Who signed the 1918 Armistice Agreement for Germany and what happened to him?

We have just commemorated the centenary of the ending of the First World War. We all know that, following an Armistice Agreement signed in a railway carriage in rural France, hostilities ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

But, until watching a BBC2 documentary entitled “WW1: The Final Hours”, I had not realised that the agreement was signed on behalf of Germany not by a military figure – as was the case for France and Britain – but by a civilian politician. His name was Matthias Erzberger. So, what happened to him? Wikipedia explains:

“The denunciations of the conservative and national liberal press went beyond the ordinary limits of party polemics: the Tägliche Rundschau observed, in allusion to Erzberger’s personal appearance, “he may be as round as a bullet, but he is not bullet-proof.” The climax of these attacks was that Erzberger was murdered on 26 August 1921 in Bad Griesbach, a spa in the Black Forest (Baden) while he was out for a walk.

Due to his signing the armistice of 1918, Erzberger was regarded as a traitor by many on the political right. Manfred von Killinger, a leading member of the Germanenorden, masterminded his killing by recruiting two members of the ultra-nationalist death squad Organisation Consul: Heinrich Tillessen and Heinrich Schulz. Both were former Navy officers and members of the disbanded Marinebrigade Ehrhardt.

Erzberger’s assassins were later smuggled into Hungary and were prosecuted only after World War II.”


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