." Varley becomes a pair of children and the abductor Raisuli was portrayed by the dashing Sean Connery.
Because of this fictitious movie tale many people think TR invaded. But his administration never invaded anywhere. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" worked.
With the "big stick" of the Navy looking on, the "soft" but boldly spoken message reached Morocco. The matter was settled diplomatically and the hostages were released. Not one drop of blood was shed.
TR did use the incident to stir up the Republican convention, sending an ultimatum to Morocco by having the message, "We want either Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead", read during a dull period. The effect was dramatic and brought renewed vigor to the convention delegates. TR actually knew Perdicaris had already been released, but the news, which traveled more slowly then, had not yet reached Americans.
According to the Theodore Roosevelt Association's Executive Director, Dr. John Gable, "Shortly after the kidnapping incident, and in light of the unsettled conditions in Morocco, Theodore Roosevelt skillfully and successfully mediated the Algeciras Conference of 1905, which both preserved Moroccan independence and the European balance of power, thus for a time saving the peace in North Africa and Europe.
Ironically it eventually came out that Perdicaris was no longer an American citizen when he was kidnapped, but this fact was unknown when the whole affair began.