The Forum’s 38th season was opened by incoming Chairman Michael Cochrane who welcomed back attending members and also extended greetings to two new members namely Mike Tutt who had attended several years ago and Jim Wilson. Two apologies had been given to the meeting. Roy Smith Treasurer gave an update of the Forum’s Receipts and Payments account for year ending 30th June 2014 and invited questions. Secretary Neil Ramshaw reminded members of the need for kitchen support (thanks to Roger Bancroft who is now immediately taking a week off!!) and the need for a 2nd Vice Chairman. Also please advise any change of personal details to the Secretary to keep Forum records up to date..
The Speaker for today was Mr David Davies a returning visitor having previously entertained and educated the Forum with post war governmental history. His topic for this talk was “1914–Out of a Clear Blue Sky” which examined the factors and reasons that led to the World War One hostilities and whether it came as a surprise or due to a build up of events became inevitable. Hindsight whilst easily applied is not necessarily accurate and we should not judge but more try to understand what led to the situation and apply some context. The times of apparent tranquility masked social upheavals and developments; troubles in places such as Ireland and expansionist aspirations on mainland Europe. Whist Britain was shielded to some extent from external threats by the strength of its Navy, agreements made covertly and Treaties entered into abroad led to existential threats eventually. The impact of personalities such as Kaiser Wilhelm, Franz Ferdinand et al also played a part in the momentum towards war with an increasingly wish from the military in some countries towards this agenda. Eventually the aligned alliances, the breach of Belgium neutrality and the Franz Ferdinand assassination saw the outbreak of war. The issues raised led to a number of questions from the floor.
The Vote of Thanks was given by John Taylor and there were 31 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY