- "And as my first act with this new authority, I will create a grand army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists."
- ―Sheev Palpatine
The Republic military comprised the army and naval forces—the Grand Army of the Republic and the Republic Navy, respectively—of the Galactic Republic. Formed as a result of the Separatist Crisis and the ensuing Clone Wars, the Jedi-led clone forces fought against the Confederate droid armies across the galaxy for roughly three standard years. By the war's end, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine used his control over the Republic military to exterminate the Jedi, resulting in the fall of the Jedi Order and the Republic's reorganization into the first Galactic Empire. The Republic military consequently transitioned into the Imperial Military.
- "This is a crisis. The Senate must vote to give the Chancellor emergency powers. He can then approve the creation of an army without a vote."
- ―Mas Amedda
Prior to the Age of the Empire, much of the known galaxy was governed by the Galactic Republic, a democratic union that existed for over a millennium without the need of a standing army. Despite the lack of a permanent, pan-galactic military, the Republic remained secure due in part to the peacekeeping efforts of the Jedi Order—guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. However, by 22 BBY a growing secessionist movement threatened to divide the galaxy between loyalist worlds and those that sought independence from Republic rule.
With thousands of star systems attempting to leave the Republic, the Galactic Senate deliberated the Military Creation Act—a bill that, if passed, would authorize the formation of a Republic military force. Upon learning that the newly-formed Confederacy of Independent Systems had secretly engineered a massive droid army on Geonosis, the Senate voted to grant emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, thereby allowing the Republic to quickly adopt the Kaminoan clone army. As a result, the Republic military became fully established with the formation of both the Grand Army of the Republic and the Republic Navy.
- "The war left its scars on all of us."
- ―CT-7567, reflecting on the Clone Wars' effect on the Republic's soldiers
The Republic's new military—consisting of soldiers cloned from the genetic template of the human bounty hunter Jango Fett—first engaged the Confederate battle droids in the Battle of Geonosis. The battle not only marked the start of the first full-scale conflict since the formation of the Republic, but also provided the clone troopers with an opportunity to display a military might never before seen in the history of the galaxy. Upon securing the first victory of the civil war, which came to be known as the Clone Wars due to the clones becoming symbolic of the times, the Republic military deployed across the galaxy with the ultimate objective of putting an end to the Separatist rebellion. As the ancient protectors of the Republic, the Jedi were sworn to defend the government that united much of the galaxy under the rule of democracy for more than a thousand years, and therefore accepted a leadership role in the Republic's armed forces.
Throughout the Clone Wars, the Republic and Separatist forces engaged in numerous battles across the galaxy. Many clone troopers sacrificed their lives out of loyalty to the Republic, as well as their Jedi Generals and the Supreme Chancellor. After three years of constant fighting, the Confederacy was on the verge of defeat as the Jedi-led Republic forces escalated the besiegement of the Outer Rim Territories. However, every clone trooper had been engineered with an organic chip that rendered them incapable of disobeying Order 66, a secret protocol that called for the immediate execution of all Jedi. Toward the end, Chancellor Palpatine—now known to the Jedi as Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith—issued Order 66 to the entire clone army, compelling the clones to slaughter their longtime allies without hesitation. In the end, the Republic military proved instrumental in the downfall of both the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic, consequently resulting in the restoration of Sith dominance through the rise of the Galactic Empire.
- "Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, outlining his vision for the Imperial Military in the Tarkin Doctrine
At the start of Sidious's reign as Galactic Emperor, the Galactic Empire inherited the armed forces of the Old Republic and reorganized it into the Imperial Military. The clone troopers, who had once served as the defenders of the Republic, came to represent the first generation of the Imperial stormtrooper—elite enforcers of the Emperor's regime. Wilhuff Tarkin, Nils Tenant, and other ambitious officers who made their careers in war gained even more opportunities for advancement in the Empire. Although the Clone Wars officially concluded with the Confederacy's defeat, numerous Separatist holdouts persevered in their resistance to the New Order, particularly in the Western Reaches of the galaxy. Their continued existence was used to justify the Empire's massive militarization effort, enabling the Imperial Military to grow larger and more advanced than its Republic precursor.
In light of the Jedi Order's insufficient numbers compared to the far more numerous Separatist army, the Jedi accepted the responsibility of leadership in the Republic's new military. The title of Jedi General was bestowed on the Knights and Masters of the Order; Padawans were granted the lesser rank of Jedi Commander. Assisting the Jedi in their new role as military leaders was a cadre of clones specially trained for command. Their ranks ranged from the low positions of sergeant and lieutenant to the higher commissions of captain and commander. Regardless of their place in the Republic military echelon, clones were outranked by both the Jedi and non-clone commissioned officers. In addition to receiving support from clone navigation officers, high-ranking Jedi were assigned a Republic Navy officer who served in a subordinate capacity as part of a wartime bargain struck early on between the Jedi Order and the Supreme Chancellor.
The Grand Army of the Republic composed the ground forces of the Galactic Republic from its inception and throughout the Clone Wars. Entire legions of clone soldiers were grown and trained on the planet Kamino to serve—in addition to other military roles—as infantry units. Initially consisting of 200,000 units prior to the start of the conflict, the Grand Army's ranks ultimately swelled with an additional million clones at the beginning of the war. During the early period of the war, Phase I clone trooper armor served as the standard battle armor for the average clone, whereas variant units, such as clone pilots and ordnance specialists, wore a specialized version to suit their function. As the war progressed, Phase II clone trooper armor was gradually introduced into the Grand Army and eventually replaced Phase I as the standard armor for clones.
The Republic Navy consisted of military starships; in particular, the Venator-class Star Destroyers and Acclamator-class transgalactic military assault ships. Acclamators, which were mainly used as troop transports, made their debut at the Battle of Geonosis, ferrying thousands of clone troopers to the first military engagement of the Clone Wars. Venators likewise served to transport clone units across the numerous fronts of the galaxy-wide civil war, although their primary function was ship-to-ship combat. In addition, the Venator Star Destroyer was developed to act as a carrier for numerous starfighters and Low Altitude Assault Transport gunships. The class also came to be closely associated with the Republic military's Jedi leaders and thereby gained the alternative name of "Jedi cruiser."
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- ↑ Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- ↑ Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 8.0 8.1
- ↑ 9.0 9.1
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Tarkin
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Hidden Enemy"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Ambush"