The Imperium of Leonism, called Leonistisches Imperium ("leonistic empire") in its official language, Deutsch (German), is a very large, advanced and powerful nation situated in the southern and central parts of the continent of Avalon. It is famous for having abolished the distinction between civilians and soldiers, with all adult citizens holding a rank that signifies their contribution to society at large. While an impressive 1% of the local population are active soldiers, the remaining adult population between ages 18 and 65 serve as reservists, with a mandatory recurrent military training of two weeks every year. This makes the nation's military the largest in Lazarus and one of the most powerful.
Furthermore, a breakthrough in fusion power research in 2014 makes Leonism one of the few nations in Lazarus to have developed fully-working nuclear fusion powerplants, which now make up a majority of the country's supply of electrical power (the rest comes from renewable energy). Fusion power is increasingly used for other civilian and military applications and is expected to proliferate heavily as the technology progresses further and reactors become smaller.
In antiquity, the area that is now the Imperium was settled by several dozen Germanic tribes, who regularly fought wars of domination against each other. While their culture was broadly similar, they spoke distinct dialects of Old German, an ancient precedessor of the Modern German language that is nowadays spoken in Leonism.
The tribes only united when faced with a common external enemy, an Empire of Latin-speaking peoples called Römer (Romans) in the language of Leonism. Despite their unity in the war against these invaders, the old tribes were defeated in the Battle of the Hasenberger Forest in the year 9 CE, resulting in their surrender to the Römer, who then ruled over Leonism for several hundred years.
The Römer retreated from Leonism in the 5th century CE, facing an internal collapse of their Empire due to decadence, religious strife and barbarian migrations. The old tribes of Leonism awoke from their slumber and once again began fighting for dominance. After over 100 years of constant tribal warfare, one tribe emerged dominant that had taken their inspiration from emulating the Römer as closely as possible. They called themselves Kinder der Römer (children of the Romans), which was later shortened to Kinderrömer and eventually often reduced to the abbreviation "KR", which also became their insignia. The Kinderrömer crowned an "Imperator" (Emperor) who ruled over approximately half of the modern territory of Leonism, the rest still under control from various smaller tribes and remnants of the now defunct Römer-Empire.
The "KR" lasted for 800 years, during which they slowly expanded via conquests and treaties to about 75% of the Imperium's modern area. Christianity became the dominant religion from the 10th century onwards. Cities began to boom in the 11th to 13th centuries, attracting ever greater populations and the majority of intellectual and economic resources in the country. In 1413 the "KR"-Emperor died without a heir, during a battle against a rebellious city, the city of Blaumeisehaven. This lead to a large scale uprising, called the Bauernkrieg (peasant's war) during which the poor rural population rose up in many provinces of the "KR", eventually ending KR control in all but a few core provinces around what is now Leestcheck, the modern capital of the Imperium. A new dynasty rose to power in the "KR", called the Leester after their ancestral seat of Leeste.
To regain control of the lost provinces, the new "Emperor" (now only controlling a very small country) abolished the old estates and established the first vestiges of a constitutional monarchy with democratic checks and balances. Male landowners were given the right to elect their Präfekt, the local ruler of their province. In turn, the local Präfekten assembled once every 10 years or after the death of the Emperor to elect or relect a new Emperor. This setup calmed any remaining rebellious spirit in the "KR" remnant Empire and led to several newly independent provinces re-joining the "KR" over time. By the 16th century, the "KR" had regained all of its former provinces and was now a fully-flegeded constitutional monarchy, still ruled by the Leester dynasty. They founded the new capital of Leestcheck in 1619.
In 1640, a civil war broke out between two twin brothers from the Leester dynasty, Reinhard and Leonhard, both of which claimed to be the rightful heir to the "KR". From the ashes of 5 years of civil war, Leonhard emerged victorious. He renamed the realm to Leonistisches Reich and expanded its borders further. He was also a great protector of science and culture. Under his reign, research, education, technology and industry all blossomed. By the end of his 40 year long reign, in 1685, the Reich had become one of the wealthiest and most modern states in Avalon.
In the 18th century, the Reich was locked in a power struggle with neighbouring great powers, notably the precursors of modern The Blessed Kingdom of Custadia and The Holy Empire of Snoodum. Perpetual military conflict led to famines due to the lack of able bodied workers and had an overall negative effect on the economy. Various emperors tried to strenghten their position by reducing the constitutional checks and balances, giving them more power. At the dawn of the 19th century, Leonism was functionally an absolute monarchy again.
In the 19th century, nationalism became increasingly fashionable in Leonism and elsewhere. Ethnic conflicts between the majority Germanic population and minority Latin population flamed up. Several provinces of the Reich aspired independence again, wanting to create their own state along the ethnic lines of the former Germanic tribes.
At this time, the The Unending Empire of Cianlandia was ruled by an expansionist leader who wanted to conquer the northern provinces of the Reich. The then current Imperator, Leonhard IV., grabbed this opportunity with both hands. He stoked the flames of nationalism to unite the country against a common enemy. He was succesful in leading all provinces into a defensive war against Cianlandia, which lasted for two years before the a change of government led to Cianlandia abandoning their expansionist plans. A "white peace" with no territorial changes was the result.
After the war, Leonhard IV. succesfully united the nation. In order to avoid further rebellions, he began top-down reforms of the government that re-introduced constitutional checks and balances and made Leonism a constitutional monarchy again. It was around this time that the term "Leonistisches Imperium" was first used for the state. The last province to join the Imperium was Ohrwald in 1879. This would be the hotspot of the Easter Uprising of 1891 a decade later.
Concurrently, Imperator Konsul Johann XI. was locked in a power struggle against his own wife, Kaiserin Sophie. Sophie prevailed and reformed the government further, abolishing the hereditary monarchy completely and introducing the Imperator Konsul title as sole and unified head of state and government. Her son, Steffen, was the first Imperator Konsul.
In the middle of the 20th century, Leonism was involved in several large wars across Lazarus. These wrought much devastation upon the country, although its borders remained largely intact. As a consequence, Imperator Konsul Reinhard III. voluntarily isolated Leonism from the rest of Lazarus in 1951, to escape the constant conflicts and power struggles with neighbouring countries. He maintained a very large standing military to detract would be attackers from invading. His government also reformed the economy into a socialist model. focusing the state on the three pillars of military, science and education. The standard of living for the average citizen dropped as a consequence, but further wars were successfully discouraged. The science and education focus paid off in the long run, establishing Leonism as one of the most advanced countries in the region, although the weak economy prevented necessary investment and an increase in individual wealth that would normally accompany such a progressive nation.
The isolation was maintained by successive governements. Only the election of Imperator Konsul Leo I., a very young politican who had risen through the ranks in a meteoric fashion, changed this established status quo. Upon his election in 2017, Leo abolished socialism, reforming the economy into a social-market economy. He also gave up the country's international isolation, sending out scout forces throughout Lazarus to cartograph and re-establish contact with other nations. His government benefitted from a technological breakthrough achieved in 2014, when decades of heavily subsidized research into nuclear fusion finally led to the construction of the first fusion power plant that generated more energy than it consumed. Leo further subsidized this development and built fusion reactors throughout the country at breathtaking speed, with 2019 being the first year in which Leonism did not rely on carbon-based energy for electricity but instead meeting all its electric power needs through fusion and renewable energy.
With its international isolation ended, the Imperium made several friends and allies abroad, notably The copper states with whom Leonism signed a Science and Research Treaty, former enemies of Cianlandia, with whom an economic and military alliance was signed, Hycronesia, which became the main focus of Leonisms burgeoning trade route towards the continent of Thule and Loftegen 2, a farway nation with distant links to Leonism through emigration in the 19th century. Both nations fought together against the New Light Order cultists and crushed them decisively in mid 2019.
The Imperium covers approximately 17 million square kilometers. The climate is mostly temperate, with mild winters and mild summers, although the winters can be quite harsh in the mountainous regions in the north, while the summers can be quite warm in the almost mediterranean climate of the South Frisian coast. Three large rivers dominate the country, with the metropolis of Blaumeisehaven lying inside the delta of the Leest, the largest river of Leonism. The Königsee is a huge lake - more like an inland sea - which is fed by several rivers from the northern mountains. South of the lake lies a large and rather dry savannah, the "Große Weite" (literally: "large width"). Northwest of it lies the Hasenberge mountain range, which reaches up to 2500 m in some areas. Almost all borders to the North, East and West are covered by even larger mountain ranges, forming a natural barrier to the neighbouring countries.
A special feature of the coast in the south are the South Frisian Island, a chain of four large and many smaller islands which lie parallel to the coast. These are all prime tourist destinations due to their long beaches and mild climate.
Largest city of the country is Blaumeisehaven, with 25 million inhabitants. Dotted around the country, but mostly in the lower lying areas, are several hundreds of cities with about 1 million inhabitants. The capital, Leestcheck, which is situated near the centre of the country, has about 1,5 million citizens in the city proper, but several "rings" of suburban districts and satellite cities create a large area with about 15 million inhabitants in total.
All native Imperials are white people, descendant from either Germanic or Roman people, mostly a mix of both. The Germanic traits of tall, blonde and blue or green eyes people is dominating. Red hair is also not uncommon, while dark hair and brown eyes are less common. Slavery or colonisation did not feature in Imperial history, thus the country retains its homogenous ethnicity and has no darker skinned population or descendants of former slaves or colonists. Immigration was banned with few exceptions until very recently.
The Imperium, as it is mostly called by its inhabitants, is a social-liberal democracy with a tricameral legislative and free and fair elections. It has a federal structure, consisting of 58 provinces ("Provinzen") which are further subdivided into districts ("Kreise), with the smallest administrative divisions being local communities ("Gemeinden"). Regular elections take place on all of these administrative levels.
There are three houses of parliament:
The Senat is the upper house and represents the provinces through locally elected members.
The Reichstag is the lower house and is elected in nationwide elections every 5 years.
The Konsulrat consists of all citizens who have reached the rank of Prokonsul II. Klasse or higher, is thus unelected and functions as an advisory to the Imperator Konsul.
Head of the state and of the government is the Imperator Konsul, who is not directly elected by the population but rather voted upon by all members of the three parliaments, who meet in a special session, the so-called Imperiale Reichsversammlung every 7 years.
There are no political parties in a narrow sense of the word. The "Imperator Konsul" is both the head of state and head of government, it is also the highest military rank. He is assisted by a number of Vizekonsuln ("vice consuls"), all of whom earned this rank through countless promotions over years of dedicated service to the Imperium. The structure of the military is strongly meritocratic.
The main focus of the government are education, science and military. A strong and publicly funded education system is seen as paramount to the success of the nation as a whole. Scientific research is seen as the main vehicle of societal progress. A strong military is regarded as being of upmost importance to maintaining and expanding the leonist way of life. Leonism does ultimately strive for world and intergalatic domination through continous expansion by political, cultural, economic and military means. Spacefaring capability is a foremost interest both from a scientific and military vantage point of the Imperium.
The economy is based on a capitalist system but with strong state influence to optimise the use of natural and human resources and promote worker's rights. The leonist ideology ultimately wants to replace the capitalist system once it has gained access to basically unlimited resources found in space, but an ordoliberal social-market economy seems to work best for its current needs.
The largest sectors in the diverse economy are the Arms Manufacturing and Information Technology sectors, while Tourism and the Publishing Industry are also important. Many small-and medium sized, often family-owned, businesses characterise the economy, although some giant corporations do exist. Most notably of those is ImpTec, an industrial conglomerate which employs over 35 million people and produces everything from baby feeding equipment to Imperator class battleships.
Leonism is an areligious nation. Religions are regarded as backwards and "opium for the masses". Practice of religion is restricted to the private sphere, but no particular religions are singled out in any way, thus giving citizens formally "freedom of religion". The two largest denominations are Protestant Christianity (about 1% of the population) and Roman Polytheism (also 1% of the population). Belief in the old Roman gods is especially prevalent in the regions with a larger Latin minority, such as the Northeastern territories near Lower Leonism.
Leonism has a national health service that provides the best possible medical care to everyone it can under its limited funding. A system called "Priorisierung" (=priorization) is in place which assigns funding according to the medical needs of the many. Prevention is seens as equally if not more important than primary treatment. The current Imperator Konsul himself has a medical degree.
Due to the high levels of education and intelligence of the populace, as well as the health service, Leonism has a very long average span of life, at around 94 years. Many citizens reach well over 100 years of age.
As befits its ideology, the Imperium has a vast military, called the Imperiale Streitkräfte (Imperial Armed Forces). All citizens who are physically able have recieved at least one year of basic military training. No exceptions based on gender or religion are possible. Conscientious objection is not possible. About 1% of the population serve in the Imperial Armed Forces as a standing army, currently numbering about 75 million soldiers. A total of 4 billion reservists, aged 19 to 65, are currently able to be mobilised within days, 2% of whom (= 80 million) are doing their mandatory two weeks of yearly retraining at any moment, thus about 150 million soldiers are always at the ready.
The military is organised in a fashion remniscient of the ancient Römer Empire, with Legionen (= legions) of around 6000 men being the main strategic element around which the army is formed.
Four branches exist:
The Heer (army/land forces) is the largest branch and has a tradition dating back many centuries, with some individual units claiming ancestry reaching back to the Römer. About 60% of all soldiers serve in this branch. The army is heavily mechanized, based around advanced Panzer tank units.
The Luftwaffe (air force) is vast and mainly built around multi-role fighters and interceptors, with little capabilities for strategic bombardment. About 20% of all soldiers serve in this branch.
The Raumwaffe (space force) is the newest branch, existing only since the 1980s, when it basically consisted of a few leftover aircraft, satellites and a single space shuttle. It has grown heavily in recent years and now employs 5% of all soldiers, fielding very advanced technology such as the fusion-powered R44 aerospace superiority fighter. It has orbital bombardement capabilities through the 100m long fusion-powered L/KRV class corvette starships.
The Marine (navy) is huge but still underdeveloped due to Leonism's recent isolation. 15% of all soldiers serve in the navy. Unlike other Lazarene navies, it is still heavily based around battleships, which have been upgraded with advanced anti-air weaponry to offset their traditional disadvantage against carriers (which the navy also has). Fusion-powered ships are the pride of the navy and are slowly but steadily replacing gas-turbine or nuclear fission powered ships.
Energy weapons of various kinds are highly sought after by imperial Generals, but are not yet available for personal use. They have been succesfully deployed on ships and aircraft though. Due to a lack of combat experience, the technological advantage of the Streitkräfte is somewhat offset by outdated doctrines.
The national animal is the Blaumeise. Despite various confusing accounts above these creatures in NationStates media, these are ultimately just small but beautiful songbirds which go by the weird English name blue tit. The species is protected and almost regarded as holy, hurting them - or by extension any songbird - is heavily frowned upon in imperial culture.