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Han Solo is not the only one who does not believe the Force is real, or that the Jedi never existed in history. However, why do such beliefs appear to be so widespread?

My question has two interlinked parts:

  1. Have there always been non-believers in the existence of the Force and its wielders?
  2. How/why is Palpatine so successful in suppressing galactic history of the Jedi, effectively converting them from a publicly well-known galactic institution to mythical superstition?

If you think about it, a common human who experienced the Clone Wars in his 10s or 20s would only be in his 30-40s by the time of the original trilogy, and 50-70s by Ep VII. The Jedi of the Galactic Republic would still be in living memory, not to mention so many long-lived species who have personally known individual Jedi for centuries before Palpatine was even born.

These people who know the Jedi are no myth pose a major problem to Palpatine’s campaign to rewrite history. So how is Palpatine so successful? Persuading the public to hate the Jedi helps make purging them popular, but doesn’t do much on its own towards stopping people from talking about them to their kids as though they actually existed in the past.

Palpatine can’t shut everyone up for sure, but the Jedi has also existed too recently in history for the notion of people believing they were never real to start overnight. Is it possible that there were such beliefs already in existence?

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    Han believed the Jedi existed. He just didn't believe they had any supernatural powers.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 0:42
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    And in the trailer for the new movie Solo tell's some of the unbelieving next generation all the stories are true. Seems like a commentary on 'those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it'.
    – user22484
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 1:30

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