The eternal question of Rations

The Dodeka Club in Reading debated rationing and conscription.

The 290th meeting of the club was held on Friday Ap. 5. 18 at Barkas’s…

There being apparently some misunderstanding as to the subject of the evening’s discussion, owing to more than one topic having been suggested, the host skilfully evaded the matter by touching on the “eternal” question of “Rations”. This, together with the possibility of some of our juvenile members being “conscripted”, provided food for an animated discussion, & at 10.50 a pleasant evening was brought to a close.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

The brotherhood of man will be realised after the war

The Dodeka Club members in Reading debated the future of the country once peace were declared. Some were optimistic, others took the whole question less seriously.

The 280th meeting of the club was held at Barkas’s on Jan 5th 1917.

After refreshments an exceedingly suggestive and interesting paper was read by the host entitled:- “After the war. What?” The host after suggesting that very altered conditions must exist after this titanic struggle, proceeded to argue on evolutionary lines. Religion would be deepened and become more spiritual. Science would become more closely allied with trade and manufacture and research would be increasingly applied to both physical and psychical conditions so as to finally bridge the gulf between religion and science.

Social endeavour would be greatly helped by the men, who, having met on the battlefield, would realize the brotherhood of man and so lose the distrust between class and class. The colonies would unite with the mother country and form a great Federal Council of free peoples, the greatest the world has ever seen, for the uplifting and true happiness of the human race.

An active discussion took place after the paper, the tine varying from a note of great levity to one of seriousness. It was suggested, in the words of Kipling, that “Pay, pay, pay” would be the most likely answer to the title of the paper. After discussing such questions as Labour unsettlement, cooperation and division of profits, reform of the tariff and an Empire Parliament, the discussion turned to the problem of how soon men would have wings, which quickly put a termination to the proceedings.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

Germany tries to justify the war to Americans

At their November meeting, the Dodeka Book Club discussed the war again, focussing on German propaganda addressed to neutral America.

November 13th 1914

The subject chosen by the host [Mr Barkas] for discussion was “The War”. In opening he said; he did not propose to go back to how the present war came about. Since the outbreak Germany had published a book which may be considered as the official German justification of the war. This book has been freely circulated in America and in many cases pressed on Americans when leaving the Fatherland. For obvious reasons the Germans had not sought its circulation in England. Most of the statements made in the book have been proved to be false and its circulation has not met with the success hoped for. Now other methods are being adopted to try and show America that her best interests would be secured by morally supporting Germany in her efforts to subjugate England. Letters, obviously inspired, show from time to time how the Germans are misinformed as to the cause and progress of the war. It has now lasted over 100 days. What was the probable duration of the war?

With this question, Barkas asked for an interchange of opinions, also on (2) how to obtain recruits? and (3) might the censorship of war news be relaxed. The last two questions were not reached as the discussion of the first was not completed at the close of the meeting.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)