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From Chapter Twenty of the novel Star Wars Republic Commando: True Colors:

In the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander (Chancellor), GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the GAR will revert to the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) until a new command structure is established.

After execution of Order 66, Palpatine might had explanations how Jedi were acting against the interests of the Republic. But, how did he explain the Empire which wasn't a new command structure but a fully different non-republican system? By announcing about his new Empire, he did act against the interests of the Republic himself. Why did GAR accept it?

Despite Palpatine was commander of GAR (which was also as per laws of The Galactic Republic), clones weren't logic-less robots just to follow orders. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, clone troopers once ignored laws just to capture a dark Jedi.

Why didn't GAR overthrow Palpatine after knowing the Republic was at risk?

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Why was this downvoted? –  DVK Jan 28 at 21:26
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Dunno. Possibly because of the mix of film canon, TV canon and EU book sources. –  Richard Jan 28 at 21:41
    
@Richard - weird. The sources canon were clearly spelled out. –  DVK Jan 29 at 1:26
    
I'm with DVK. I have a background in international politics, so I find this kind of difficult to answer in-universe (my brain wants me to write an essay on the topic) but I thought it was actually a very good question. –  James Sheridan Jan 29 at 9:52
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@Izkata - Tolkien had no control over Jackson movies. Here it's the opposite: T-canon is 100% under Lucas control, while EU C canon is under supervision of Lucas Empire, they have to vet what they write with The High Inquisitor (errr... Leland Chee); especially major stuff like Directive 65. –  DVK Mar 8 at 17:33

6 Answers 6

Lama Su (in Attack of the Clones) makes it clear that the Clones are designed and bred to act on their orders with little recourse to the morality of their actions and certainly without considering the wider geopolitical ramifications.

LAMA SU: You'll find they are totally obedient, taking any order without question. We modified their genetic structure to make them less independent than the original host.

Although the Clone Wars cartoon plays with this a little (in order to humanise the clones for a show that is largely aimed at a younger audience), in the film canon they never display anything other than utter blind obedience, even when that order involves killing jedi children or even their own commanders, as per Order 66; the great Jedi Purge.

Jedi Purge

Clone Troopers

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Don't forget that Palpatine doesn't dissolve the Senate until ANH. Also, the clones are programmed to obey him personally. If he tells them that the Republic can only be saved by him taking more control and renaming it, why would they disbelieve him? –  Richard Jan 28 at 21:03
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It was a coup d'état - he took over the whole government, and most people who worked in the government were unaffected - their superiors remained the same, so they had no reason to change –  SSumner Jan 28 at 21:06
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Galactic politics is so damn complex that even the good guys don't know which side they're on. What chance could a bunch of genetically stunted clone squaddies possibly have to work out the nuances of political intrigue? –  Richard Jan 28 at 21:11
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Individual soldiers rarely rebel against their leaders. It's almost always commanders and generals who stage coups and the Clones have just killed all their generals. –  Richard Jan 28 at 22:14
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As @SSumner says, most people in the Republic/Empire were unaffected by the change. Those that were, weren't affected until some time after, and the changes were gradual. It's not like the clones were chatting with the Jedi on Tuesday and Palpatine was hovering over Endor in his brand new space station, steepling his fingers and cackling evilly on Friday. –  Brian S Jan 28 at 22:49
  1. Republic was widely held in disdain. Many people weren't too sad when it went - Palpatine promised Law and Order after years of bloody war. People have agreed to dictatorships for lesser reasons than being tired of galaxy wide civil war.

  2. Most people don't care much for distant central government. They get taxed either way. They have to deal with corrupt local government either way. They want to work, raise family, and watch their entertainment. Like, who cares if we have Chancellor Palpatine or Emperor Palpatine?

    Note that ever many Senarors didn't put up any fuss. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa had to dig deep to find anyone willing to oppose Palpatine.

  3. As noted in many comments, GAR clone troopers was composed of clones very explicitly bred for obedience. They aren't programmed to question whether their chain of command is legitimate or not based on government reorganizations.

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1. is very similar to what happened to Rome when it changed from a Republic into an Empire. The general public welcomed the change, as they've seen it as becoming stronger and more efficient. –  vsz Mar 8 at 22:31
    
@vsz true. Or Russia once Putin took over –  DVK Mar 8 at 23:04
    
Putin might not be a good example, as he is not elected for life, and the official form of the government did not change. Maybe he's more charismatic than his predecessors, but it's still not a transition from a republic to an empire. (but if you're just meaning why the people can accept a leader which has more power than the previous one, it might fit) –  vsz Mar 9 at 9:56
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@vsz - it changed from weak presidential republic to extremely strong centralized one. Google "Vertical of power" - the actual effective form of government changed significantly. As far as "for life", he's doing a good enough imitation to fool me so far. –  DVK Mar 9 at 12:19

tl;dr: The clone troopers did not overthrow Palpatine because they did not think he was acting against the interests of the Republic and they were not given orders to do so.


There are two meaning of the word "republic". For clarity, I'm going to use capital-R Republic to refer to the alliance of thousands of planets in the galaxy, and lower-case-r republic to refer to the system of government.

The clone troopers were loyal to the Republic, but not the republican form of government. When the name and form of government changed, it was still the same alliance of planets, and the clone troopers remained loyal to it. If the clone troopers did have an opinion on the change, I would guess that they would be in favor of it, as many others in the galaxy were (liberty dies with thunderous applause). The GAR system of operation was authoritarian, as all militaries are, and it would have seemed perfectly natural to them for civilian government to be the same, as that was all they had known.

Even if the clones did feel that Palpatine was acting against the interests of the Republic, they would probably not have removed him from office. They removed the Jedi only because they were ordered to by the Supreme Chancellor. If the Jedi had acted against the interests of the Republic, but Palpatine had not ordered their removal, they would not have been killed. Removal of the Chancellor would have required similar orders. Order 65, also given in True Colors, states:

In the event of either (i) a majority in the Senate declaring the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) to be unfit to issue orders, or (ii) the Security Council declaring him to be unfit to issue orders, and an authenticated order being received by the GAR, commanders shall be authorized to detain the Supreme Commander, with lethal force if necessary, and command of the GAR shall fall to the acting Chancellor until a successor is appointed or alternative authority identified as outlined in Section 6 (iv).

By this wording, the clones have no decision to make involving the Supreme Chancellor. He is to be removed if and only if the Senate or the Security Council gave the order. Obviously, no such order was given.

A final note on the phrase "new command structure". This is referring to the military chain of command, not the civilian government. Many of the Jedi served as generals or other commanders in the GAR, and they would need to be replaced. Whether the government is a republic or empire has nothing to do with it.

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Nice one, but any citation for distinction between capital-R Republic and the system? –  Sachin Shekhar Jan 29 at 7:57
    
@SachinShekhar No, just logical conjecture. I suppose it's possible "Republic" was intended to mean both the alliance and its form of government, but that seems doubtful to me. The clones were created to defend their nation from outside threats, not get involved with internal governmental affairs. Besides, Palpatine almost certainly had indirect influence on the writing of Order 66, and he would not have wanted the clones loyal the the republic form of government. –  Tomari7 Jan 29 at 8:23
    
Another reason that I think Order 66 means Republic only is the utter lack of discussion of the republic system among the clone troopers. They speak quite frequently of defending the Republic, but I cannot think of a single instance where they discuss defending republicanism, or its associated ideals. My conclusion is that they have been taught what they are fighting for only on the most superficial of levels. –  Tomari7 Jan 31 at 9:38

Palpatine's take-over is often referred to as a coup d'etat, but it actually wasn't an illegal act. Palpatine was the legally-constituted head-of-state of the Galactic Republic, and his self-coup - I forget the French term - was simply a consolidation of pre-existing powers under the Republican constitution. He also had the support of the majority of the Senate.

As you can see from this link, Palpatine actually possessed dictatorial powers prior to proclaiming himself Emperor; he was granted various emergency powers during the Clone Wars. There was no reason, from either a legal or a moral standpoint for the GAR to turn on Palpatine at this point. Ethically there may have been, but most high-ranking GAR officers were in favour of a more hierarchical structure of government, as illustrated by Captain Voss Parck in the short-story Mist Encounter, where he expresses approval for Palpatine's coup. As such, Fleet officers like Parck, Commander Pellaeon or others are very unlikely to have possessed any qualms about working for the new Empire.

As for the stormtroopers, as others have already stated, they were bred for obedience. George Lucas has made no secret - nor done a very subtle job - of the allegories between Palpatine and Hitler. Much as the German Army was personally loyal to Hitler, actually swearing an oath to him, personally, rather than in his capacity as head-of-state, the GAR was personally loyal to Palpatine. The only difference was that where the Wehrmacht was loyal by choice and conditioning, the Stormtrooper corps was actually genetically-programmed to be loyal to Palpatine.

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Also remember that it was said in "The Attack of the Clones" that Sidious was in control of the senate, and those force users could manipulate weak minded peoples' feelings. It's clear the stronger willed people didn't support him (like Organa) but also knew they were outmaneuvered. All he needed was the majority not to stand up to him, and I am guessing they are also showing how people like to conform (see the Ash conformity experiments). If he was so powerful he would be able to manipulate the thoughts of many and not to be outcasts the others went along until he was powerful enough to dissolve the senate as he did later.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

According to recently launched Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Lost Missions (Unfinished Season 6), there was an inhibitor chip embedded inside clones' brains which was capable of making the clones follow orders of Palpatine & Count Dooku. The inhibitor chip belonged to Count Dooku and Lama Su agreed for this implant under a secret Protocol 66 which was a fail-safe against rogue Jedi.

This one kept GAR from overthrowing Palpatine.

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