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Encyclopedia > Matthias Erzberger

Matthias Erzberger (September 20, 1875August 26, 1921) was a German political figure. Prominent in the Centre Party, he spoke out against the First World War and eventually signed the Armistice for the German Empire. He was assassinated for this act by the Organisation Consul. September 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years). ... 1875 (MDCCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... August 26 is the 238th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (239th in leap years). ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for full calendar). ... A politician is an individual involved in politics, sometimes this may include political scientists. ... The German Centre Party (Deutsche Zentrumspartei or merely Zentrum), often called the Catholic Centre Party, was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contents

Early career

He was born in Buttenhausen, Württemberg, the son of a craftsman. In his early life he gained massive weight, which he lost in the course of thirty years. He became a journalist working for the Deutsches Volksblatt. Erzberger joined the Centre Party and was elected to the Reichstag in 1903. The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Muensingen. ... Arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Wuerttemberg. ... The German Centre Party (Deutsche Zentrumspartei or merely Zentrum), often called the Catholic Centre Party, was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. ... The Reichstag (German for Imperial Diet) was the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Confederation, and of Germany until 1945. ...


During the Great War

Like many of his party, he initially supported Germany's involvement in World War I. By mid-1917, however, with the armies bedevilled on both fronts, he had come to a change of heart, which he elucidated in a brilliant speech in the Reichstag on the July 6, in which he called on the government to denounce territorial ambition and called for a negotiated end to the war. The speech was remarkable at the time in that he carefully delineated the extent of German military weakness. Two weeks later, on the 19th, he put to the vote what he called a 'Peace Resolution', embodying all the points he had made in his speech. The resolution passed 212 to 126, and indeed received the support of Erich Ludendorff's nominee in the Reichskanzlei, Chancellor Georg Michaelis. But the Chancellor had hamstrung the resolution by adding to his support the proviso 'as I interpret it', which he then used as an excuse to completely ignore its prescriptive power. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy Empire of Japan United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Herbert Henry Asquith Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow Wilson... July 6 is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 178 days remaining. ... Ludendorff in 1918 Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. // Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ... The Imperial Chancellory (German Reichskanzlei) is the traditional name of the office of the German Chancellor. ... For other articles with similar names, see Chancellor (disambiguation). ... Georg Michaelis (September 8, 1857–July 21, 1936) was the first Chancellor of Germany of non-noble background. ...


Erzberger's political attempts failed, but by his very public attack on the war effort, and his dissemination of information about the fragility of the German military he created a climate in which the government found it increasingly difficult to maintain the belief that the war could be won. When, towards the end of the war, the German Navy mutined at Kiel, the sailors informed their officers that what they wanted was 'Erzberger' – his name by then being synonymous with 'peace'. November Revolution redirects here. ...


Signing the Armistice

Prince Max von Baden's last act as Chancellor was thus to send Erzberger on the November 7, 1918, to negotiate with the Allies in the Forest of Compiègne. He supposed that Erzberger, as a Catholic civilian, would be more acceptable to the allies than a Prussian military officer; in addition, he believed that Erzberger's reputation as a man of peace was unassailable. This decision was to have unexpected ramifications in the years that followed. Over the next few days, Erzberger obtained important concessions from Ferdinand Foch, the chief Allied negotiator; but he was unsure whether he should hold out for further changes in Germany's favour. Paul von Hindenburg himself telegraphed back that the armistice should be signed, modifications or no. A while later, the new Chancellor, the socialist Friedrich Ebert, telegraphed authorizing Erzberger to sign. Prince Maximilian of Baden (Max von Baden) (1 July 1867–6 November 1929) was the cousin and heir of Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden, and succeeded Frederick as head of the Grand Ducal House in 1928. ... Compiègne is a commune in the Oise département of France, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Ferdinand Foch OM GCB (October 2, 1851 – March 20, 1929) was a French soldier, military educator and author credited for possessing the most original and subtle mind in the French Army. ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German Field Marshal and statesman. ... Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... Friedrich Ebert (February 4, 1871–February 28, 1925) was a German politician (SPD), who served as the 9th Chancellor of Germany and its first president during the Weimar period. ...


As the head of the German delegation, he signed the armistice ending World War I on November 11, 1918 at Compiègne with French representative Ferdinand Foch. He made a short speech on the occasion, protesting the harshness of the terms, and concluded by saying that "a nation of seventy millions can suffer, but it cannot die". (Foch is said to have replied, "Très bien".) Front page of the New York Times on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918 The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on November 11, 1918, and marked the end of the First World War on the Western Front. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... Year 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Compiègne is a commune in the Oise département of France, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Ferdinand Foch OM GCB (October 2, 1851 – March 20, 1929) was a French soldier, military educator and author credited for possessing the most original and subtle mind in the French Army. ...


After the War

Returning to Berlin, Erzberger agreed to serve under Ebert as Chairman of the Armistice Commission, a difficult and humiliating task. He fell out with Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau in early 1919 for advocating handing over Karl Radek, the Bolshevik diplomat and agitator, to the Entente following the collapse of the German Revolution. Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau (May 29, 1869 - September 8, 1928) was a German diplomat and the first Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Karl Bernhardovich Radek (October 31, 1885 - May 19, 1939) was a Bolshevik and an international Communist leader. ... Bolsheviks (Russian: IPA , derived from bolshinstvo, majority) were members of the Bolshevik faction of the Marxist Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which split apart from the Menshevik faction[1] at the Second Party Congress in 1903 and ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ... European military alliances in 1915. ... The German November Revolution was one of many Revolutions across Europe at the end of World War I in 1918-1919. ...


Erzberger became finance minister in June 1919, and endorsed the Treaty of Versailles. He was treated with particular contempt by the right wing, as the man who had signed what was becoming viewed as a humiliating and unnecessary surrender. He managed, however, to stabilise national finances, and reduced the financial independence of states. He reformed and unified the Deutsche Reichseisenbahnen, which began to make a profit for the first time and helped pay the war reparations. In addition, he taxed luxuries and war profits, and replaced all provincial taxes with a uniform central tax code. The German tax code to this day bears his imprint. The Treaty of Versailles (3010) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Central Powers and the German Empire. ... The Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR, literally German Imperial Railway) was the name of the German national railway created from the railways of the individual states of the German Empire following the end of World War I. It was founded in 1920 as the Deutsche Reichseisenbahnen when the Weimar Republic (formally Deutsches... War reparations refer to the monetary compensation provided to a triumphant nation or coalition from a defeated nation or coalition. ...


He was forced from office in March 1920, and was later murdered in Bad Griesbach, a spa in the Black Forest (Baden) by members of the Organisation Consul, an act which was celebrated by right-wing extremists at the time. Erzberger's assassins were smuggled out of Germany and were prosecuted only after World War II. A map of Germany, showing the Black Forest in red. ... gay ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Legacy

Erzberger was instrumental in preparing the German nation for peace and in ensuring that the Catholic Centre Party, the predecessors of today's Christian Democratic Union, retained a modicum of power in an increasingly radicalised Germany. His financial, federal and rail reforms transformed Germany. But his greatest, and most tragic legacy, was his signature, as a civilian, on the Armistice. This was pointed to for decades afterwards as an indication that scheming Socialists in Berlin had surrendered for personal gain when the German Army was still prepared to fight, and became an important exhibit in the Stab-in-the-Back Legend that propelled Hitler to power. This article needs cleanup. ... Magazine title from 1924, example of a propaganda illustration in support of the legend On November 11, 1918, the civilian representatives of the newly formed Weimar Republic of Germany signed an armistice with the Allies which would end World War I. The war itself had killed 1,770,000 German... Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ...


References

  • Diemer, Kurt, Matthias Erzberger (1875 - 1921). Staatsmann und Demokrat, Biberacher Verlagsdruckerei, Biberach 1986. ISBN 3-924489-36-X
  • Eschenburg, Theodor, Matthias Erzberger. Der grosse Mann des Parlamentarismus und derFinanzreform, Piper Verlag, München 1973. ISBN 3-492-00339-7
  • Epstein, Klaus, Matthias Erzberger and the dilemma of German democracy, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1959.
  • Heinzelmann, Josef, "Zur Herkunft Matthias Erzbergers", GENEALOGIE 9 (18), 1969, p. 593–604.
  • Krausnick Michael, & Günter Randecker, Mord Erzberger!, BoD GmbH, Norderstedt 2005, ISBN 3-8334-3586-0
  • Leitzbach, Christian, Matthias Erzberger. Ein kritischer Beobachter des Wilhelminischen Reiches 1895-1914, Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1998. ISBN 3-631-33492-3
  • Michalka, Wolfgang (ed.), Matthias Erzberger: Reichsminister in Deutschlands schwerster Zeit, Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2002, ISBN 3-935035-32-2
  • Palmer, Christoph E. & Thomas Schnabel, Matthias Erzberger 1875 - 1921, Patriot und Visionär, Hohenheim-Verlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-89850-141-8

  Results from FactBites:
 
First World War.com - Who's Who - Matthias Erzberger (390 words)
Matthias Erzberger (1875-1921) was a moderate German politician who led calls for a negotiated peace in the Reichstag in 1917 and served in the post-war cabinet as Minister of Finance.
On the left of the Catholic Party Erzberger was elected to the Reichstag as a Deputy in 1903, a confirmed monarchist and patriot.
Erzberger's publication of a secret memo authored by Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Ottokar Czernin, which was decidedly gloomy in its view of the conduct of the war, merely earned Erzberger the ultimately fatal enmity of right-wing groups without altering the course of the war.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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