Renmore History Society

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Forthcoming Talks

The 03rd Sept 2009 was the 70th Anniversary of the declaration that started World War Two, the most destructive war in human history. The events following that date are well known, but the events leading up to it far less so. This is partly because these events reflect glory on no one, and involve a catalogue of mistakes, abdications of responsibility and missed opportunities.
This talk will examine the events that led from the optimistic promise following ‘war to end all wars’, to the outbreak of a conflict that was to put the carnage of the Great War in the shade. Could it have been prevented? Could Hitler have been stopped? What lessons can we learn?

The reality of life for the ordinary soldier, from Waterloo to WW2.
Brian MacGabhann

Only recently has the voice of the ordinary soldier been heard, and their experiences recorded. For centuries they have been silent; their experiences interpreted and reported on by others. But this has led to some significant misunderstandings of what actually happens in battle, both among historians and among the public at large.

This talk looks at the reality of life for the ordinary soldier in battle, and seeks to record and report their actual experience of it. In doing so it throws up some remarkable facts, such as that in even the fiercest battle, nearly half of those in the thick of it never fired their weapon, or the fact that there is no recorded instance of an actual bayonet charge, or that Napoleonic cavalry charges never actually came into contact with each other. The talk makes use of history, psychology, movies, and even a bit of poetry.

Hint: click on any of the page graphics for a larger version

Introduction:

The Battle of Verdun remains one of the most unique battles in military history. At ten months it is one of the longest battles ever fought, and while in crude statistical terms other battles have produced greater casualties, the geographical concentration of this battle (it was fought over a front eight km across at its widest point), meant that mile for mile, it produced more death and destruction than almost any other engagement in history.

There are some 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, about 20% of the global population. Islam is now the world’s second largest religion, and in terms of the demographics of adherents, the world’s most youthful religion. Today however, it is widely misunderstood, frequently misrepresented and often misreported. This talk sets out to chart the history of Islam, from the birth of Muhammad in 570, through the foundation of the Caliphate, the vicissitudes of the crusades, Mongol invasion and European colonization, through to the situation today. In the process it will consider the core values and beliefs of Islam, and chart its evolution and development down through the centuries.

The Nuremberg War-Crimes Tribunal

The War Crimes tribunal that followed the ending of World War Two is now so engrained in our collective history that we sometimes forget how radical and ground-breaking the idea was. The victorious European powers set out not just to punish the evil of Nazism, but also to reassert liberal democratic values, so bruised from six years of bloody warfare. This talk will look at the background to the most famous series of trials in modern history, consider what they tried to achieve, and ask if the values and principles laid down at Nuremberg are still relevant today.