"With our combined strength,
we can end this destructive conflict,
and bring order to the Galaxy!"
— Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker
The Galactic Civil War was a major galactic conflict fought between the oppressive Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a rebel faction dedicated to the revival of the Galactic Republic the Empire supplanted.
The conflict traced its origins back to dissent in the Galactic Senate during the Clone Wars against the nearly authoritarian power of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Armed conflict did not commence, however, until almost two decades years after the Declaration of a New Order and the Great Jedi Purge, when Rebel and Imperial forces clashed for the first time. At first, the Empire saw the Rebel Alliance only as a political threat and not a military one, but after the rebel Luke Skywalker destroyed the First Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, the rebels were taken more seriously and the Empire realized that the rebels were indeed a threat.
The decisive confrontation came at the Battle of Endor, when the Rebel fleet faced that of the Empire and secured victory, destroying the second Death Star and the Emperor. From there, the Empire began a rapid decline as a result of civil war, but was saved from the brink of total collapse by Bacharan Valak. With a renewed sense of direction and leadership, the Empire was able to fight back against the newly formed Republic, culminating in the Imperial Blitzkrieg and recapture of Coruscant, ensuring that the war would last for years to come.
Table of Contents
Origin of the Galactic Civil War
"Some things are better left unsaid."
— Padmé Amidala
The collapse of the Galactic Republic in 19 BBY led to the establishment of the Empire under former Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was revealed as Darth Sidious, an elusive Sith Lord who, with extensive planning, took advantage of the corruption and inefficacies of the system and masterminded the Clone Wars in order to obtain more power. Taking the title of Emperor, he established a dictatorial regime that quickly eradicated major resistance, including the ancient protectors of the Republic, the Jedi Order, whom Palpatine accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and kill all members in the Senate. Of the several thousand Jedi, very few survived the implementation of Order 66 and the subsequent beginning of the Great Jedi Purge in 19 BBY, most notably Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.
The Emperor's third known Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, was an integral part of the Purge and the establishment of the Empire. Before he turned to the Dark Side of the Force, he was known as Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight and apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Darth Vader sought out and killed nearly all the Jedi, destroying what last fragments remained from the Order. On the planet Mustafar, Vader dueled his old master, Obi-Wan, who inflicted serious wounds on Vader which forced him to wear a black suit of armor and a fearsome breath mask. This new version of Vader helped the Empire strike fear into systems' hearts. His deceased wife Padmé Amidala had borne him two children, whom he thought had died along with her. These two children, Luke and Leia Skywalker, would later become leaders of the Alliance and reestablish the Jedi Order. Luke was taken to Tatooine and hidden with his step-uncle Owen Lars, while Leia was adopted by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan, and his wife Breha.
After the Empire was established, the Galactic Senate was reorganized into the Imperial Senate. However, it quickly became a rubber-stamp assembly. The Empire's New Order also emphasized Human and, to a lesser extent, humanoid supremacy, with other alien species such as Wookiees, Mon Calamari, Yuzzem and Lurrians reclassified as non-sentient and subjected to slavery (referred to as domestication). Antislavery laws were repealed and legislation legalizing the persecution of aliens was passed. As a result, the vast majority of the Imperial armed forces and other institutions were composed of Humans, with only rare exceptions like Grand Admiral Thrawn climbing in the ranks of the military. Some argue that while the Empire was unquestionably xenophobic, there is little to suggest that the Emperor himself was, as some of his advisors and aides and possibly his old Sith Master were alien. In fact, some believe that the privy councilors and advisors that filled Palpatine's court and ran the Empire on a day-to-day basis were the xenophobes, and applied "Human High Culture" on their own accord.
This exercise of power was backed up by the use of state terrorism in the form of the Tarkin Doctrine, named for Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. The Doctrine threatened fear of force rather than the use of force to control dissent; the Ghorman Massacre was an example. This event made clear that the Empire had no regard for sentient rights. The justification for the Tarkin Doctrine was the excessive cost and impracticality of the use of pure terror in the form of billions upon billions of troops and spaceships to maintain order. The instrument of enforcing the Doctrine was the Imperial Military, which included the Stormtrooper Corps and a large fleet of intimidating warships such as the Star Destroyers of the Imperial Navy and dreadful war vehicles such as All Terrain Armored Transports of the Imperial Army, all of which were intended in part to spread fear as well as destroy the enemy. This policy reached its zenith with the construction of the world-destroying Death Star and similar superweapons. The Death Star itself, however, had its origins in the long-gone Separatist cause. On Geonosis, Archduke Poggle the Lesser was involved in creating a weapon that would evolve to become the Death Star.
Formation of the Alliance
When the dire development became clear, a small group of senators, including Bail Organa, Garm Bel Iblis and Mon Mothma, formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic. In the wake of the Ghorman Massacre they issued their Declaration of Rebellion to legitimize their uprising against the Empire and list their grievances. Thus began the Galactic Civil War.
From the beginning, the Alliance was vastly outmanned and outgunned by the much more powerful and better organized Imperial Navy, supplied with powerful warships by companies such as Kuat Drive Yards. The secret defection of the Incom Corporation added the advanced X-wing, while the Mon Calamari supplied badly needed capital ships to combat the Star Destroyers. However, the Rebels were still forced to rely on hit and run tactics, which were orchestrated primarily to harass Imperial shipping and operations. Leia Organa became an Imperial Senator for Alderaan and used her diplomatic immunity to conduct secret Rebel missions aboard her Corellian Corvette Tantive IV.
As the Rebellion grew, so too did the ferocity with which it was hunted. Entire sectors were set upon by Imperial forces, whenever they were identified as hotbeds for Rebel activity. The pacification of the Nembus Sector and the Kwymar Suppressions exemplified this brutal approach to stifling dissent in the Empire.
A slight turning point in the war was the Battle of Turkana, where the Imperials, finding and attacking a Rebel fleet, discovered the Rebels' new 'weapon', the X-wing starfighter, which tipped the scale towards the Alliance at this time. Angered by that defeat, the Empire proceeded to the Operation Strike Fear. Planets and systems members of the Alliance like Rudrig, Brigia and Orion IV were lost or suffered casualties. Luckily, due to the defection of Imperial Crix Madine and the newly forged alliance with the Sullustans the Rebels once again surprised the Imperials by sabotaging and finally destroying the flagship of the operation, the Star Destroyer Invincible.
The Alliance leaders knew they had neither troops nor weapons to fight a long war so they accepted help whenever it came. Many criminals seeking to escape the Empire's grip came to the Alliance for help. The alliance used hit and run tactics when not in major battles. This strategy caused Imperial casualties to rise dramatically.
Disappearance of the Death Star Plans
The Rebel Alliance operated an efficient and widespread intelligence network of Bothan spies. Through this network, the Alliance learned of the construction of the Death Star, an extremely powerful space station capable of annihilating planets with its superlaser.
Rebel prisoners aboard the Death Star managed to riot (the Death Star Uprising) and got control of a technical readout while Imperial-turned-Rebel Kyle Katarn retrieved further plans (the Battle of Danuta) and the main set retrieved during the Battle of Toprawa. From there they beamed it to Leia's ship, the Tantive IV, while the 501st Legion, under Darth Vader, tracked Rebels to Polis Massa, leading to the Battle of Polis Massa; however this was only a set-up for the Empire. Even so, the Rebels, who fought with the defensive upper hand, were crushed. Imperial forces soon discovered the true plot and the Star Destroyer Devastator, under the command of Darth Vader himself, captured the Tantive IV in a space battle above Tatooine, where Leia had been trying to reach. She hoped to enlist the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was a fugitive Jedi in hiding on the planet and was watching over the young Luke Skywalker.
As Vader's forces entered her ship, Leia Organa made a last desperate gamble and hid the plans of the Death Star aboard the astromech droid R2-D2. R2-D2, along with C-3PO, a protocol droid on the ship, used an escape pod to travel to Tatooine, where they were purchased from the Jawa scavengers who found them by Owen Lars, uncle of Luke Skywalker.
Skywalker soon discovered a portion of the message in R2-D2 and became interested. However, R2-D2, operating under programming included with the plans, escaped and tried to find Obi-Wan Kenobi. Skywalker, who conveniently met up with Kenobi in the Dune Sea, tracked him down. R2-D2 then played back for them Leia Organa's desperate plea for help. The two discovered that Imperial stormtroopers had attacked the Jawas who had sold them the two droids in a search for the plans. Luke returned to his home to find his aunt and uncle slaughtered at Imperial hands. He then accompanied Kenobi to Mos Eisley, where, evading Imperial troops, the two chartered space pirate Han Solo and his first mate Chewbacca to take them and the plans to Alderaan aboard the Millennium Falcon.
In the meantime, Palpatine used the crisis as a pretext for dissolving the Imperial Senate.
Meanwhile, Darth Vader had taken Leia Organa to the Death Star, which was under the control of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. When she refused to yield the location of the Rebel base or the whereabouts of the plans voluntarily or through torture, Tarkin threatened to destroy Alderaan in an attempt to force her to confess. Fearing that Tarkin would use the superweapon on hers and other peaceful worlds, she offered the false location of Dantooine. Thinking that he and the Empire had won, Tarkin went ahead and destroyed Alderaan. Millennium Falcon arrived in the midst of the destroyed planet, after having barely escaped Imperial clutches above Tatooine. There, they followed and tried to capture an Imperial TIE Fighter, but were instead captured themselves by the Death Star's massive tractor beam. The group managed to disable the tractor beam and free Princess Leia through an elaborate series of tricks. However, as they were escaping, Darth Vader confronted Kenobi in a lightsaber duel that ended in Kenobi's death (or, apparently, his ascension into becoming one with the Force). The Millennium Falcon escaped, only to be tracked by Imperial troops to the Rebel base on Yavin 4. To confirm Rebel activity, a platoon of Stormtroopers were sent to Yavin 4 and besieged the Massassi Arena outpost. In the Massassi Temple, the technical readouts of the Death Star were analyzed for a weakness, and the Rebels sent ships to destroy the Death Star, which was attempting to obliterate the Rebel base. Luke Skywalker managed a direct hit on a thermal exhaust port, which caused a chain reaction and destroyed the battle station at the last second, just before the space station itself could fire on the Rebel base. This would become known as the Battle of Yavin.
The Battle of Yavin gave the Rebel Alliance credibility as a legitimate threat to the Empire. However, the Rebel commanders knew that their celebrations would be short-lived. Because of the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire would focus all of its military might into destroying the Rebels. The Alliance began to evacuate the planet—complicated by an Imperial blockade.
The years after the evacuation of Massassi Base could be defined in two main events. The first is the rise of Rogue Squadron as one of the Alliance's greatest resources. The second was the Dark Trooper project, and its destruction by Rebel Commando Kyle Katarn.
Capture of Yavin Base
As a result of the battle, the Rebel Alliance gained credibility as a legitimate military opponent to the Empire. Between the effects of the battle and the dissolution of the Imperial Senate, thousands of star systems openly joined the Alliance in the months following the Death Star's destruction. As a result, the Empire began occupying worlds it had allowed to remain untouched earlier, both actions resulting in an escalation of the war.
After the destruction of the first Death Star, the Rebel Alliance prepared to evacuate the jungle moon, fearing Imperial reprisals. Fortunately, most of the Rebel fleet, including the Mon Calamari Star Cruisers under Ackbar and the refugee ships containing the Alliance government, had not been present during the battle and were scattered throughout the Galaxy.
Several garrisons of troopers escaped the Death Star, and their escape pods crashed into the moon. They combined their ranks and started to move toward the Great Temple. General Dodonna supervised the evacuation of the Yavin base. Members of the 501st Legion participated in the orbital battle, immobilizing a Mon Calamari Star Cruiser and destroying countless starfighters, and besieged a Rebel ground vehicle hangar. Several key members of Alliance High Command stationed at the Rebel base were killed by the 501st Legion during its vengeful assault against the Rebel forces. Darth Vader led a TIE Squadron himself in his TIE Advanced, destroying several supply transports leaving the planet.
General Dodonna supervised the evacuation of the Yavin base after these skirmishes. However, before the base's support staff could be evacuated, an armada of Imperial ships including Immobilizer 418 cruisers appeared in the Yavin system. Instead of attacking, the Imperial ships formed a blockade that prevented the Rebels from escaping into hyperspace.
In fact, this blockade had been ordered by Darth Vader himself, who wanted to capture leading Rebels. Meanwhile, the Star Dreadnought Executor was nearing completion at the shipyards of Fondor. This mighty ship could take on an entire armada of smaller vessels and would serve as Vader's flagship. In retaliation for the destruction of the first Death Star, Vader wanted to use the Executor against the Rebels.
Later, Luke Skywalker and other Rebels continually evaded the Imperial blockade. First, they tried to sabotage the completion of the Executor, though they were betrayed and most of the task force was killed. Luke, however, managed to escape and return to the Alliance with intelligence on the behemoth warship. During a second mission, Luke discovered the arctic planet of Hoth. After returning, he suggested to the Alliance that they evacuate to Hoth and set up another base there.
These evasions angered and frustrated the Imperial armada's commanders who eventually persuaded Darth Vader to launch an assault on Yavin 4. Meanwhile, the Rebel leaders including Dodonna were concerned, because while smaller ships could slip through the blockade, larger ships would be destroyed or captured. Dodonna then contacted Mon Mothma and Ackbar and arranged for them to stage a diversionary assault. Rebel forces under Ackbar engaged Imperial forces in the Vallusk Cluster to divert Imperial forces at Yavin 4. Seeing the need for a stronger and unified Rebel fleet, Mon Mothma promoted Ackbar to full admiral. Furthermore, Mothma appointed Ackbar to be the Supreme Commander of the Rebel Fleet, as well as the head of the Alliance military.
However, the completed Executor finally arrived at Yavin 4 with Lord Vader's Death Squadron fleet, as well as elements of the personal fleet of the Baron Orman Tagge, and the battle began. During the assault, the Empire launched an array of vehicles including A5 Juggernauts and AT-STs. TIE Fighters and TIE Bombers would shell the jungle area.
Dodonna evacuated the base's fighters and transports though he refused to evacuate himself until everyone had left. Instead, the general planted several concussion charges that decimated a whole squadron of TIE Bombers. Many of the surviving Rebels eventually made their way to the icy world of Hoth where they established a new base.
"Well, you know the Rogues. All we need is a ship and rock to land it on."
— Wedge Antilles
After the victory at the Battle of Yavin, two of the survivors, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles, formed an X-wing squadron that would become one of the most famous in the Galaxy - Rogue Squadron. It began as Rogue Flight, working in tandem with Renegade Flight under the command of Narra. One of Rogue Flight's first missions was to aid in the evacuation of Yavin IV, and to help Imperial Tycho Celchu defect to the Alliance on Dantooine. When Renegade Flight was defeated in an Imperial ambush in the Ison Corridor, Rogue Flight was transformed into Rogue Squadron. Rogue Squadron quickly had a string of victories on such planets as Tatooine, Barkhesh and Chorax. The Rogues reputation for flying gained the admiration of many TIE fighter squadrons, leading to a few high-profile defections to the Alliance. One such defector was Kasan Moor, commander of the 128th TIE Interceptor Squadron, whose defection led to raids on Imperial production facilities on Balmorra and Kile II. The Rogues victories, however, infuriated those in Imperial high command, such as Moff Kohl Seerdon. He swore vengeance on the squadron after the destruction of his research facility on Fest. However, his invasions of key Alliance planets such as Chandrila and Thyferra were quickly repulsed by Rogue Squadron, and Seerdon was killed by Luke Skywalker.
"Dark trooper: Release."
— General Rom Mohc
The new secret weapon, the Dark Troopers would be used as the Death Star's replacement, but this time coherent to Mohc's ideals of hand to hand combat. The Imperial factory ship Arc Hammer and Darth Vader's new flagship Executor formed a blockade of the planet Talay.
The dark troopers pierced Tak's shields, and attacked with precision and speed - the assault was so sudden that the Rebels had no chance to defend themselves let alone retaliate. Toka managed to transmit a general distress signal; however, the transmission was cut short. The Dark Troopers destroyed the base and its surrounding city, resulting in a massive amount of Rebel and civilian casualties. Only one Mon Calamari cruiser escaped, but that was soon taken over by a stowaway Dark Trooper and crashed on Tatooine. Darth Vader was most impressed with the assault, and gave Mohc full support for the project.
Shortly after the battle, Mon Mothma received Toka's distress signal, in addition to a communication from Crix Madine, regarding the dark trooper project. She recruited Kyle Katarn to infiltrate Tak Base in order to gather information. Katarn discovered an abandoned firearm that no humanoid was capable of carrying. The weapon was confirmed to be used by dark troopers.
After sabotaging two stations, the mining facility on Gromas and the Ice Station Beta, thus delaying the production, Katarn stole a Nava Card which revealed the next rendezvous of the Arc Hammer with the Executor. Hijacking a smuggler ship, he met up with the rendezvous. Katarn placed sequencer charges in the Arc Hammer's power grids. Fighting off General Mohc in his Phase III suit, he escaped before the ship exploded. Katarn was awarded the Star of Alderaan by Mon Mothma.
With the death of Mohc and the destruction of Arc Hammer, as well as billions of credits, a furious Emperor refused to refund the project. All research into other battle droid programs ended.
Meanwhile, unrest began to arise in several worlds like Zaloriis and Vader went to investigate. The Zalorans declared their independence, but Vader suppressed all opposition and freed the abducted Maximilian Veers During an assault on Zaloriis City to punish the Zaloran separatists, Vader and Veers discovered archives of the library which showed the new location of the Rebel base to be somewhere near Elrood system.
Meanwhile Vader became obsessed with finding Skywalker and used Imperial probe droids in the area, launched from his the Executor of the Imperial Death Squadron, to seek him and the Rebel Alliance out. The Rebel base on Hoth was discovered, and the Rebels fled while they fought a stalling effort which would become known as the Battle of Hoth. After much pursuit, Darth Vader captured Skywalker's friends on Cloud City, where they had been hoping to seek temporary asylum from Han Solo's friend, Lando Calrissian.
Luke, under the advice of the Force ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi, had traveled to Dagobah and had become a Jedi apprentice to Jedi Master Yoda. Through the Force, Luke became aware of his friends' suffering and, despite the pleas of Yoda and Kenobi to stay and complete his Jedi training, left Dagobah for Cloud City in an attempt to save his friends, who ended up saving him after he confronted Darth Vader. Vader also revealed to Luke in their battle that he was his father. At the last second, the friends escaped aboard the Millennium Falcon, though Han Solo was taken in carbonite to Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine by the bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Following the Subjugation of Bespin, the Rebel Alliance set out to save any Rebel prisoners from the Battle of Hoth. Rogue Squadron besieged a small Imperial detention facility in the Maw system, freeing all captives. A distress transmission was intercepted coming from a group of captive scientists from a Bakura orbiting detention facility. Besieging the center, Rogue Squadron lost a group of scientists who were abducted by a rogue escort carrier. Tracking it to Geonosis, the attacker revealed himself to be Sarkli, a former Rebel. He was thought dead after Wedge Antilles shot his LAAT gunship down. Now, there was one more prisoner in need of rescue: Han Solo.
The Battle of Gall
Dash Rendar confronted IG-88 on Ord Mantell and learned the whereabouts of Boba Fett who had Han Solo as a captive; he was repairing his ship on Gall. Rogue Squadron and Rendar attacked the Imperial Enclave situated on the moon. However, this rescue mission was confounded by the presence of an Imperial Enclave, with two Star Destroyers on patrol. Luke concocted a risky plan, utilizing the combat skills of the Rogues to keep the Enclaves' fighter complement at bay while counting on the piloting ability of Dash to lead Lando and Leia to Fett's ship. Despite the obvious danger of thirteen X-wings taking on a hundred and forty four TIE Fighters, it was, as Luke pointed out, the only plan they had.
The rescue attempt was launched, with the Rogues flying in on a strafing run against the day-side Star Destroyer. Only twenty fighters were scrambled to meet the threat—the pilots no doubt thinking it was only a drill—though an additional squadron was soon launched. The Rogues did an impressive job of keeping the fighters away from the Grand Trench—where Rendar's Outrider was leading Millennium Falcon towards the spaceport city—only losing one pilot when Will Scotian was forced to return to base after sustaining damage to his craft.
The Rogues' luck could not last, however. Another wave of TIEs approached—among them several TIE Interceptors, and Rogue Six was destroyed in the battle. Worse, the second Star Destroyer joined the battle, launching its own fighters into the fray. Fortunately, the Falcon reached the spaceport after a harrowing run through the Grand Trench, though Dash decided to leave the Rebels to face Fett alone—as he later remarked, he was paid only to guide, not shoot. And with a dozen TIE fighters on their tail, the crew of the Falcon was in dire need of help.
Over the Enclave base, the Rogues, like Dash, decided to cut and run, preparing for a mock hyperspace jump to fool their pursuers into believing they had left the system. Plotting a course towards their base on the moon of Kile, the Rogues were shocked to see Wes Janson's X-wing firing on Luke. The frantic Wes realized his astromech droid had taken control of his ship, and Luke was forced to disable his fellow pilot's fighter, before towing him back to base. There, in a disturbing development, Luke found that the astro-droid had been programmed to kill him. Fett escaped, and the mission failed.
The Rebels Triumph
"The Emperor has made a critical error and the time for our attack has come."
— Mon Mothma
After freeing Han Solo on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian (along with the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO) met up with the Rebel Alliance near the system of Sullust. The Rebels were amassing their entire fleet for a new strike. Admiral Ackbar, the commander of the Rebel fleet, along with General Crix Madine, developed the plans for the battle. The Bothan spies had reported that the Empire has begun construction on a new space station, the Death Star II, which would be much larger and much more powerful. The Rebels had determined to destroy it by launching an all-out attack against it before it could be completed. The sense of urgency was heightened by the fact that the Emperor himself would be aboard the station, making a shot at the head of the Empire himself possible.
The Death Star was protected by a force field generated from the forest moon of Endor. Han Solo, Chewbacca, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, and C-3PO led an expedition to disable the shield and allow the attack to occur. Once on Endor however, Luke turned himself in to Darth Vader, his father, hoping to rescue him from the clutches of the Emperor and the Dark Side of The Force. Vader took him aboard the uncompleted Death Star and before the Emperor, who attempted to lure him to the Dark Side by placing him in combat with Vader, whom he defeated. However, instead of killing Vader, he renounced the Dark Side by declaring himself a Jedi, like his father before him. Palpatine then attempted to kill him with a shower of deadly Force lightning, but Darth Vader, becoming Anakin Skywalker once again, threw him into a reactor core shaft, killing the Emperor. At this same moment, the Rebels managed to deactivate the shield by destroying the entire shield bunker with sequencer charges. The resulting Battle of Endor led to the destruction of the Death Star, although Skywalker escaped with Anakin's body. The Emperor was dead and the main Imperial fleet was defeated. Despite this tremendous victory, the Empire would not die entirely and would strike back years later.
Establishing a New Republic
Celebrations broke out across the galaxy, heralding the death of Palpatine and triumph of the Rebellion. These outbreaks developed even on Imperial Center; hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of citizens broke out in joy and celebrated in the streets, toppling a statue that had been erected in Palpatine's image. But the Empire did not sit still with this. On Imperial Center, Ysanne Isard, Director of Imperial Intelligence, took the opportunity and took control of much of the Empire's assets on the capital world. She cracked down on the celebrators, ordering the Stormtroopers to indiscriminately kill anyone caught celebrating or opposing the Empire. As a result, thousands would die, and Imperial order would be maintained upon Imperial Center.
But all was not well with the Empire. As the Alliance licked its wounds from Endor and sought to establish a new government, the Empire was fragmenting at the seams. Moffs and members of the Imperial Ruling Council vied for control of the Empire, as Imperial military commanders began using their own resources and military prowess to establish themselves as warlords. This infighting, which would become known as the Post-Endor Imperial Power Struggle, paved the way for the Alliance to work without fear of a concentrated Imperial counter-attack: they were able to gain the support of more and more worlds, each pledging their support in the wake of Palpatine's death. The Alliance High Command knew their ultimate objective: liberating Coruscant and establishing it as the capital of what would become the New Republic.
On Imperial Center itself, the Grand Vizier, Sate Pestage, reeled in the Imperial Ruling Council and effectively established himself as the Head of State. Isard refused to recognize Pestage as the legitimate heir to the throne and the two clashed on Imperial Center: COMPNOR, under Crueya Vandron and the Ruling Council, supported Pestage and worked to topple Intelligence. As a result, Isard was assassinated and Pestage's claim on the throne held. However, all of it would be put to null as the Alliance finally worked up the manpower and resources to assault Coruscant directly and liberate it from the Empire.
With Coruscant under their control, the Alliance established the New Republic and began to write down the frameworks of the new government. Hundreds of worlds applied for membership to this new government in the wake of Coruscant's liberation and were immediately approved: the New Republic was born and now had the Empire on the run. The galaxy at this time, however, was still a confusing mess. By the end of 5 ABY, the Empire had been reduced to its worlds along the Tarkin Corridor and a thin blanket of territory stretching from Venixun to Dreven in the Outer Rim. It had managed to retain control of several bulks of worlds in other quadrants, including the Kessel Redoubt and scattered domains in the Inner, Mid and Outer Rims. The rest of the galaxy was slowly but surely being absorbed into the New Republic, while yet still other stretches of territory had been claimed by the Imperial warlords.
The Republic adopted a policy of neglecting the Empire as it sought to bolster its own territory and military; Republic officials saw the Empire as a dying beast that would slowly kill itself over time. The New Republic Military began introducing their own designs and began standardizing their forces. The Empire, meanwhile, had been waging a successful campaign against the warlords under the command of Bacharan Valak. In 8 ABY, Valak was coroneted Emperor and the Empire was, after four years, finally reunified. After a failed campaign against the Caspian Democratic Union, Valak set his sights on reclaiming the galaxy for the reunified Empire.
The Great Campaign
The Great Campaign began at Gastus IV. The Imperial Military assaulted the world and Valak personally presented his new toy, the Death Star III. Having been under construction for the past two years, the Death Star III was the pinnacle of Imperial engineering. It destroyed Gastus IV and wiped out its population with its powerful superlaser. Not long after, it would move on and destroy Sluis Van and the [shipyards around Mon Calamari as the planet itself fell to Imperial occupation.
World after world fell to a rapid Imperial advance; the Republic was speechless. They had assumed the Empire was no longer a threat, and wrongfully so. Mixed with the introduction of a third Death Star, Republic defenses were no match for the Empire. With the Navy under the command of Grand Admiral Morlok Adlerson, the Empire cut a path all the way to Coruscant itself, liberating the planet in the name of Valak. The Republic was forced to retreat and establish their capital on nearby Chandrila and hope for the best.
As the Republic began planning a means to destroy the Death Star, Kashyyyk left the Republic in the wake of the Second Battle of Kashyyyk, and Corellia threatened to leave after the Second Battle of Corellia. For all intents and purposes, the Republic as a government ceased to function and was forced to resort to tactics similar to those executed during the days of the Rebellion. The Empire was riding high and established the Galactic Confederation, welcoming the Caspians, Griffons Alliance, and the Corporate Sector Authority to join in a new galactic government. However, many saw this as a means for the Empire to control the entire galaxy; with the threat of the Death Star looming over, the other member states of the Confederation were helpless to oppose the Empire.
Talon Karrde was hired to track down the Death Star on behalf of the Republic. Combined with an assault on Todell that saw the technical readout of the station fall into Republic hands, the Republic was able to develop a plan to destroy the Death Star and weaken the Empire's grip on the galaxy. Crix Madine put together an elite commando unit, the Ghosts of Alderaan, and trained them extensively for the upcoming operation. Their mission: to infiltrate the third Death Star, which had been discovered to be hiding in the Sluis system, and sabotage the internal shield generators to pave the way for an all-out assault.
The Ghosts succeeded in their mission but not without loss; only two of the commandos survived to return to the Republic. Meanwhile, the Third Battle of Sluis Van was raging. Having converted a massive portion of their Fleet into ramships loaded with explosives, the Republic rammed the Death Star with ship after ship. A chain reaction started and the entire station was destroyed in the fireball. The Empire was taken aback by this loss, and Valak's hold on the throne loosened enough for the Imperial Civil War to ravage the Empire's holdings.
With the Empire once again delving back into chaos, the Republic struck back. A failed attempt at liberating Coruscant went to the wayside, but the Republic was nevertheless regaining ground and support. Valak himself was arrested by the Jedi but soon escaped, but never again returned to the Empire; it had been taken a hold by Lorn Rhys and Vassily Korolov, and the War of the Throne erupted in full swing. The throne changed hands yet again, going to Darth Pain to Darth Malus. This civil war would end with the introduction of Darth Malign, Warlord of the Empire.
Malign was operating under the authority of the shadowy Aleister Vadim, an enigmatic and mysterious figure from the Outer Rim. Powerful beyond all comparison, Vadim and Malign reeled in the remains of the Empire and established a fortified front against the Republic, which had finally liberated Coruscant during the War of the Throne.
Malign appointed Danik Kreldin to Grand Admiral and gave him complete control over the Imperial Military. Kreldin proceeded to execute his grand plan for reclaiming the galaxy, which would become known as the Imperial Blitzkrieg. Starting with the engineering viral outbreak, the Dacan Pandemic, the Imperial forces, led personally by Kreldin, began to recapture world after world in a vicious blitzkrieg. The Imperial advance was so threatening that it forced the Caspians into briefly accepting Imperial authority under Elana Tracer.
The secret to the Imperial success laid within two boundaries: one, Kreldin was an able strategist and tactician, and was successful in maintaining a high level of morale within his ranks, and two, the Republic was lacking sufficient numbers of warships as a result of the Fleet's sacrifice to destroy the Third Death Star and the Empire's control over the Republic's shipyards. These two combined presented an unprecedented threat to the Republic, and before long Coruscant itself was completely cut-off from the outside galaxy: the Empire had achieved the unthinkable and had reclaimed nearly seventy percent of the known galaxy.
Coruscant became devastated: supplies and resources trickled slowly, Republic efforts to relieve the besieged capital hampered by the Imperial blockade. Through this all, Darth Venger, the Sith Lord also known as Vassily Korolov and the Grand Vizier of the Empire, infiltrated the Republic Senate on Coruscant under the guise of Viktor Faust. Elected as Senator of Coruscant, Viktor enacted several reforms that would see hamper the Republic's efforts on the world. He called for the Coruscant Guard troop levels to be increased, and was approved. However, he secretly brought in these new Guards from the Empire… disguised Imperial Stormtroopers, ready to overthrow the Republic at Korolov's orders.
Within months, the battle begun. Venger destroyed the Senate and engaged Luke Skywalker in a duel, while the Imperial Fleet, led by Kreldin, descended upon the planet. Republic losses were heavy, and the survivors fled to Mon Calamari. The Imperial flag was hoisted above the Imperial Palace and the planet was once again renamed to Imperial Center.
The Republic established its new capital on Ord Mantell with the completion of the Nyarikan Safeway. The Empire clamped down on its new territory as Aleister Vadim declared himself Emperor. Task Force Inquisitor was created to hunt down the remnants of the Republic and the Jedi.
Politics of the Civil War
Many different species and planets supported the Rebel Alliance's bid to overthrow the Emperor, including the Mon Calamari and Bail Organa's own home planet of Alderaan. Although early on the Rebels used positions in the Imperial Senate to gain influence and took advantage of the diplomatic immunity provided, the Senate was abolished in 0 BBY and many Rebel Senators were discovered. Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebel Alliance, barely escaped capture by the Imperial Security Bureau, the Empire's ruthless secret police force.
Unfortunately, planets could only rarely support the Rebellion openly, aside from small (usually uninhabited except by secret rebel bases) planets outside the usual scope of the Empire. Goods had to be produced secretly, either in factories built away from their usual areas or through bureaucratic trickery, although piracy was a common means of funding the Rebellion. Not until around the time of Endor and afterwards, when the Rebellion possessed enough support to challenge the Imperial Navy conventionally, could planets openly declare without fear of orbital razing or a firm put down by ruthless Stormtroopers.
The Empire continued to erode freedoms during this period, using the conflict as an excuse. Under Tarkin's suggestion, the Emperor mandated the Tarkin Doctrine, which stated that the Empire would use fear of force rather than force itself to control dissent. This culminated in the construction of the first Death Star. Its use at Alderaan was to be one of its only uses; its purpose was to demonstrate Imperial power, not to eliminate countless worlds. The Emperor also began to come under the influence of what became known as his Inner Circle. These men, including the devious Sate Pestage, eventually took control of the day-to-day operations of the Empire. Although evil enough in his own right, Palpatine allowed his bureaucracy to grow exceedingly large and corrupt under the influence of these men.
"You refer to us as 'alien,' and the Princess calls us 'nonhuman.' Why are we defined by you and in comparison to you?"
— Borsk Fey'lya, 7 ABY
Prejudice towards Alien species was common under the Human-dominated Galactic Empire. The Inner Council practiced Human High Culture, which denied nonhumans entry into formal Imperial organizations like the government or the military. They were also often the target of exclusionary policies, perhaps as a result of the stigma surrounding the alien-based Confederacy of Independent Systems. Several pro-Human organizations like Commission for the Protection of the Republic and the Republic Youth Brigade had also originated on Coruscant and other Human worlds during the Clone Wars.
Other species were enslaved because of their strength or their talents. Examples of these enslaved species include the Mon Calamari, who were enslaved for their prowess in shipbuilding skills, and the Wookiees of Kashyyyk, who were enslaved for their strength and were used as laborers for various Imperial projects including the Death Star and the Maw Installation. In some cases, sentient aliens had been virtually exterminated by the Empire (infamously, the Empire occasionally used an ecological act permitting the eradication of dangerous species to justify military operations against sentient species).
The discrimination against nonhumans encouraged many species to join the Rebel Alliance. Many of the Rebel's strongest supporters were of the alien species who were enslaved by the Empire including the Mon Calamari, the Wookiees and the Sullustans. Two of the Rebel Alliance's greatest heroes — Admiral Ackbar and Chewbacca — had escaped from Imperial slavery. However, the early Rebel Alliance was mostly made up of Humans, and the commanders that led the Rebels into battles against the Empire were almost always Human.
As the Rebel Alliance grew into the New Republic, more and more species became its allies. There was, however, tensions arising between the Human and alien members of the New Republic. Non-Humans were disappointed at how many of the New Republic's top government positions were given to Humans, notably Mon Mothma and Leia Organa Solo. Many began to suspect that the New Republic was practicing its own form of 'Human High Culture' while many more remembered the prejudice practiced by the Empire.
See Timeline of the Galactic Civil War for complete list of pre-Endor battles.
- Battle of Yavin
- Battle of Hoth
- Battle of Endor
Birth of the New Republic
- Battle of Coruscant
- Second Battle of Coruscant
- Second Battle of Kessel
- Battle of Sluis Van
- Battle of Galenx II
- Battle of Etti IV
- Third Battle of Sullust
Campaign Against the Griffon Alliance
Caspian Annexation Campaign
- Battle of the Inner Caspian Worlds
- Battle of Ketterslea
- Siege of Trinumvira
- Battle of the Belt
- Fourth Battle of Tatooine
- Second Battle of Bespin
- Battle of Gastus IV
- Third Battle of Pride-1
- Battle of Mon Calamari
- Second Battle of Sluis Van
- Third Battle of Coruscant
Fortifying the Empire
Emperor Osbourne's Campaigns
- Mission to Oro IV
- Battle of Charad
- Battle of Kappa
- Third Battle of Kessel
- Ambushing the Crusader
- Fourth Battle of Coruscant
- Battle of Bothawui
- Second Battle of Chandrila
- Fourth Battle of Corellia
- Second Battle of Mon Calamari
- Fourth Battle of Sullust
Death of the Griffons Alliance
Bold are turning points or major battles.