Month: April 2015

May 20, 2015
Mark Albertson on the WW l Treaty of Versailles and its Aftermath

Mark Albertson

Mark Albertson

The Treaty of Versailles (French: Traité de Versailles) was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919, and was printed in The League of Nations Treaty Series.

Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required “Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage” during the war (the other members of the Central Powers signed treaties containing similar articles). This article, Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks (then $31.4 billion or £6.6 billion, roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2015). At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a “Carthaginian peace”, and said the figure was excessive and counter-product ive. The contemporary American historian Sally Marks judged the reparation figure to be lenient, a sum that was designed to look imposing but was in fact not, that had little impact on the German economy and analysed the treaty as a whole to be quite restrained and not as harsh as it could have been.

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left none contented: Germany was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened. The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European Powers, and the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.

Mark Albertson is an historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine, has been a member of the United States Naval Institute for more than twenty-five years, as well as being a member of the Navy League.

Arranged by Alex Garnett

May 14, 2015
Hiking in the Babcock Preserve

Babcock Preserve

Join us for Hiking in the Babcock Preserve on Thursday May 14, 2015

The Babcock Preserve is a 300-acre tract of forested land in Greenwich, north of the Merritt Parkway. It is the largest park in Greenwich and comprises several hiking trails over a relatively easy terrain. It was acquired by the Town of Greenwich in 1972, partially by gift, and partially by purchase from the Babcock Family.

Wives and significant others are welcome

Meeting Place and Time

We meet on Thursday, May 14 at 10am at the Babcock Preserve entrance.

The hike should be done by 12.30 and, for those interested, will be followed by beer and lunch at a nearby restaurant.

For any questions, please call Sunil Saksena on his cell at 203 561 8601, or by email


From the south-bound Merritt Parkway take Exit 31 (North St). At the top of the exit ramp make a left turn on to North St-north. About half a mile down the road on the left will be the clearly marked entrance to Babcock Preserve. There is ample parking.

May 13, 2015
Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus, Young & Rubicam

Peter Georgescu

Peter Georgescu

Peter Andrew Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam, was born on the eve of the Second World War in Bucharest, Romania. His Romanian parents were educated in England and France. Peter’s father was the Managing Director of Exxon’s operation in Romania. While on a business trip to New York in 1947, the Iron Curtain fell and Peter’s parents could not return to Romania. Overnight they became the enemy of the Communist regime (his father would have been killed if he’d returned to Romania). Peter and his brother were left in Romania with his grandparents and would remain apart from his mother and father for eight years. His grandfather was seized and imprisoned as a political threat, and then murdered in captivity. Shortly after his grandfather was taken away, Peter, only nine years old, was arrested along with his brother and grandmother and sent to a work camp. In 1953 his father was approached by Romanian Communist diplomats in New York and asked to spy for them in exchange for “good treatment” for the children. Georgescu’s parents refused and went to the press, causing an international scandal. With the intervention of Congressman Frances Bolton and President Eisenhower, the boys were reunited with their parents in April of 1954.

Peter’s American journey started with a gifted admission to Exeter Academy in the fall of 1954—which generously overlooked his inability to speak English and having had no formal schooling since second grade. He attended Princeton and earned an MBA degree from Stanford Business School. In 1963 he entered Young & Rubicam as a trainee in their research department. Thirty-seven years later he retired as Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam with Y&R at the pinnacle of the advertising and related communications industry.

Under Mr. Georgescu’s leadership, Young & Rubicam successfully transformed from a private to a publicly-held company. During his tenure, Young & Rubicam built the most extensive database on global branding and, from its findings, developed a proprietary model for diagnosing and managing brands. Within the marketing community, he is known as a leading proponent of creating unified communications programs, agency accountability for measuring the impact of communications programs, and structuring value-based agency compensation.

In recognition for his contributions to the marketing and advertising industry, Peter was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame and received several Honorary Doctorate of Humanity degrees and other recognitions from a number of colleges and universities.

Peter has served on eight public company boards and continues as a Vice Chairman of New York Presbyterian Hospital and several other nor-for-profit organizations.

In 2006 Mr. Georgescu published his first book The Source of Success — asserting that personal values and creativity, devoted to creating lasting relationships with individual customers, are the leading drivers of business success in the 21st Century.

May 6, 2015
Julia Wade, Director of Volunteers, Domus

Julia Wade, Domus Director of Volunteers

Julia Wade

Since 1972, Domus has helped thousands of our region’s most vulnerable youth experience success. Domus is the Latin noun for home, which is where our roots are: We opened our doors as a group home for homeless boys and stay in touch with many of them. We also keep home and all its positive connotations in mind as we create loving relationships and warm, loving places to heal from trauma.

Our goal for the young people we serve is to create the conditions necessary for them to get on a path toward health and opportunity so they can engage and succeed in school and ultimately have satisfying and productive lives. Our programs–schools, community programs, and residential programs–lead youth to that path.

In order to help our youth stay in school and catch up academically so they can achieve the important milestone of high school graduation, Domus focuses on three interventions:

  • High-quality remedial academic instruction;
  • Effective out-of-school-time programming;
  • Support in overcoming non-academic barriers to academic success

Domus Core Principles

A United Way Agency Partner

Hiking the Zofnass Family Preserve
Thursday, April 23, 2015

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Zofnass Family Preserve

Zofnass Family Preserve

We will hike in the Zofnass Family Preserve on Thursday, April 23, 2015. This 150-acre preserve is held by the Westchester Land Trust and encompasses forests, rock outcroppings, streams, lakes, and wetlands. It is located in Pound Ridge, NY, near the Stamford border.

Our route will traverse about 3½ miles. Parking is limited, so we will gather near the homes of Scott Hutchason and Rich Sabreen at 9:45, then carpool to the preserve. Following the hike, those who wish to do so, we will continue to a local restaurant for lunch.

Wives and significant others are encouraged to join us!

Directions to meeting place:

  • From the Merritt Parkway exit 34
  • Proceed 3.0 miles north on Long Ridge Road
  • Right 0.5 miles on Old Long Ridge Road
  • Right 0.5 miles on Mill Road
  • Left on Mill Spring Lane
  • Proceed to end
  • For GPS use 121 Mill Spring Lane, Stamford

For more Information contact Scott Hutchason,,

Zofnass Family Preserve

Zofnass Family Preserve

April 29, 2015
Mark Albertson will speak about the causes of WW l

The underlying causes of World War I, which began in the Balkans in late July 1914, are several. Among these causes were political, territorial, and economic conflicts among the great European powers in the four decades leading up to the war. Additional causes were militarism, a complex web of alliances, imperialism, and nationalism. The immediate origins of the war, however, lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914 caused by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie by Gavrilo Princip, an ethnic Serb and Yugoslav nationalist from the group Young Bosnia, which was supported by the Black Hand, a nationalist organization in Serbia.

The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic clashes among the Great Powers (Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Austria-Hungary and Russia) over European and colonial issues in the decade before 1914 that had left tensions high. In turn these public clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.[2] The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary competed with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties.

Some of the most important long-term or structural factors were the growth of nationalism across Europe, unresolved territorial disputes, an intricate system of alliances, the perceived breakdown of the balance of power in Europe, convoluted and fragmented governance, the arms races of the previous decades, previous military planning, imperial and colonial rivalry for wealth, power and prestige, and economic and military rivalry in industry and trade – e.g., the Pig War between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Other causes that came into play during the diplomatic crisis that preceded the war included misperceptions of intent (e.g., the German belief that Britain would remain neutral) and delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications. Historians in recent years have downplayed economic rivalries and have portrayed the international business community as a force for peace. War would hurt business.

Mark Albertson is an historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine. He has been a member of the United States Naval Institute for more than twenty-five years, as well as being a member of the Navy League.

Arranged by Alex Garnett

Book Discussion Group Meeting on April 8, 2015 at 12:30 at the Darien Library to discuss “ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE” by Anthony Doerr

51765Ptvm+L._AA160_NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST.  From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious work about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. ( 25 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list)

Discussion Leader: John Podkowsky.  A list of discussion questions was previously circulated.

DMA May selection: AGENT STORM by  Morten Storm, Paul Cruickshank, and Tim Lister

Agent Storm is the remarkable memoir of a Danish convert-turned-extremist who managed not only to infiltrate al Qaeda’s ranks but would later become one of West’s most valued human intelligence assets in the war on terrorism. As a true spy-story, this book brings you incredibly close to what it actually takes to be an extremist and get into a terrorist group while balancing loyalty and treachery in the world of intelligence. Essential reading for everyone interested in how the war on terrorism is actually fought in the shadows.”
“Agent Storm opens a unique window onto bleak interlocking landscapes—the radicalization of European Muslims that has now been energized by the Syrian civil war, the leadership and organization of global jihad, and the twilight struggle waged by western intelligence agencies against an elusive and implacable enemy.”

Discussion Leader:  John Podkowsky

Book available at the Darien Library the second week of April; Discussion date:  May 13.

April 22, 2015
Chris Filmer will speak about the history of South Africa

Cris Filmer

Chris Filmer

Born in South Africa, Chris Filmer lived there and in England until 1977 when he moved with his family to the US.

His business career was spent in Marketing and Executive Training, including twenty years with Pepsi Cola International. The extensive world travel involved in his job only enhanced his lifelong fascination with world history.

Chris is the author of Famous Lives That Shaped World HistoryThis book project started the day after he retired on February 1, 2000. Chris Filmer is an enthusiastic sportsman, conservationist and artist. He lives with his wife Sandra in Darien Connecticut.