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If Matthias Erzberger, whom Christopher Dowe describes as emblematic of German Catholics, unreservedly supported the war in 1914, by 1915 he was exploring peace initiatives; his efforts led to accusations of disloyalty and ultimately to his postwar assassination.
In Wagons-Lits Company carriage 2419D, the German plenipotentiary, Matthias Erzberger, a 43-year old rural schoolteacher turned politician, in deep mourning for a son who had recently died of influenza, sat down at a wide table facing the Allied Commander, Marshal Foch, Gen.
The principal victims were the Centre (Catholic) party parliamentarian Matthias Erzberger, who had signed the armistice agreement that signalled the country's catastrophic wartime defeat; Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, the prime minister responsible for replacing the monarchy with a republic; and, most spectacularly, Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, a Jew whose policy of fulfilling the oppressive terms of the Versailles Treaty earned him the hatred of nationalists and anti-Semites alike.