Rudolf von Goldenbaum
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Archival image of Kaiser Rudolf I (318 UC (9 IC / 3118 CE))
|Occupation:||Kaiser of the Galactic Empire|
|Status:||Deceased (natural causes)|
|Played by:||Ōtsuka Chikao (Deceased)|
Rudolf von Goldenbaum (Japanese: ルドルフ・フォン・ゴールデンバウム) was the first emperor of the Galactic Empire and founder of the Goldenbaum Dynasty. He was born in 268 UC (3068 CE) and died in 351 UC (42 IC / 3151 CE) at the age of 83.
After graduating at the top of his class from the Galactic Federation Armada Officer Academy, Rudolf von Goldenbaum served in the Galactic Federation Armada in the Frontier Worlds. At age 20, he served as a legal affairs officer attached to a guard unit patrolling the shipping lanes around Rigel, where he quickly made a name for himself prosecuting fellow soldiers (including superior officers) for what he deemed the "four vices": alcohol, gambling, drugs and homosexuality.
In 288 UC (3088 CE) Rudolf was promoted to lieutenant junior grade and placed in command of an Armada fleet in the Betelgeuse Starzone, where he fought against the Main Street Pirates to an overwhelming victory (Archival footage indicates that Rudolf may have used nuclear weapons to completely obliterate the pirates). (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
While praised by many among the Federation as a great hero, von Goldenbaum was also criticized for the brutal tactics he employed, which may have qualified as war crimes at the time, such as the destruction of enemy vessels after they'd already surrendered. Despite this criticism, however, von Goldenbaum became very popular as the "second coming of admiral Wood, another Federation war hero who made a name for himself battling pirates in the frontier starzones.
Rudolf would remain in the military service for another 8 years, at which time he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral at the age of 28. After the promotion, he retired from the armada in order to pursue a career in politics. (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey')
After his victory over the Main Street Pirates, Rudolf von Goldenbaum's celebrity had escalated dramatically. In 296 UC (3096 CE) he was voted into the Galactic Parliament in a landslide election. Rudolf quickly began building a power base, gathering various other young, idealistic and conservative-minded politicians around him, forming a new political party — the National Reform Alliance.
The National Reform Alliance was dedicated to restoring the Galactic Federation to its former glory, and ushering in a new 'Golden Age of Humanity'. With each election cycle, the NRA gained more and more seats in Parliament, until it was the dominant political party in the Federation. By popular vote, Rudolf von Goldenbaum was elected as President of the Federation; he was appointed as Prime Minister by the Parliament soon thereafter. (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey')
Holding the office of both Prime Minister and President, Rudolf was the most powerful man in the galaxy. Free Planets Alliance historian D. Sinclair said: "By unwritten law, it was prohibited to hold these two posts concurrently, but Rudolf took advantage of the fact that no constitutional article forbade it. And when these two posts, whose separate power were limited, were combined in one individual, no one alive could oppose Rudolf's political power."
President Rudolf's rule became increasingly authoritarian; his power increasingly unquestioned. He transformed the Federation into a dictatorship, declaring himself "president for life." (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey')
- "Here in my room, I can hear the crowds outside shouting, 'Hail Rudolf!' I wonder how many days they'll need to realize that they're cheering their own hangman."
- Hassan el-Sayyid
In 310 UC (1 IC / 3110 CE) Rudolf von Goldenbaum declared the re-organisation of the Galactic Federation into the Galactic Empire, with himself as its new emperor. A new calendar, the Imperial Calendar, was initiated to mark the ascension of Rudolf to the new imperial throne.
Rudolf's government was extremely brutal and efficient in its exercise of power and violence. Rudolf applied his rigid conservative values to Imperial law, deeming certain lifestyles and recreations "unhealthy"--which were then prohibited, and offenders vigorously prosecuted. The Imperial government boasted that these new laws resulted in a dramatic decrease in crime and juvenile delinquency, but in actuality many of the criminals quietly "disappeared."
These policies came to a head in 318 UC (9 IC / 3118 CE), when Rudolf announced the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act. Designed to eliminate those Rudolf deemed undesirable--on the basis of race, cognitive and physical ability, health, gender and sexual orientation--as well as social security and welfare programs, the Exclusion Act resulted a genocide of unprecedented scope and scale that would take the human population centuries to recover from.
- The strong consume the weak! The fittest survive! Excellence is victorious while inferiority is defeated! This is the providence of the universe! Human society is no exception. When the number of aberrations exceeds a critical mass, society loses its vitality and declines into weakness. My ardent desire is for humanity's everlasting prosperity. Therefore, the elimination of those elements that would weaken humanity as a species is my holy obligation as ruler of humanity."
- - Rudolf von Goldenbaum announcing the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act.
When Rudolf dissolved the Imperial Parliament, the newly-established Department of Social Discipline, created under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Interior, was free to enforce the Exclusion Act unopposed. A secret police force, the Department of Social Discipline ostensibly prosecuted Rudolf's political enemies and any amongst the citizens who might be considered a dissident, but in practice was also used to target political and personal enemies of both Rudolf and the men running the department.
An estimated 3.9 billion people were killed by the IGEA, and countless more sterilized. At the time, this represented approximately 1.9% of the total human population of 300 billion. As a result of the mass-sterilization, the human population would shrink drastically over the next few generations. By 796 UC (487 IC / 3596 CE) the total human population would number only 38 billion--about 10% of what it had been 500 years prior. (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
In the following years, Rudolf would further consolidate his empire by forming a new aristocratic class to support it: the Nobility. This new nobility was filled only with white people of Germanic descent (or who could pass for it), reflecting Rudolf's own biases. Those who ranked among Rudolf's closest allies were further elevated to the status of High Nobles, and enjoyed even greater influence and power. When Rudolf died in 351 UC (42 IC / 3151 CE) at the age of 83, he left no heir, which led to a brief succession dispute, eventually ending when the son of Rudolf's eldest daughter became Kaiser Sigismund I, the second emperor of the Goldenbaum Dynasty. (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey')
- "Until Rudolf von Goldenbaum got his hands on power, even if he was rather self-righteous, perhaps he was no more than a reformer burning with ideals and conviction. That changed completely once he had authority. He travelled the road from simple self-affirmation to self-deification."
Centuries after his death, Rudolf would be remembered by people throughout the galaxy. In the Free Planets Alliance, he served as a symbol of utter tyranny and evil, a warning to all free democratic people of the dangers of autocracy. In the Empire, he was a hallowed figure. The holy founder of the greatest nation in human history, and a symbol of imperial power.
To Yang Wen-li, Rudolf was a constant reminder that political and military authority ought never be mixed. On the other hand, although Reinhard von Lohengramm disapproved of Rudolf himself, his methods served as an inspiration — his life's accomplishments teaching Reinhard that one man could change the galaxy; that if one does not like the world, one has the power to change it by one's own hand.
FPA historian D. Sinclair noted:
- "Von Goldenbaum's ascension was striking historical evidence that, fundamentally, people do not prefer independent thought and the accompanying responsibility, but rather orders, subordination, and the accompanying exemption from responsibility. In a popular democracy, the masses who elect unfit rulers are to blame for bad government, but that is not the case in a monarchy. Rather than reflecting upon their own mistakes, the people are free to enjoy speaking ill of leaders who are even more irresponsible than they."
- - D. Sinclair (LoGH Book 1: Dawn)
Rudolf's role in actively shaping galactic history according his desires also served to inspire Reinhard von Lohengramm's usurpation of the Galactic Empire and reformation into the New Galactic Empire, as his life, regardless of its moral or ethical dimensions, indicated that a single human being of sufficient will and ability could grasp the power to change the universe.
Rudolf had at least one wife, the Kaiserin Elizabeth, who gave birth to four daughters. Rudolf's eldest daughter, Katharina, married Joachim von Neue Stauffen and their son, Sigismund I, succeeded Rudolf to the throne after his death in 351 UC (42 IC / 3151 CE). (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey', Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
Rudolf is also known to have had at least one concubine, Magdalena, who gave birth to a son but it was rumoured he suffered from a congenital birth defect. Magdalena, her family, and all medical and nursing staff involved in the birth were quietly executed, suggesting the rumours were true. The son's fate is unknown, but it is reasonable to assume that he was either killed or hidden away where opponents could never use him. (LOGH: 'Julian's Journey, Mankind's Journey')
- In the novels, Magdalena's child is speculated to have been morn with cognitive impairment. (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
- Rudolf von Goldenbaum possessed an unusually large physique, with a height of 196cm and a weight of 99kg. (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
- Rudolf's exact cause of death is unknown, but apparently he was still physically healthy at the time of his death. (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 1: Dawn)
- Rudolf von Goldenbaum's rise to power in the Galactic Federation bears many similarities to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, as does his attitudes toward both the creation of a "master race", the annihilation of various 'inferior' people (the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act bears a great resemblance to the Action T4, a Nazi programme of killing the mentally and physically disabled under a racist ideology) and execution of homosexuals (in an irony of history, Kaiser Kaspar, Rudolf's descendant, was gay, and Freidrich IV physically weak).
- The fact that Rudolf had four daughters and a son with disabilities is similar to the case of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, who also had four daughters, while his son was born with hemophilia.
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