An important theme in Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is how humanity’s nature leads to history often repeating itself. This theme is best summed up in the OAV series’ opening statement “In every time, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same”.
This theme appears in the series in a variety of ways with many characters and their relationships paralleling historical figures and their relationships. Even some of the series’ locations are named after a historical place they are paralleled with. This article will examine ten times that Legend Of The Galactic Heroes was inspired by real-life events, peoples, and locations.
10 The Rise Of Rudolf von Goldenbaum And Rise of Hitler
The rise of Rudolf von Goldenbaum, the founder of the Galactic Empire, parallels the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The main parallel is that both men took power through democratic means. They both won an executive position thanks to their military service and promising to bring back a golden age.
Another parallel between Rudolf and Adolf was they first targeted the handicapped in their goal of ridding their nation of “undesirable”. One final parallel is that both men were obsessed with traditional Germanic culture.
9 Yang Wen-Li And Yi Sun-sin
The life and achievements of Yang Wen-li parallel the life and achievements of the Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin. One parallel is that both men started on an unassuming note, but they became great naval admirals that were never defeated in their lifetime. They even won a major victory against an overwhelming foe by engaging them on narrow terrain.
Another parallel between these men was that they were distrusted by their superiors who fear the potential of them trying to seize power from them. One final parallel is that both men lost their lives after being shot by a stray bullet after winning an important battle.
8 Reinhard von Logenngramm And Frederick The Great
While Reinhard von Logenngramm has parallels with many of history’s greatest conquerors and military leaders, his most obvious parallel is with Frederick the Great of Prussia. Both men were military geniuses that used their victories to build up support for their reformist agenda. They both also sought to established an “enlightened” monarchy by ridding their government of corruption and opening up positions to the common people.
Both men were also noted for their lack of interest in the opposite sex with Frederick marrying with no children and Reinhard only marrying to sire an heir for his new dynasty. This lack of interest led to both men being rumored to be gay by their political enemies.
7 Fezzan And Its Namesake
The Dominion of Fezzan directly parallels its namesake, a region of south-western Libya. This parallel comes from the fact that the Dominion’s role in Imperial-Alliance affairs directly parallels its namesake’s role in the affairs of the Roman Empire and the Carthaginian Empire. Both Fezzans served as a neutral party that traded with two warring nations while allowing merchants from both nations secretly to trade with one another.
The Dominion of Fezzan also shared the fate of its namesake in that it was eventually absorbed by the winner of the conflict that it served as a neutral party. They both even became client states of the empire that conquered them.
6 Emperor Erwin Josef II And Emperor Puyi
Erwin Josef II, last emperor of the Goldenbaum Dynasty, is heavily influenced by the last emperor of the Qing dynasty of China. Both Erwin and Puyi became emperor as a child due to their father’s sudden death. They also became embroiled in a struggle within their empire over who should be their regent. They both were even forced to abdicate their throne by a reformist minded military leader.
Erwin and Puyi even shared a similar fate of being used as a pawn by a foreign political power in subverting their homeland. In Erwin’s case, it was being used by the Domain of Fezzan to undermine Reinhard’s status as emperor. In Puyi’s case, it was being used as a puppet emperor by the Japanese to add legitimacy to their puppet nation of Manchukuo.
5 The Galactic Empire’s Politics And That Of Late Imperial China
While the Galactic Empie is very much influenced by the styles of the German Empire of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its politics are very similar to Late Imperial China. This can be seen in the previously discussed political in-fighting for the position of regent. It also can be seen by how both the Galactic Empire and Imperial China have a strongly developed and complex bureaucracy.
A neat parallel between the two empires in their politics can be seen by both empires having the position of Prime Minister vacant. This vacancy was even a result in both cases of an emperor rising from that position, who banned another person from taking the position to prevent others from following their lead.
4 Yang’s Allies And The Imperial Chinese Historical Narratives
The Galactic Empire is not the only faction in Legend Of The Galactic Heroes to have parallels with Imperial China. The Free Planet Alliance also some parallels with Imperial China. This is most apparent in that Yang and his allies are presented as a group of idealistic and uncorrupted individuals working for a corrupt government.
This idea of idealistic and uncorrupted individuals in a corrupt and declining nation can also be seen in Imperial Chinese histories. Imperial Chinese histories that dealt with the collapse of a previous dynasty would often focus on groups of idealistic politicians who were working for the corrupt former dynasty.
3 Paul von Oberstein As An Alternative Take On Maximillian Robespierre
Legend Of The Galactic Heroes tends to be more in the history always repeats itself camp in its historical parallels. However, the parallel between Paul von Oberstein and Maximillian Robespierre is more rhymes than being a complete repetition. Both men also tended to work more behind the scenes as the head of the nation’s security. Both men also ruthlessly tried to ensure that their governments fitted with their ideals.
There was one crucial difference between Oberstein and Robespierre. That difference being that Oberstein had little personal ambition and had no interest in becoming a head of state. Oberstein’s already existing parallels with Robespierre, however, lead to trouble as several Imperial leaders suspected him of seeking to rule the Empire from the shadows.
2 Reinhard’s Relationship With Siegefried Kircheis Parallels Alexander The Great and Hephaestion
As mentioned earlier, Reinhard has parallels with multiple historic figures. One specific parallel that Reinhard has with Alexander the Great is that his relationship with Siegfried Kircheis parallels Alexander’s relationship with Hephaestion. On one level Siegfried is Reinhard’s close friend who serves as his second-in-command and died tragically serving their liege, like Hephaestion.
On another level, Siegfried is similar to Hepaestion in that many see more into their relationship than just being a longtime close friend. Some people have interpreted both relationships as being more romantic than it was presented to contemporaries.
1 The Lippstadt League And The Satcho Alliance
The Lippstadt League shared many similarities with the Satcho Alliance from Japanese history. The main parallel is that both groups were formed by members of the nobility and military wanting to restore power to their emperor, but had to plunge the country into civil war to do so. There is, however, one crucial difference between the Lippstadt League and the Satcho Alliance.
That crucial difference is that the two groups had opposite motives for their actions. The Lippstadt League want to restore power to the Imperial throne to stop reforms, while the Satcho alliance want to give power to the Emperor to enable reforms. They also had different fates with the Satcho Alliance succeeding in their goals while the Lippstadt League failed to complete theirs.
A theme in Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is how humanity's nature leads to history often repeating itself, and real history is a common parallel…