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Reuenthal and his officers
|November to 16 December 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE)
The Reuenthal Rebellion, also known as the Reuenthal Revolt, Second Imperial Civil War, or New Imperial Civil War, was a brief conflict between the Imperial Armed Forces and the forces under the command of the Governor-General of Neue Land, Oskar von Reuenthal, that occurred in late 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE).
It could be argued that the first time Reuenthal considered rebelling against Reinhard von Lohengramm was immediately following the seizure of Odin in 796 UC (487 IC / 3596 CE) when, in a private communication between Reinhard and Reuenthal, Reinhard said he did not mind if his subordinates attempted to usurp him. While this may have been the first time he thought of the matter, it was not considered a serious concern until a public schism that pitted Fleet Admiral Reuenthal and the Admiralty against Fleet Admiral Paul von Oberstein and Heydrich Lang. This occurred when growing resentment between the two parties led to Lang, the Chief of the Internal Security Department, to bring to light the secret relationship between Reuenthal and Elfriede von Kohlrausch who was a niece of the former Imperial Prime Minister, Klaus von Lichtenlade, in February 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE). However, Lang was secretly under the influence of Fezzan's former Landsherr, the deposed Adrian Rubinsky, who was attempting to force a rift of distrust between Kaiser Reinhard and his admirals. Even though Lang accused Reuenthal of harbouring a fugitive and having a child with her, something Reuenthal was himself unaware of, Reinhard found him innocent of any treasonous intentions. Instead of reprimanding Reuenthal, he promoted him as Governor-General of Neue Land. (LOGH: 'Farewell, Distant Memories', 'Holiday's End', 'Rolling Thunder', 'Eve of the Festival')
After the first inquiry resulted in Reuenthal's promotion, Rubinsky and the Terraists doubled their efforts. This time they produced an endless wave of rumours regarding Reuenthal's intentions to rebel. While neither Kaiser Reinhard nor Governor-General Reuenthal believed in the rumours, they were persistent enough to have the latter request the former's presence for an official visit to quell any notions of hostility between the two. Reinhard agreed to the proposal, and with a very small personal fleet left for Heinessen in October 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE). While en route, Reinhard stopped at the planet Uruvasi which had become a major supply point for Imperial forces in Neue Land and visited a memorial to all Imperial Service Members that were killed in the invasion of the Alliance. While on the planet Reinhard's personal security detail, including High Admirals Lutz and Müller, began having suspicions due to the strange behaviour of the forces stationed on the planet. When it was discovered that communication lines had been cut to the residence where the Kaiser was staying, they decided it was time to withdraw to the Kaiser's flagship, the Brünhild. While attempting to flee the Kaiser's detail came under fire from rebellious Imperial soldiers and the spaceport that the Brünhild was moored in was seized by rebel soldiers. Under the coordination of Lutz and Commodore Seidlitz, the captain of the Brünhild, the Kaiser and his company would make their way through a heavily wooded area to a reservoir which the Brünhild would land in. During their flight through the woods the Brünhild was forced to make the water landing under fire and Lutz, knowingly sacrificing himself, stayed behind to keep pursuing rebel soldiers at bay long enough for the Brünhild to retrieve the Kaiser's party. Kaiser Reinhard successfully escaped Uruvasi along with his personal detail, with the notable exception of Lutz, whose death would would be a deciding factor for Reuenthal when he eventually revolted. (LOGH: 'Rumbling', 'Burgeoning', 'The Urvashi Incident')
After the incident became known throughout the New Galactic Empire, both the admirals on Fezzan and those under Reuenthal on Heinessen began a rapid search for the Kaiser. For the admirals under Reinhard, which in his absence were under the command of Reuenthal's best and only true friend, Fleet Admiral Wolfgang Mittermeyer, the reason to find the Kaiser quickly was clear having just witnessed a regicide attempt in the wake of rumours about Reuenthal's true ambitions. For Reuenthal it was equally, if not more so, imperative to find the Kaiser first so that he could be in a position to control the situation, either by direct discussion with the Kaiser or by forcefully "protecting" him. He also sends one of his admirals, Alfred Grillparzer, to Uruvasi to uncover the truth behind the regicide attempt. Kaiser Reinhard and his party were eventually found by ships under the command High Admiral August Samuel Wahlen, who was loyal to Reinhard, and the Brünhild returned to Fezzan under heavy escort. (LOGH: 'In the Name of Pride', 'Rebellion Is a Hero's Privilege')
Around this time, Admiral Grillparzer, whom Reuenthal had sent to investigate Uruvasi, became aware of the high probability of Terraism being behind the regicide attempt, but seeing an opportunity for personal gain, he decided against informing Reuenthal of this. For his part, Reuenthal, after much deliberation, decided against approaching Reinhard directly once learning of Lutz's death. Deciding that his pride would not let him do anything other than rebel, he began to devote himself completely to overthrowing Reinhard. Due to Reinhard's immense popularity, Reuenthal claimed it to be a campaign to remove the influence of Oberstein and Lang, and as such he was able to gain the majority of his admirals and soldiers' allegiances including Grillparzer. Sending a letter addressed to the "Imperial Government" and not Kaiser Reinhard directly, he declared these intentions.
"Taking advantage from the Kaiser's unfortunate illness the chef manager of military Affairs, Fleet Admiral Oberstein and the Vice-Minister of Internal Affairs, Lang, are monopolizing the government; They ignore Kaiser and are purging people as they like. I, Oskar von Reuenthal, cannot overlook it and if necessary, I will utilize my forces to remove their tyranny."
Once back with his loyal admirals, Fleet Admiral Mittermeyer approached Reinhard asking restraint for his dear friend Reuenthal. Reinhard angrily denied his request instead ordering him to spearhead the fleet that would subjugate the rebelling Governor-General, but still gave him the opportunity to refuse his orders that one time alone. Knowing that to not do so would result in Kaiser Reinhard leading the expedition personally, as the two of them were the only ones capable of defeating Reuenthal, Mittermeyer reluctantly accepted the command.(LOGH: 'In the Name of Pride', 'Rebellion Is a Hero's Privilege')
Beginning of hostilities
Reuenthal, in order to gain the support of his subordinates, declared that his intentions were to remove the Kaiser from the influence of Oberstein and Lang, who from his perspective, were taking advantage of the Kaiser's weakened state during his random bouts of illness in order to institute their own ideologies on the Imperial Government. This message had two major effects. First, it infuriated Reinhard for implying that he was not mentally capable of maintaining state affairs and that he was being manipulated by his subjects. Second, it served to give "just cause" to the Reuenthal Fleet, and was a powerful message throughout Reinhard's forces as well since most within the military disliked Oberstein for his cold logic and Lang for heading a hated organization. This was especially true in the case of Mittermeyer, who attempted to murder Lang before being stopped by the Chief of the Military Police, Ulrich Kessler. The reason he was stopped, apart from allowing the blatant murder of an Imperial official, was that one of the last acts Lutz had done was to begin an investigation into Lang's dealings which had led to Kessler looking into the matter further. While Kessler would find evidence implicating Lang in a plot headed by Rubinsky and subsequently try and execute him, the damage was done and the forces under Reuenthal prepared to confront the Kaiser's forces. (LOGH: 'Rebellion Is a Hero's Privilege', 'The Two Great Ones Strike at Each Other!')
Wolfgang Mittermeyer was a commander that was renown for his organized yet swift movements and was considered to be a leading tactician. With High Admirals Wahlen and Bittenfeld under his command, they lead a fleet of over 40,000 ships to act as a vanguard for Reinhard and the rest of the Imperial Fleet. To counter the threat Reuenthal intended to deploy his fleets in defensive barriers which would be broken through one by one by Mittermeyer's forces. The hope was that Mittermeyer's fleets would sustain heavy damage and be trapped in the Ba'alat Starzone between Reuenthal's fleet and the reorganized fleets that Mittermeyer had already broken through. To secure his flank, Reuenthal sent former Alliance Vice Admiral Murai to Iserlohn Fortress to offer them former Alliance territory in return for blocking Imperial fleets from advancing into Neue Land. However, Julian Mintz, the military commander of the Iserlohn Republic, declined Reuenthal's offer as he considered it as unwise in the long run. Before the opposing fleets met, they entered into communication range with one another and Reuenthal and Mittermeyer spoke for the last time. Both attempted to get the other to abandon their cause and, upon seeing that neither could be swayed, both resigned themselves to meeting on the field as enemies. (LOGH: 'The Two Great Ones Strike at Each Other!')
Even though he was well aware of Mittermeyer's capabilities, Reuenthal still underestimated the speed with which Mittermeyer could deploy and advance, forcing him to give up on his plan of defensive lines and focus all forces to confront him head on. The fleets that were dispatched were called back and rallied in a masterful stroke that only Reuenthal could have achieved, and they consolidated their position in the Rantemario Starzone leading to the Second Battle of Rantemario in November 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE).
Although initially outnumbering Mittermeyer's forces nearly two to one, Reuenthal is unable to take advantage of the situation. As Mittermeyer's other fleets arrived the numbers became more closely matched turning the battle into one of attrition, the exact circumstance that both Mittermeyer and Reuenthal wanted to avoid, albeit for different reasons. For Mittermeyer, all combatants were Reinhard's loyal subjects, and were all, in there own way, fighting to protect the Kaiser. Because of this, Mittermeyer wanted to spare as many soldiers as possible. For Reuenthal the reason was more calculating as he simply could not afford to lose too much of his fleet as it would be impossible for him to replace. After learning that the Mecklinger Fleet had been granted permission to use the Iserlohn Corridor, Reuenthal's situation became more precarious. In order to avoid losing his combat potential, Reuenthal organized a well coordinated withdraw preventing Mittermeyer from taking any advantage. (LOGH: 'Live by the Sword...')
After disengaging from Mittermeyer, Reuenthal began reorganizing his formations. It was at that moment that Admiral Grillparzer ordered his fleet to begin attacking the rest of the fleets loyal to Reuenthal. Grillparzer had, from the moment he learned the truth of Terraism's involvement in the regicide attempt on Reinhard, been attempting to maximize the situation in order to gain accolades for himself. He had purposefully withheld the information from Reuenthal in order to have him stage a rebellion. His friend, Admiral Bruno von Knappstein, had refused to take part in Reuenthal's insurrection against Reinhard due to his loyalty to the latter. Upon meeting with Grillparzer, who said he planned a timely betrayal of Reuenthal when engaged with the Kaiser's forces, Knappstein reluctantly agreed to go along with his plan. However, in the initial engagement with Mittermeyer's fleets, they found themselves unable to enact their plan due to the overwhelming ferocity of Mittermeyer's, Wahlen's, and Bittenfeld's fleets attacks and were forced to fight with Reuenthal to prevent their fleets' annihilation. Ultimately, Knappstein was killed in the battle, leaving Grillparzer unsure of his next move. When Reuenthal withdrew, Grillparzer felt as though he had run out of time and ordered his fleet to attack those loyal to Reuenthal. In the initial bout of confused firing, many ships refused to fire while many others fired on friendly targets. Even Reuenthal's flagship, the Tristan was damaged, severely wounding the Fleet Admiral but, refusing treatment so that he could remain in command, Reuenthal quickly contained Grillparzer's fleet and limited the damage. In one of the great ironies of the conflict, the fleet that had the largest part in preventing the Grillparzer Fleet from causing more damage was the remains of the Knappstein Fleet which was fighting particularly fierce because it was fuelled by the anger of losing their commander. (LOGH: 'Live by the Sword...', 'Die by the Sword')
Now seeing his position as a hopeless one, Reuenthal began his retreat back to Heinessen, leaving loyal commanders behind to delay the encroaching fleets under Mittermeyer. Continuously refusing medical treatment for his wound, Reuenthal maintained perfect order throughout his fleet until they reached their destination. Upon returning to the Governor-General's office, he set about putting his affairs in order. (LOGH: 'Endless Requiem')
The fleets Reuenthal left behind all surrendered quickly to Mittermeyer's forces. Upon conducting interviews with the captured Reuenthal soldiers, they discovered that it was true that the soldiers under Reuenthal all had remained loyal to Reinhard, and were rebelling to protect him from Oberstein and Lang. Due to this, Mittermeyer's treated the captured soldiers well. This also smoothed over the surrendering process and helped to speed Mittermeyer on his way to Heinessen.
Staying behind on Uravasi, Mecklinger, who had arrived with his fleet via the Iserlohn Corridor, reopened the investigation into the assassination attempt on Kaiser Reinhard. Mecklinger came to many of the same conclusions that Grillparzer had before him, but also uncovered the reasons for Grillparzer's withholding of information and accused him of being a major cause of the rebellion along with withholding evidence, mutiny, and murder which immediately stripped him of rank. He was presumably executed for these crimes.
On Heinessen, Reuenthal gave all responsibilities entrusted to him and his forces to officers and civilians that had refused to take part in the rebellion and calls in the former Supreme Chairman of the Alliance, Job Trunicht, before murdering him. Still refusing medical treatment, he was visited by Elfriede von Kohlrausch who brought with her their child, a baby boy resembling Reuenthal. After they exchanged some hateful remarks, Reuenthal offered her the chance to take his life but she refused and Reuenthal lost consciousness. Seeing this she departed, leaving the baby with Reuenthal's aide. When Reuenthal regained consciousness, he instructed his aide to deliver the boy to Mittermeyer, who he knew had been unable to have a child of his own with his wife Evangelin Mittermeyer. Thinking his death to be imminent, he requested two glasses of whiskey be filled and left on his desk as he began to dictate a final letter. Commenting that his friend Mittermeyer was late, something that was unlike him, Reuenthal died from his injuries soon after.
Mittermeyer landed on Heinessen hours after Reuenthal's death, and upon entering the Governor-General's office was confronted with the lifeless body of his friend sitting at the desk with two full glasses in front of him. The child was then brought in and Mittermeyer was told of Reuenthal's final moments and his request that Mittermeyer raise his child.
Most of the soldiers that had revolted under Reuenthal were eager to accept amnesty and rejoin the ranks under Reinhard, but some others chose to flee or to commit suicide. Reinhard, upon hearing of the rebellion's end, returned to Fezzan. Mittermeyer left Wahlen in command on Heinessen and then also departed for Fezzan. A saddened but loyal Mittermeyer was greeted by Kaiser Reinhard who was also visibly shaken by the event. (LOGH: 'Die by the Sword', 'Endless Requiem')
Fleet Admiral Oberstein was assigned to take Reuenthal's place on Heinessen. Oberstein's appointment would result in him using tactics that his fellow Imperials were disgusted by. This would eventually cause the Rugpool Prison Riot with the interference of Terraism, and would hamper future negotiations with the Iserlohn Republic. Despite the successful triggering of a large scale rebellion within the Empire, the Terraists failed to drive a rift between Reinhard and his Admiralty. Ultimately, all of the admirals remained loyal to the Kaiser and would continue to be so until his death. To the Imperials, it was a dark stain on their history as many fought against their friends and brothers and lost them in the end. Even though it was a victory for the Imperial Armed Forces, morale was very low.
The rationale given for the rebellion, to remove corrupt ministers misleading or controlling the ruler, was the same justification given by the Lippstadt League in the Imperial Civil War. This was also historically a common rationale given in Imperial China and Japan to justify armed rebellions. The emperor was ideologically inviolate and always presumed to be well meaning but misled (unless clearly so corrupt as to justify open rebellion against him, which happened only at the end of dynasties in China and never in Japan) so rebellion could only be justified as an anti-corruption movement and attack on corrupt ministers.