News Thatcher's iconic locks were as big a part of her image as her sensible handbag, but few knew, until now, just how long it took her to keep her famous barnet in check until the National Archives released her 1984 appointments diary

Thatcher's locks were as big a part of her image as her sensible handbag, but few knew just how long it took her to keep her famous barnet in check

Talking about that European elephant in the room has certainly brightened things up

Angela Merkel chose to sell herself to German voters as a master EU summit negotiator

Helmut Kohl

Bitter feud divides family of Germany’s reunification leader

Son of Helmut Kohl accuses second wife of controlling former Chancellor ‘like a stalker’

Peter Popham: Holding leaders to account is a democratic duty

The fall of the ultimate leader of a state – his execution, conviction or simply humiliation – is a dangerous thrill. The citizens who cheered the decapitations of Charles I and Louis XVI knew all about it, the surging, anarchic sense of power and vindication. The Egyptians who this year saw a supine, inert Mubarak wheeled into court, the Libyans who saw the Brother Leader butchered in the street like a rabid dog, knew that mood of wild elation.

Helmut Kohl blames Merkel for ruining his Europe project

Chancellor Angela Merkel's euro woes plunged to new and uncharted depths yesterday, amid disclosures that her former mentor Helmut Kohl had accused her of "ruining" the Europe he had helped to create and of pursuing single currency policies which he called "very dangerous".

Leo Kirch: Entrepreneur who built up one of Europe's largest media empires only to see it fall apart

From nothing Leo Kirch built up one of the largest film and television companies in Europe, employing nearly 10,000 people. Inevitably, he was compared to Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi.

The tortured life of Mrs Helmut Kohl

A new book reveals that the former German leader's wife was raped as a child and hated life in the political spotlight

The Perfect Nazi, By Martin Davidson

The "perfect Nazi" took many forms in the Third Reich. It had to, in order to ensure the mass mobilisation of the population behind the National Socialist cause. It could take the form of an Aryan woman pushing out baby after baby, serving as an incubator of future soldiers for the Reich, or of an ardent Hitler Youth member who was quick to denounce his parents if they deviated from the Nazi world-view. Or it could take the form of an SS officer, actively hunting down opponents to the regime and pursuing whatever channels deemed necessary to ensure the longevity of Hitler's rule. Martin Davidson's grandfather, Bruno Langbehn, fell into the latter group.

Mary Dejevsky: Who dares wins – in politics, too

It's not enough to be confident and ambitious, to have a sound party base and to do your homework more assiduously. You have to go on seizing the opportunities

The iron Frau: Angela Merkel

Germany is flexing its muscles again – thanks to a tough-talking Chancellor who is enjoying popularity both at home and abroad. How has Angela Merkel done it? Tony Paterson reports

Otto Graf Lambsdorff: Flamboyant West German economics minister who brought down Helmut Schmidt

Otto Graf Lambsdorff, as he was known, had the distinction of serving as economics minister in Helmut Schmidt's left-of-centre government from 1977 until 1982, and then in Helmut Kohl's right-of-centre coalition until 1984.

Bruce Anderson: The EU battle isn't over for Cameron

Although a short-term crisis has been averted, a longer term crisis is inevitable

The Fall of the Wall: 20 Years On

We know what happened in the years following the momentous events of 9 November 1989: the birth of a new Europe. But that week, fear mingled with hope – and The Independent's correspondents and photographers were there to capture the moment. In a special report, we present the first draft of history

Frau Fortunate: Angela Merkel

With a huge poll lead ahead of national elections, Germany's first woman Chancellor continues to be in the right place at the right time

And finally, Germans see the funny side of Mrs Merkel

Chancellor escapes lightly in comic biography three months before election
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before