Matthias Erzberger

Matthias Erzberger

Matthias Erzberger, the son of a craftsman, was born in Wurttemberg, on 20th September, 1875. He became a journalist and worked for the Deutsches Volksblatt.

Erzberger joined the Centre Party and was elected to the Reichstag in 1903. On the left of the party he attacked the way that Germany treated the African people in its colonies.

Erzberger initially supported the country's involvement in the First World War but by 1917 was calling for a negotiated peace. On 11th November, 1918, Erzberger headed the German delegation who signed the Armistice.

In June, 1919 Erzberger became finance minister and he endorsed the Treaty of Versailles. His liberal views made him unpopular with Adolf Hitler and other right-wing nationalists and in March, 1920, he was forced from office. Matthias Erzberger was murdered in Baden by members of the Freikorps on 26th August, 1921.

Primary Sources

(1) Maurice Buckmaster, Specially Employed (1952)

It has been customary, since the war, to blame the Maquis for every misfortune and hardship that France has now to undergo. It is almost an unpopular thing in France in 1952 to have fought for France's liberation in 1940-45. And if one fought and perhaps died in company with British officers, it is now considered almost unpardonable. None of the 'best people' did it. Of course, they were not collaborationists - nor supporters of Petain - just the best type that waited to see what would happen. I wonder what, in fact, would have happened if all these brave men and women who continually risked life and property to save our liaison officers had waited on the fence?