von Braunschweig Otto
The Klopstock Incident
In 796 UC, Otto von Braunschweig held a birthday party for his wife, Elizabeth von Goldenbaum. Elizabeth's father, Kaiser Friedrich IV, was expected to attend the party. The disgraced Imperial Marquis Klopstock presented Duke Braunschweig with a magnificent portrait of Rudolf von Goldenbaum, and in return Duke Braunschweig allowed Klopstock to attend the party, ostensibly so that the Marquis could entreat Kaiser Friedrich IV to allow his grandchildren back into the Imperial Court. Presumably, Duke Braunschweig would gain the obligation of the marquis for any future favours.
Thirty years prior, Klopstock had supported Clementz von Goldenbaum as Kaiser, rather than Friedrich IV. In retaliation, Marquis Klopstock and his entire family were banished from the Imperial Court. It was not the kaiser who banished Klopstock, but the kaiser's retainers who used the kaiser's name to banish Klopstock. As one of Friedrich IV's chief supporters and as his son-in-law, Duke Braunschweig was the single most powerful and influential noble in the Empire, rivaled only by Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim. The Marquis gained entry to the party by begging Duke Braunschweig to help him convince the Kaiser to allow his grandchildren to return to the Imperial Court. Otto von Braunschweig agreed.
The night of the party, Marquis Klopstock prepared an explosive device disguised as a cane, and timed it to explode at 7:00 pm, shortly after Kaiser Friedrich IV's expected arrival. When Klopstock left the estate, Siegfried Kircheis (who had not been allowed inside due to his rank) noticed that he had left the cane inside. En route to the party, Friedrich IV developed a stomachache and decided not to attend the party.
Suspicious of the missing cane, Kircheis attempted to enter the estate but was not initially allowed inside. Duke Braunschweig's aide, Commodore Ansbach, offered to summon Reinhard von Lohengramm to the door, but the cane exploded before he could do so. Fortunately, moments before the explosion, the cane had been removed from the main ballroom, preventing the deaths of Reinhard, Magdalena von Westfalen, Baron Flegel and Duke Braunschweig.
Marquis Klopstock learnt of his failure to kill either Duke Braunschweig or Friedrich IV and set his home on fire, killing himself. The Imperial security forces there to arrest Klopstock, led by Captain Anton Fellner, refused to douse the flames because there was a statue of Rudolf von Goldenbaum in front of the gate and to break through would be to disrespect the first Kaiser.
The Imperial Civil War
The Lippstadt League conspired against the Imperial Government, planning to launch a pre-emptive assault on the Imperial Capital to arrest both Duke Klaus von Lichtenlade and Reinhard von Lohengramm. Information of the planned coup leaked to Lohengramm's admiralty, however, and he moved immediately to arrest the conspirators for treason. Immediately prior to this, Duke Braunschweig rejected a suggestion by Anton Fellner to assassinate Lohengramm and to capture his sister, Annerose von Grünewald, instead preferring to face Lohengramm in open conflict. Duke Braunschweig's insistence on overcoming Lohengramm in direct battle was based on the motive of establishing a political advantage in the expected following struggle with Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim for control of the throne. The Lippstadt League's plans were cut short and the Imperial Civil War began when Lohengramm pre-emptively moved to arrest the members of the Lippstadt League.
Of the total 3760 High Nobles that joined the Lippstadt League, 625 were arrested, but the ringleaders of the conspiracy, Marquis Littenheim and Duke Braunschweig, managed to escape Odin. Together, they fled to Geiersburg Fortress and marshalled their forces, determined to settle things with Lohengramm on the field of battle.
Duke Braunschweig had initially planned to station forces at 9 bases between Odin and Geiersburg Fortress, thinking the Lohengramm forces would exhaust themselves assaulting each base in series and stretch their supply lines. High Admiral Willibald Joachim von Merkatz, the military commander of the Lippstadt forces, opposed this dispersion of forces arguing the bases could be isolated and cut off. He instead proposed that the Lippstadt forces wholly retreat to Geiersburg to consolidate power in an impenetrable fortress. Admiral Staden tried to one-up Merkatz with adding an additional plan of sending a sortie against Odin to capture and then "protect" the infant Kaiser. However when chosen to implement this plan, Staden was defeated. Staden retreated to Rentenberg Fortress where Ovlesser commanded a force of Imperial armoured infantry. The Lippstadt fleet was defeated outside the fortress, but was pursued so closely upon their retreat that fortress guns could not fire for fear of hitting friendly ships. Despite some initial setbacks at the hands of Ovlesser, the fortress eventually fell to Reinhard's forces and Ovlesser was captured. He was released to return to Geiersburg Fortress, but as he was the sole prisoner released, Duke Braunschweig suspected (falsely) that Ovlesser was a traitor and had him killed, sowing the seeds of internal suspicion and doubt within the rest of the Lippstadt League.
The Lippstadt League's sole military success came during the brief period Merkatz was allowed free rein to fight as he chose, resulting in Merkatz forcing Admiral Oskar von Reuenthal into withdrawing from the Schann-tau system. However Merkatz's authority was undermined by the division of Lippstadt forces without his notification. Braunschweig had allowed Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim to take a third of the Lippstadt forces ostensibly to regain control over rebellious frontier fiefs. The political rivalry between Braunschweig and Littenheim was longstanding and the ulterior motive of this was to get Littenheim away from Geiersberg Fortress. Littenheim would ultimately be defeated and Geiersburg Fortress itself would come under siege by Lohengramm forces. The final straw for Merkatz was when Braunschweig declined to punish insubordinate nobles that had sortied from the fortress without permission. Despite his loss of control as the Lippstadt military commander, Merkatz still rescued Braunschweig when the duke personally led an ill-advised offensive against the besieging Lohengramm forces that resulted in the Lippstadt League losing yet more of its ships.
The Westerland Massacre was a critical turning point in the Imperial Civil War. The planet Westerland was part of the territory held by Duke Braunschweig. In the aftermath of military setbacks, the Lippstadt League began heavier resource extraction from the territories under its control in order to prepare for an anticipated siege of their main base, Geiersburg Fortress. On Westerland, this resulted in the commoners rising up in revolt and Duke Braunschweig's nephew was killed in the ensuing struggle.
Enraged by the death of his relative at the hands of commoners, Duke Braunschweig decided to make an example of the entire planet by launching nuclear missiles at it. The use of nuclear weapons on inhabited worlds had been a taboo since the Thirteen Day War. He overruled his aide, Commodore Ansbach, who had advocated a more selective policy of punishing only the ringleaders of the rebellion.
When Duke Braunschweig launched a final desperate attack against the besieging Lohengramm forces, Merkatz participated despite knowing the attack was a poor tactical decision. The Lippstadt forces were dramatically weakened from poor morale and numerous desertions in the aftermath of the Westerland Massacre. When the Lohengramm forces counterattacked, a swift collapse of the Lippstadt forces ensued and Geiersburg Fortress fell due to internal insurrection. Cut off from returning to the fortress by Lohengramm forces, Merkatz initially planned to commit suicide as he would not serve under Marquis Lohengramm, having previously sworn loyalty to the Goldenbaum Dynasty. Merkatz was persuaded by his subordinate, Bernhard von Schneider, to seek refuge with Yang Wenli in the Free Planets Alliance instead.
Duke Braunschweig epitomised the final decadence and incompetence of the nobility of the Galactic Empire, under the rule of the Goldenbaum dynasty. Having inherited vast wealth and territory from birth, he took for granted his power and station. He valued bloodline and pedigree and scorned those of lower birth than him. He was biased towards the nobility, even when they had transgressed military law. Arrogant, he refused to listen to advisors and insisted on meddling in military affairs despite his own lack of ability. He viewed the people under his rule as his own personal property, to be treated and if need be killed in any fashion he wanted, and took the loyalty of his retainers for granted.
His actions in causing the Westerland Massacre forever lost the high nobles and the Goldenbaum dynasty any support they might have had from the rest of the population.
It was a suppressed fact that Elizabeth von Braunschweig, and Sabine von Littenheim, had inherited a genetic disease via their mothers, who were sisters. Under the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act, this would have made Sabine and Elizabeth ineligible for the throne, and would have disgraced both Duke Braunschweig and Marquis Littenheim.
Voice actor: Osamu Kobayashi