European Perspectives on a Disaster: Courrières (1906)



German rescuers arriving after the Courrières' disaster (1906).Disasters have an international echo and reveal national characteristics. In 1906, all Europe was shocked by a mining accident in Courrières, the biggest industrial disaster suffered by France in modern times (with over a thousand fatalities). While at first reactions of solidarity were unanimous, fears of social unrest later began to break the initial harmony. But in the case of Courrières, German rescuers came to the aid of French miners: this episode briefly transformed the tragedy into a symbol of hope for peace among men.