On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.
earliest example dealt with a growing extravagance
in nineteenth-century French funeralpractices.
The historical cases introduced the question of why overflow
debates emerge in certain historical contexts and not in others.
Recent debates about sustainability have focused on waste – an
issue that becomes especially remarkable when one compares its
treatment with studies from the 1950s and 1960s, when the focus
was on growing or anticipated overconsumption. Such worries took
different forms in different parts of Europe. In Western Europe,
there was a great deal of