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A large part of the permanent exhibition is dedicated to the First World War: almost half of the museum is devoted to it.

During the years of the conflict, Mons found itself in an unusual position, swinging from battleground to occupied area. After being the theatre for the first clash between the British and German armies at the battle of 23 August 1914, Mons was later the place where the Allied armies came to a halt on 11 November 1918 in the wake of their victorious offensive. Before regaining their freedom, the people of Mons endured a period of occupation that lasted four years. All kinds of restrictions, endless checks and regular humiliation were part of daily life for all civilians, who, for the most part, endeavoured to keep living as normally as possible.

The experience of the soldiers stationed in damp and muddy trenches on the Western Front is brought to life in detail. Their relationships with family members left behind, their reactions to new types of weapons, and their difficulties in looking death in the face are some of the subjects spoken about in soldiers' war diaries and in the letters they sent home to loved ones. These previously unseen witness accounts constitute the underlying theme of the visit, giving the historical events a sensitive, emotional aspect.

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