Lead: In the fall of 1898, France and Britain found themselves in a tense standoff over possession of the tiny upper Nile Valley village of Fashoda in the Sudan.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Diplomatic disputes are rarely simple. They usually involve the stated reason for conflict, but after the passage of time, often can be peeled like an onion. Later reflection reveals layers of subtle reasoning and motivation, some not so obvious. France's support for the American Revolution after 1788 was hardly enthusiasm for democracy by the autocratic government of Louis XVI, rather it was in large measure a barely-disguised attempt at revenge for France's losses in the Seven Years' War earlier in the century. So too the Fashoda incident involved more than a tense stalemate between a British Army under General Kitchener and a few French troops led by Colonel Marchand over who would control a little spit of high ground miles from nowhere in sub-Saharan Sudan. Kitchener and Marchand kept the matter on the scene at a polite standoff while London and Paris circled around one another with teeth bared in an elaborate diplomatic minuet.

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