Galactic Empire History
Written by Doitzel on Feb-14-2006
Formed when Supreme Chancellor Palpatine declared the formation of a New Order, the Galactic Empire was comprised of an excess of 1 million worlds and as many as 50 million affiliated worlds. The Empire’s roots can be found in the 1,000 year old Galactic Republic that preceded it. At the conclusion of the Clone Wars, the Republic was dissolved when the Supreme Chancellor declared proclaimed himself Emperor. By eliminating all threats to his power, including the Jedi Order, the Emperor was now the iron-fisted sovereign of the entire galaxy. With complete influence over the Imperial Senate, formerly the legislative body that governed the Republic, Palpatine was able to exercise his power throughout the Empire with unprecedented military power.
The Imperial Army and Starfleet have their origins in the days preceding the Clone Wars. Originally the Grand Army of the Republic, created when the Galactic Senate voted emergency executive powers to the Supreme Chancellor, the Imperial Armed Forces evolved rapidly out of infancy. After the end of the Clone Wars, the exclusive use of clones for all military purposes became impractical and conscription from the star systems of the Empire was widely employed. Even the elite Stormtrooper units, fanatical shock troops loyal to the Emperor, were no longer made up exclusively of clones. However, this is not to say that the Emperor did not ensure that his armed forces were not of the highest quality and up to the standards of the Old Republic military.
The majority of the Galactic Empire’s existence was plagued by unrest and civil war. The first great show of resistance against the Empire was at the Battle of Yavin. In a crushing defeat at the hands of the small Rebel Alliance, the Empire lost both the first of its Death Stars, as well as several top-ranking Imperial officers. This was the true beginning of the Galactic Civil War which would rage across the galaxy for several years. The Rebellion’s victory over the Empire was short-lived, however, and the Imperial Starfleet under the command of Darth Vader decisively crushed the Rebel Alliance in the ground battle on the jungle moon of Yavin. However, the Rebel Alliance’s overwhelming achievement far outshone the successful Imperial counter-attack. They had proven themselves able to challenge the Empire militarily; an undertaking previously thought impossible.
Over the three years following the Battle of Yavin, the Empire fruitlessly pursued the elusive rebels in attempt to destroy their headquarters and crush the uprising once and for all. The Empire got their chance when they finally discovered the secluded rebel base on a remote planet in the Hoth system. Sending a massive task force from the Imperial Fleet, under Admiral Ozzel and the Imperial Army, under General Veers, Darth Vader oversaw an assault on the Rebel Alliance’s base. Employing a large force of Imperial AT-AT and AT-ST walkers, infantry, and other forces, in addition to a blockade of the planet, Vader was successful in completely routing the Alliance’s forces and destroying their foothold in the system. However, he was unsuccessful in achieving his ulterior motive – the capture of Luke Skywalker. The Empire was again successful in exercising total military domination and scattered the rebels throughout the galaxy.
Following the unsuccessful destruction or capture of Luke Skywalker at Hoth, Darth Vader was contacted by the Emperor regarding the growing threat that the young rebel was presenting. Fearing that Skywalker may complete his training as a Jedi Knight, the Emperor sought to have him eliminated. Vader, however, for undeterminable motives, suggested that he should be turned to the Dark Side of the Force and be made a servant of the Emperor. The Emperor agreed that Skywalker could be a powerful minion, and tasked Vader with capturing and delivering the boy to him. Vader’s plan to trap Skywalker involved the use of his friends as bait to draw Skywalker into a trap on the Cloud City above the gas giant Bespin. The result was a confrontation between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, from which the latter barely escaped with his life. Skywalker was able, however, to reject the Dark Side and escape with his friends aboard the Millennium Falcon. After further vain attempts to catch Skywalker, Vader was eventually called back to the Emperor’s side to assist in the trapping of not only Skywalker, but the entire Rebellion.
The final and arguably most significant battle in the Empire’s history occurred on the quaint forest-moon of the planet Endor (or, as the Emperor referred to it, the “Sanctuary Moon”). In what can only be described as a stroke of pure genius, the Emperor had formulated a strategy to completely destroy the Alliance in a single, swift stroke. The Emperor had skillfully leaked the location of both the second Death Star being constructed and its accompanying shield generator to the Alliance and as an added piece of bait to attract the Rebellion’s forces, personally oversaw the final construction. Enticing the rebels to use their full forces, he then positioned the Imperial Fleet under Admiral Piett on the side of the forest moon opposite the Death Star, so as to trap the rebels upon the execution of their attack. A short time after the rebel detachment infiltrated Imperial security and landed on the forest moon, Luke Skywalker (who was part of the strike team) surrendered to Imperial forces and was brought before the Emperor by Darth Vader. Meanwhile the rest of the rebel strike team was captured by the Emperor’s troops, and Luke was forced to look on as the Imperial Fleet trapped the Rebel Fleet in the skies above the moon. As Vader and Luke dueled on the Death Star, the rebel strike team on the moon’s surface, with the aid of the native Ewoks, was able to defeat the Emperor’s forces and destroy the shield generator. Upon learning of the deactivation of the shield, several small ships from the Rebel Fleet infiltrated the Death Star and staged an attack against its reactor core. On board the Death Star, Luke Skywalker was successful in defeating Darth Vader. Upon seeing Palpatine’s assault against the Jedi Knight, Vader turned back to the Light and redeemed himself by throwing the Emperor down a reactor shaft to his death. He narrowly escaped with the dying former Sith Lord when the Alliance’s forces destroyed the Death Star’s main reactor, shattering the Empire completely.
After Palpatine’s death, the New Republic was formed from the Alliance. The Empire continued to live on, rising and falling numerous times, but never again achieving the greatness it had once possessed. From the Grand Army of the Republic that came out of the Clone Wars victorious to the remnants of the glorious New Order, the Empire’s legacy continued for generations after its fall. However, it would never again rise from the ashes after the fiasco at the Battle of Endor.