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.