10

When the Minbari and humans first met, a single event led them to war.

The Minbari ships turned towards the Prometheus and engage their long-range sensors to gain more data on the unknown Earth ship. Unknown to the Minbari, the intense EMP field generated by their long range sensors disabled the Prometheus' jump engine, preventing the Earth ship from retreating. As the Minbari ships draw closer, they open their gun ports; a sign of respect in their culture. The interference from the Minbari sensors also prevents the Prometheus from determining whether or not the Minbari ships are charging their weapons. The captain of the Prometheus, with his jump engines disabled and the Minbari ships approaching with apparent intent to fire, misinterprets this as a sign of aggression and opens fire. The Minbari ships are heavily damaged, and their beloved leader, Dukhat, is killed. In retaliation, the Grey Council declares war against humanity, and the Earth–Minbari War begins.

The Minbari with their superior technology almost destroyed the entire human civilization within just two years.

What Earth did not know - but the average Minbari may have known - is that Delenn cast the tie-breaking vote to declare war. I know some decisions by the Grey Council are secret (e.g. - the reason why Minbari warriors were ordered to surrender to humans when the Minbari were on the verge of total victory), but I don't know if they are all secret. I also assume the average Minbari knew why they were going to war; because those humans killed our leader in an unprovoked attack. So we have some decisions where the public is informed of the reason why, and others where the public is not informed.

Did the Minbari ever tell the humans (or anyone else) who cast the vote to declare war?

In accordance with my "Quotes Get Votes" policy, please provide quotes, links, or citations from canon sources in your answers. Sources may include statements by JMS or others associated with writing or producing the show, B-5 episodes, B-5 TV movies, related shows, and novels.

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    How's the B5 marathon going? :-) – can-ned_food Mar 28 '17 at 7:11
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    For whoever answers: I don't recall the Minbari ever telling the Humans, but don't forget to mention that Lennier was somewhat surprised when he learned the details while he was accompanying Delenn in her Dreaming (‘Atonement’, season four, episode nine). – can-ned_food Mar 28 '17 at 7:18
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    I'm pretty sure no one ever accused a Minbari of being overly forthcoming. – gowenfawr Mar 28 '17 at 12:22
  • IIRC, it's mentioned in the series that EarthGov didn't have any hard information about the Gray Council at the time of the war. EarthGov only had rumors and speculation that there was a secret body of some kind that made decisions for the Minbari. – Joe L. Mar 28 '17 at 14:57
  • @gowenfawr Yes, cryptic and secretive those Minbari are. Trained by Vorlons I think they were. – RichS Mar 28 '17 at 16:21
17

The creator of the show had this to say about the subject

Won't Sheridan be upset when he finds out Delenn ordered the war?
"Listen, honey, while you were out I went to the store and I bought some new candles, you know how we're always running out, and Lennier took the cat in to be cleaned, and oh, did I mention I was directly responsible for the deaths of two hundred and fifty thousand of your best friends and fellow officers? Pass the sugar."
She'll never tell him.
Because it's over...what would be the point, except to ruin what they have now.

This response doesn't address the entirety of the Minbari, but it may be safe to presume that they either don't know or are not concerned with the specifics. The few clan members who are concerned were cowed by Delenn into silence in the same episode this was revealed.

This only leaves Lennier who knows and might say, but by the end of the show he had kept his silence on this. His situation made it very unlikely Sheridan might hear him out.


As a followup to @Machavity's good catch of an answer - Londo knowing the full story as he tells it for In The Beginning - it appears one of the tie-in novels tries to explain this.

As Sheridan, Delenn, and their son are captive on Centauri Prime, Londo approaches Delenn with an offer for David's safety - the Drakh are mostly interested in seeing the leaders of the Alliance dead, and although Londo can't guarantee they'll remove David's Keeper, he can at least offer his physical freedom. Londo doesn't see much of a future, he says, and is too tired, too old, and often too drunk to remember the present, but he can still remember the past with clarity, so he's interested in filling in the gaps in history. He wants Delenn's side of the story of the Earth-Minbari war in exchange for David's freedom. Delenn agrees after assessing his honesty. This appears to be the only time she ever speaks of her responsibility in the war to an outsider, and a shocked Londo muses that being responsible for so many deaths has given them more common ground than either one of them could have guessed.

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    Except that Lennier knows (according to comment mentioned earlier), so he could tell Sheridan. Can't imagine why Lennier would want to ruin the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn. – RichS Mar 28 '17 at 16:23
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    @RichS - ...except he ends the series having done far worse than be a tattle tale, and spends the rest of his life atoning (think word of god has him dying helping Lyta, but its a story untold at this point) – Radhil Mar 28 '17 at 16:36
5

It's worth noting that Londo Molari seems to know. He's narrating the B5 movie In the Beginning, which fully recounts all the events of the Earth-Minbari war (including the Grey Council vote). Either he surmised it (it seems more commonly known by the time that this happens that Delenn was a member of the Grey Council) or someone who knew told him (perhaps Lennier).

  • Good catch, +1. My guess would be he put the info together, seeing he had no way otherwise of knowing his own role in that war. – Radhil Mar 28 '17 at 19:36
  • It appears my guess was wrong - part of the Centauri Prime books shows Londo quizzing Delenn on her story of the war, as part of his price for helping their son, in fact. – Radhil Apr 22 '17 at 20:00

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