War. It’s one of those aspects of human nature that no one wants, however, we can’t seem to avoid taking part in its dark journey. So why then does it exist? For the Galactic Empire, under the rule of its emperor Darth Sidious, they used propaganda to preserve peace and order in the galaxy; peace through fear and oppression that tread over the citizens. The problem with maintaining control over an entire galactic population is that over time the people begin to get tired–tired of having their freedom taken away, of living in fear, of having their voice silenced. Eventually, the people will rebel, despite knowing their means and/or methods will probably be outgunned and out-manned, the need to live a free life unafraid to speak their minds makes it worth the fight.
When the Rebel Alliance discovered the construction of a new Death Star orbiting the forest moon of Endor, they felt it would make strategic sense to recruit the native Ewok species to help fight the Empire. The Rebel Alliance knew that the forest moon would prove a difficult terrain to traverse and combat the Emperor’s forces, and the Ewok’s knowledge and familiarity would prove invaluable in the Rebellion’s struggle to deactivate the shield generator protecting the Empire’s battle station.
Believing his Empire’s technologically advanced military to be superior to the native Ewok’s seemingly primitive, savage ways, Sidious’s arrogance and overconfidence in his “entire legion of his best troops” would eventually lead to the Empire’s defeat at Endor and of course his death at the hands of Anakin Skywalker. Never once did he ever stop to consider that the Ewok civilization could be a threat to his mighty Empire.
History provides some unique parallels; during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military was prepared to fight a traditional type of war, as in WWII and Korea. They were not expecting to fight a ghost army that was the North Vietnamese. The U.S. infantry used heavy artillery to soften up the opposition, but because the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) knew where to hide and how to use the terrain to their advantage, they were able to survive the attack and counterattack.
When the rebellion finally persuaded the Ewok’s to aid them in battle, the Ewok’s quickly began setting traps throughout the forest. Anything from tieing rope from one tree trunk to another in hopes of tripping up imperial biker scouts riding speeder bikes, using cut logs to trip up AT-ST walkers or to smash the walker’s cockpit, even to lure stormtroopers into traps on foot. All of these are the equivalent to the NVA planting mines, digging underground tunnels, marching through the thick forest of the Ho Chi Mihn trail, where the jungle treetops were so thick it made it nearly impossible for U.S. aircraft to pinpoint any targets.
Perhaps knowledge of their homeland wasn’t the Ewok’s only tool, but also fighting for their freedom and independence much like the Vietnamese people. Before the Vietnam War became what it was, it began as a conflict between France and its colony of Vietnam in the 19th century. During their occupation, the French treated the Vietnamese like second-class citizens and took away much of their freedom. What followed was deep-seeded feelings of hatred and resentment towards the French, which then lead to military conflicts between the two nations. This conflict put the U.S. in the middle as they were allies of the French, but also sympathized with the Vietnamese people, for the U.S. itself was a colony fighting for its independence from England over 150 years prior. When fighting for something bigger than yourself, it can be more powerful than any weapon.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Dir. Richard Marquand. Perf. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. 1983. Film.
Vietnam War. Dirs. Ken Burns and Lynn Novack. Perf. Peter Coyote. 2017. Film.Powered by Sidelines