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The Lippstadt League (Japanese: リップシュタット連盟) was a coalition of aristocratic families, led by Duke Otho von Braunschweig, who revolted against the Galactic Empire in the Imperial Civil War. They claimed legitimacy in the name of protecting the Goldenbaum Dynasty against usurpers. Their main headquarters was Geiersberg Fortress, the single strongest fortress left in the Empire after the loss of Iserlohn Fortress to the Free Planets Alliance. A total of 3,760 nobles joined, and the total number of armed men was 25.6 million. Its total fleet strength numbered approximately 150,000 ships. (LOGH: 'The Lippstadt Conspiracy', 'Courage and Loyalty')
When Kaiser Friedrich IV died suddenly of a heart attack in 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE), he left no male heirs. Three of his grandchildren emerged as potential successors to the throne: Elisabeth von Braunschweig, daughter of Duke Braunschweig, Sabine von Littenheim, daughter of Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim, and Erwin Josef, son of the late Crown Prince Ludwig. Erwin Josef was crowned Kaiser Erwin Josef II after Marquis Reinhard von Lohengramm supported him alongside Duke Klaus von Lichtenlade. (LOGH: 'New Trends')
The seeds of the Lippstadt League were sown when Duke Braunschweig and Marquis Littenheim made common cause against Marquis Lohengramm and Duke Lichtenlade. The Lippstadt League was formally created at a gathering of nobles in the Lippstadt Forest within Duke Braunschweig's estates. Duke Braunschweig was the leader of the Lippstadt League with Marquis Littenheim as the second-in-command. They justified their action as saving the young Kaiser and the Goldenbaum Dynasty from the actions of corrupt ministers, though their ulterior motive was to either control or depose the Kaiser.
Most of the higher nobility sided with the Lippstadt League, either through pressure from family ties, feudal obligations, or simple inertia and desire to maintain the old status quo. One notable exception was the Mariendorf family which sided with Reinhard.
The Lippstadt League had vast wealth, private military forces, and had supporters drawn from the regular Imperial armed forces. Despite being numerically superior to Reinhard's forces, the Lippstadt forces were generally poorly trained, with incompetent high ranking officers, as its officer corps was biased towards members of the nobility.
The Lippstadt League had internal tensions even at its formation. Though ostensibly they had put aside their feud, Duke Braunschweig and Marquis Littenheim still despised each other. Duke Braunschweig's insistence on overcoming Reinhard von Lohengramm in direct battle was based on the motive of establishing a political advantage in the expected following struggle with Marquis Littenheim for control of the throne. Furthermore, the military leader of the Lippstadt League, High Admiral Willibald Joachim von Merkatz, had participated only reluctantly, after coercion from Duke Braunschweig.
The Imperial Civil War was finally precipitated by Anton Fellner, a staff officer of Duke Braunschweig. After Duke Braunschweig rejected Fellner's proposal to assassinate Reinhard von Lohengramm, Fellner attempted to do so on his own initiative but failed. Reinhard's counterattack detained 625 of the 3,760 participating nobles of the Lippstadt League, and triggered the flight of the rest from Odin to Geiersberg Fortress, where they gathered their military forces, numbering 150,000 ships. (LOGH: 'The Lippstadt Conspiracy')
Imperial Civil War
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. Merkatz 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 at the Battle of Altena. 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. (LOGH: 'Bloodshed in Space')
The Lippstadt League's sole military success, the Battle of Schann-tau, 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. (LOGH: 'Courage and Loyalty')
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. (LOGH: 'The Fall of Goldenbaum')
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. (LOGH: 'The Fall of Goldenbaum')
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 Wen-li in the Free Planets Alliance instead. (LOGH: 'The Fall of Goldenbaum')
The Lippstadt League was the last direct opposition to Reinhard von Lohengramm's ascent to power. The actions of the Lippstadt League in causing the Westerland Massacre destroyed any support for the nobles and the old Goldenbaum dynasty among the general populace. The arrogance and cruelty of the Lippstadt League nobles towards their subordinates and subjects caused the defection of many of their forces, making the civil war shorter and less costly to the Galactic Empire. The defeat of the Lippstadt League broke the back of the old noble families and their vast wealth was confiscated to replenish the national treasury, while the remains of their military forces were presumably integrated within the regular Imperial armed forces.
It was a suppressed fact that Sabine von Littenheim, and Elisabeth von Braunschweig, had inherited a genetic disease via their mothers, who were sisters. Under the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act, this would have made Sabine and Elisabeth ineligible for the throne, and would have disgraced both Duke Braunschweig and Marquis Littenheim. Thus strictly speaking Lippstadt League lacked any claim to the throne, though it is likely the vast majority of the nobles were unaware of this. (RET: 'Chapter IV')
- The picture of the founding ceremony of the Lippstadt League parallels the 1789 Tennis Court Oath sketch by Jacques-Louis David, except the latter takes place indoors while the former is outdoors. Also reversed is the ideology, with the latter done in opposition to absolute monarchy, while the former was done to support an absolute monarchy.
- The Lippstadt League may be based on the Satchō Alliance, a pact of two Japanese feudal domains made in 1866 for the purpose of overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate and restoring imperial rule to Japan.
- Lippstadt is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.