après moi le deluge(redirected from Apres moi le deluge)
après moi le deluge
A disaster will follow. The French phrase, translated as “After me the deluge,” has been attributed to King Louis XVI or to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. He or she was referring to the centuries of excessive living enjoyed by the aristocracy and paid for by the rest of France and what would happen as a result when His Majesty (or Madame) went to their heavenly rest. Whether the king or his main squeeze was predicting a cataclysm or simply indicating that he or she didn't care what came after them isn't clear. Nevertheless, whoever spoke the words was a prophet in his or her time: fourteen years after Louis's death came the revolution that swept away the old order, including Louis's son. No one could have been ideologically further from the Bourbon monarchy than Karl Marx, who repeated the phrase in his Das Kapital: “Après moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society.” The phrase is the very appropriate motto of Britain's Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, nicknamed “the Dam Busters” for its sorties against German dams during World War II.