The Star Wars prequel trilogy revealed how Palpatine manipulated his way into creating the Galactic Empire, but one Star Wars companion book emphasizes the way he undermined the Jedi before the Clone Wars had even begun. Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy shows a WWII-style poster that would have been seen in the Galactic Republic around the time leading up to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The poster highlights the Jedi’s role as the galaxy’s only defense against evil, encouraging the Republic to vote in favor of creating a separate military force.
The Military Creation Act was a driving force in the polarizing crisis that was already gripping the Galactic Republic. Senator Padmé Amidala almost ruined Palpatine’s plan by publicly opposing the Military Creation Act for over a year in an attempt to calm the threat of war, until threats on her life forced her to pause her efforts. The move to create a military emphasized the threat that the Separatists posed to the Republic and stoked the fear of oncoming war. What no one beyond Palpatine knew, however, was that the creation of a military was unnecessary given the secret production of the clone troopers.
Palpatine’s Real Reason For The Military Creation Act Undermined The Jedi
Though Palpatine was aware of the clone army’s creation, he still pushed for the creation of the military. By the time of the Star Wars prequels, the Jedi had not been the Republic’s soldiers for over a thousand years, acting instead as peacekeepers and only engaging in combative political matters when there were no alternatives. By pushing the Military Creation Act, Palpatine was enforcing the idea that the Jedi were unreliable keepers of the peace. This cast doubt on the Jedi’s ability to protect the galaxy. It also kept the Jedi’s attention from focusing on uncovering the identity of the mysterious Darth Sidious.
The Military Creation Act ultimately served to merge Palpatine’s secret identity as a Sith Lord with his power as the Republic’s chancellor. The creation of the military and Palpatine’s role as its commander-in-chief allowed him to decree all Jedi as enemies of the state. With the inhibitor chips implanted in his clone soldiers to force them to turn on the Jedi and other Force-sensitives during Order 66, Palpatine had every advantage over the Jedi from the beginning.
Palpatine Continued Undermining The Jedi Throughout The Clone Wars
After the Clone Wars began, the Jedi were put in the awkward position of becoming soldiers in addition to peacekeepers. Palpatine placed a strain on the Jedi Council throughout the Clone Wars by exploiting the Republic’s waning trust in them, but also by clouding their connection to the Force with the fear and anguish created by the war. The looming threat of the Sith Lord who was not only in their midst, but in a position of power, escaped the Jedi’s notice because they couldn’t identify his disruptions in the Force among all the other disturbances. The Jedi’s clouded connection to the Force kept them from appropriately addressing the danger.
Most notably, Palpatine forged his most powerful weapon right under the Jedi’s noses through his continued manipulation of Anakin Skywalker throughout the Clone Wars. By sabotaging the Jedi both before and during the Clone Wars, he was able to shape Anakin into his new apprentice, Darth Vader, who played a vital role in the outcome of the Clone Wars and the fate of the Jedi Order. The chess-like strategies wielded by Palpatine throughout the Clone Wars would ultimately give birth to the Galactic Empire, which would shape the galaxy in which the original Star Wars trilogy takes place.