Why Did Matthias Erzberger Propose A Peace Treaty Between Germany & France In ‘All Quiet On The Western Front?’

“All Quiet On The Western Front” on Netflix is a 2022 war drama film that depicts the merciless deaths of young people in the year 1918. Viewers will experience the whole movie through the eyes of a young army member, Paul Baumer, who is the main protagonist of this story. Moreover, this film is based on the popular novel by Erich Maria Remarque. Written from the point of view of Germany, this movie covers all the catastrophic changes that mankind has to face. Every year, several young recruits lose their lives while fighting and representing their fatherland. But, none of these soldiers are given proper training or food to hold on with the pressures of war. These soldiers cannot differentiate a life outside war since all the bloodshed has affected their ability to live a normal life. All of them lacked security since the German government couldn’t provide them with a proper place to live in as well. The leader of the German delegation, Matthias Erzberger, wanted to propose a peace treaty between the German and French forces to avoid the deaths of more soldiers. Many young men were on the verge of dying, and death was a part of their lives now. But some of the powerful authorities were completely against the armistice since they couldn’t accept defeat. Meanwhile, the General was ready to lose his men instead of signing a peace treaty.


Matthias Erzberger lost his son in the war, and since then, he has wanted to save the lives of all the other young recruits. More than 40,000 people were killed within two weeks, and there has been no stopping since. At first, all these men dreamt of protecting and representing their homeland. But the harsh realities of war came into existence when these men began to fight on the battlefield. Lack of training became a huge problem for them since none of them could figure out the right ways to fight. The German General was adamant about his decision; even though he permitted Matthias to sign the armistice, his intentions were completely against the treaty. He wanted to fight till the very end, and for him, the lives of these young men never mattered. The General just wanted to feed his ego, and this took the lives of several people at once. 

The movie depicts the life of Paul, who decided to enlist himself in the military along with his three friends, Fraz, Albert, and Ludwig. They were deceived by the words of their Principal since he motivated them to represent their fatherland, but in reality, it was all a false perception. On the other hand, the death of 40,000 young recruits took the whole meeting by storm. As per Matthias, it was enough for the authorities to confirm that unreasonable deaths were depleting their population. These soldiers were looking forward to meeting their families, but there was no end to this war. The character of Matthias Erzberger is adapted from the real-life story of a writer and politician with the same name. The General gave his permission to resolve the issue, but a part of him still wanted his soldiers to fight for him; signing the armistice treaty was a loss to them. 


Even though the French forces caused massive destruction, the authorities were against the peace treaty. None of them wanted to resolve the war peacefully except Matthias. It was the third year of World War I, and Matthias finally managed to arrange a meeting with the French authorities. He peacefully shared his views with them, and finally, the Armistice of Compiegne was signed on November 11, 1918, and the treaty was all set to commence at 11 a.m. The General planned an abrupt meeting, and all the soldiers were expecting him to leave them. Instead, he had other plans; he commanded them to go against the treaty since there was still time for the treaty to commence. He falsely subjected his ideas to them and wanted them to fight as brothers, as for him, this armistice was perfidious. Now, they had to attack the French forces with utmost force and vehemence. 

Again, many lives were lost, but nothing mattered. All the authorities who wanted these soldiers to fight were enjoying their mansion peacefully. Even though the war was stopped through this treaty, the authorities couldn’t revoke the pain and anxiety that these soldiers suffered. Through this treaty, Germany accepted its defeat. In the final moments of this film, Paul loses his life while saving a young recruit who began his work just like Paul did. He collected the badges of all the soldiers that lost their lives, including Paul’s. Well, “All Quiet On The Western Front” depicts the atrocities of war and the effects it poses on the minds of all young individuals. They’re guaranteed peace and heroism, but in reality, these young men have to go through pain and suffering. None of them are treated well, and they have to serve for the protection of their fatherland while starving themselves to death.


See more: Did Paul Baumer Survive The War In The Netflix German Film ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’?

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Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya is a Mass Media graduate and she is currently working and living in Mumbai. From a very young age, Raschi was heavily interested in reading and writing. She prefers to write everything that her mind nurtures her to do as shaping up her imagination is her forte!

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