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The German Negotiators at Versailles (1919)

The version of the peace treaty presented by the victorious powers on May 7, 1919, at Versailles was universally rejected throughout Germany. But Matthias Erzberger (1875-1921) of the Center Party strongly advocated signing it, so as to avoid the risk of an invasion by Allied forces. (Regarded as a German "traitor," Erzberger would later be assassinated by nationalist extremists.) A large majority in the National Assembly eventually voted to accept the treaty. On June 28, 1919, the German coalition government, composed of the Center and the Social Democratic Parties, signed the Versailles Treaty.

The photograph shows the German negotiators at Versailles before the resignation of German Foreign Minister Brockdorff-Rantzau (from left to right): Robert Leinert (1873-1940), Carl Melchior (1871-1933), Johannes Giesberts (1865-1938), Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau (1869-1928), Otto Landsberg (1892-1933), and Walther Schücking (1875-1935).

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The German Negotiators at Versailles (1919)

© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz