- "Irate senators stormed out in protest over decisions which left their representative sectors exposed to attack. Many of the Republic's diplomatic allies refused to commit their military support to the greater cause. It was every system for itself."
- ―Jedi Master Gnost-Dural
In the early days of the Great Galactic War, the Galactic Republic suffered several successive losses to the newly-discovered reconstituted Sith Empire in the galaxy's Outer Rim Territories. After the Republic Navy's defeat in the Tingel Arm and several other defense failures across the Rim, the Galactic Senate and the Jedi High Council called for an emergency congressional session to organize the Republic Military's defense of the galaxy.
The session was inconclusive, as the delegates attempting to select the military's priorities were unable to agree, with many declaring that they were unwilling to participate if their worlds were not properly defended. The Republic's diplomatic allies, who would have otherwise contributed their military forces to the greater war effort, refused to commit their resources to the fight against the Sith. Ultimately, the inability of the Senate to come to a consensus allowed the Sith time to regroup and prepare for what would become a twenty-eight year conflict—one that saw the Republic politically crippled and militarily defeated.
- "It seems some in the Senate still argue that the Sith are just another upstart—an obscure, violent species that will easily be defeated if we act patiently and focus on coming up with a comprehensive strategy. Others in the Senate realize that we must immediately regroup and respond, but even among those politicians, there is widespread disagreement about where the fleet should be deployed. The Jedi Council has been under no delusions and has been among those petitioning the Senate for a fast response, but we've all watched in horror as sector after sector has fallen under the Empire's might."
In 3681 BBY, the galaxy became engulfed in war for the first time in centuries. The conflict, known as the Great Galactic War, was sparked by the revelation that an ancient Sith Empire had existed in the galaxy's Unknown Regions, and had recently returned to enact its revenge against the Galactic Republic after the defeat of its predecessor government in the Great Hyperspace War of 5000 BBY. The war began in the Tingel Arm, a region of the Outer Rim Territories that quickly fell to the Imperial advance. Although the Republic Navy attempted to mount an operation to retake the area, it was quickly overwhelmed and forced to flee.
The swiftness of the Imperial assault caught the Republic off-guard, and while the Republic Military struggled with the loss of the Tingel Arm, the Sith continued their campaign of domination across the Outer Rim. The Empire retook their ancient holy world of Korriban, destroyed the Sluis Van Shipyards in the Sluis sector, blockaded the Rimma Trade Route, and seized the rich resources of the Minos Cluster—all of which was committed with little to no resistance from the Republic Military, which was still struggling to organize a proper plan of action.
The emergency sessionEdit
- "Republic leaders and members of the Jedi Council arranged an emergency meeting in the Senate to prioritize the galaxy's defense, but the session quickly became mired in politics."
Seeing the carnage in the Outer Rim and recognizing that their military was currently ineffective against the Sith, the High Council of the Jedi Order and the leaders of the Galactic Senate called for an emergency session of congress in order to formulate a defense strategy under which the Republic Military could operate. Senators and other delegates convened on the Republic capital of Coruscant to discuss the issue; however, despite the promising intent of the session, the deliberations quickly became bogged down by the political interests of individual senators. The representatives demanded that their respective sectors be given defense priority; when these demands were not met by the congressional body, the senators simply refused to take part in further deliberations and left the Senate's Grand Convocation Chamber. As a result of the inconsequential session, the Republic's diplomatic allies, such as the Ithorian delegation, elected not to contribute their military forces to the war effort against the Sith Empire.
- "While the Republic played politics, the Emperor used this time to reconfigure his forces for the long push into the Galactic Core."
The session ended in failure as a result of the political meltdown in the Senate, meaning that every star system and sector was left to defend itself. This allowed the Empire to consolidate its power before beginning a push from the Outer Rim in toward the Core Worlds. The Sith were largely successful in these aims up until members of the Republic Military and Jedi Order decided to circumvent the indecisiveness of the Senate and launch their own operations against the Empire.
Jedi Master Belth Allusis was one such maverick, and his stand against the Empire at Bothawui in 3671 BBY halted the Sith advance and raised the morale of the Republic's defenders, which had been extremely low since the start of the conflict. Despite the victory, the Republic's early inability to respond to the return of the Sith placed the galactic government in a disadvantage from the beginning of the conflict, which ultimately ended with an Imperial victory.
Following the end of the Great Galactic War with the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant, Jedi Master Gnost-Dural made a holorecord documenting the beginning of the conflict. The record, kept within the Jedi Archives on Tython, included information and images from the emergency session of the Galactic Senate.
Behind the scenesEdit
The emergency session of the Galactic Senate for the prioritization of the galaxy's defense was created as a background event for the LucasArts video game Star Wars: The Old Republic. The event was first mentioned in the sixth entry of the Galactic Timeline, titled Onslaught of the Sith Empire. The timeline was created to provide historical information for the events found in the game, and is available on Star Wars: The Old Republic's official website. They are narrated by the in-universe persona of Jedi historian Gnost-Dural, whose voice is provided by actor Lance Henriksen. It was again mentioned, albeit indirectly, in The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, a digest-sized in-universe book released in collector's editions of The Old Republic itself.
- Timeline 6: Onslaught of the Sith Empire (First appearance)