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Mons is embracing the future as it prepares for its role as next year’s European Capital of Culture, but it’s also steeped in intriguing history. Philip Sweeney explores its two sides

In the trenches in France in 1916

A most surprising peacenik: Historian Niall Ferguson says Britain should have stayed out of WWI

The Harvard University professor says the country paid too high a price in terms of the lives lost and the vast debts that were run up during the conflict

Cambridge history professor Sir Richard Evans: ‘Michael Gove is a donkey who pretends to be a lion’

Sir Richard also hit out at the commemorative Lord Kitchener coin

Avenue Foch is home to billionaires including the families of dictators

What the Foch? Plan to redevelop Paris’s richest road into park, shopping mall and council estate

Spectacular proposal brings race to become city's next mayor to life

Jeremy Paxman would have 'done better' had he fought in the WW1 trenches

The Newsnight presenter's interview technique could have been even tougher, he says, had be have served in the Armed Forces

Postcard from... Brussels

Former US defence secretary Robert Gates has warned the UK against reducing the size of its military

Britain is a 'first class player': David Cameron responds to ex-US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' claim that UK military cuts could mean 'no US partnership'

The Former US secretary said a reduction in personnel would damage the UK's ability to be a partner with America

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

Review: 'The Life & Times of Herbert Chapman', by Patrick Barclay

Portrait of a trailblazing manager who took Arsenal, and football, to new heights

A history teacher's appraisal of Michael Gove's approach to the teaching of history

The Education Secretary's ability to brush aside the past work of so many is worrying as well as sad

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Michael Gove: He's not the Education Secretary, he's a very silly boy

Michael Gove's silliness reached a new peak in his comments on the First World War

Those who've fought, teach: Yes to ex-military teachers but no to cadet units in schools

Former members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have a lot to offer – experience of life, for a start

Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson in Blackadder

Baldrick bites back: Sir Tony Robinson calls Michael Gove 'irresponsible' over criticisms of Blackadder as propaganda tool for the left

Actor says comments by Education Secretary amounted to 'slagging off teachers'

British troops moving up to the trenches near Ypres in 1917

As we enter the centenary, Gove is right to question First World War myths

Revisionist historians have shown that British generals were not so very hapless

Gone with the Wind actress Alicia Rhett dies aged 98

Rhett was one of the last remaining cast members from the 1939 classic

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! By Richard Ned Lebow: Book review - counterfactual Great War history that plays game of 'what if'

The great thing about "counterfactual" history is that anyone can play. If Gordon Brown hadn't been caught making those remarks about a "bigoted woman" might he still be PM? If Hitler had invaded England in 1940 would we all be speaking German? If the judge in the Rivonia trial had sentenced Nelson Mandela to death rather than life in jail?

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