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I haven't read the book. From the movie, it seemed like his downfall was swift. Was his military inferior? How is that possible with all the peacekeepers we see. There are a lot of them and they are better equipped. How did Snow lose the battle in the air? Was the integrity of the Capitol completely dependent on the resources from the districts? Was that the cause?

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At the start of the books, the Snow regime has pretty much absolute control. However, as revealed in the last book, there exists a free District 13, which according to propaganda was completely destroyed after the First rebellion 75 years ago (the one that lead to the founding of the Hunger Games).

However, District 13 was never destroyed. This district had a lot of the nuclear research and so they had access to nuclear weapons after rebelling. This enabled them to make a non-aggression pact with the regime, since neither side could risk a nuclear war. And ever since they made this pact, they have been focusing on building up a military, most notably a strong air force.

Katniss' defiance in the first and second books starts an open rebellion in all districts, meaning all-out civil war. Broadcasted rebel propaganda in the third book fuels this further. As we can see from numerous civil wars in the real world, it isn't easy for a dictator to wage a civil war against their own population.

The scale of the rebellion itself is what wins the war. It simply grew too large to contain.

After the first book, only District 11 rebelled and this rebellion was crushed. It's not until Katniss blows up the Hunger Games arena itself in the second book that the full-scaled rebellion breaks out everywhere.

District 11 was the major food supplier district. The capital was far from self-sufficient, so losing access to various resources in the different districts must have been a blow. We don't know at what extent though, since details are scarce about what goes on in the other districts.

District 13 also tries to coordinate the various rebelling groups and evacuate them to join the larger war effort. The exact location of District's 13 base wasn't known by the government, so they fail to bomb it, as was done to District 12. And then their air superiority didn't mean as much. In the end, any war must be won on the ground.

Eventually the rebels manage to tilt the war in their favour by gaining control of District 2 which held most of the government military command, basically taking over the main military staging area. After that, the war quickly tilts in favour of the rebels and they push towards the capital.

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Propaganda. The rebels bombed and slaughtered Capitol children as they were being sent to take refuge on Snow's estate, and made it appear that Snow had ordered the massacre himself. Even the military turned against him at that point.

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  • I think the OP is referring to how the war eventually turned against Snow. With all the military might the Capitol had, how did they lose control of the districts to the rebels who at best had a few guns and and old D13 bunker that Snow eventually bombed. Nov 18, 2020 at 21:01
  • Id say this his answer still holds true. Most of the districts all rose up and fought back against the capital with the most notable exception being district 2 where they get the peacekeepers from. Which was why it was so hard to take in the book.
    – GamerGypps
    Nov 19, 2020 at 14:54
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    This isn't why Snow lost the war, using civilians as human shields was just his last desperate attempt to protect himself and the palace. The war was already lost at that point.
    – Amarth
    Feb 26, 2021 at 19:07
  • Propaganda was definitely why, it's one of the main themes of the books. And until the rebels killed Capitol children, including Prim, and made it seem like Snow ordered it, the war was still at best a toss-up. It was that act that turned both sides against him. That's the only "swift" part. But otherwise yes, District 13 had nuclear and air capabilities that rivaled the Capitol, and the Districts were mostly starving and in open rebellion and had taken local control. As Snow and Katniss had agreed, the Capitol's grip on Panem was always fragile.
    – Yar
    Feb 27, 2021 at 23:33
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The Capitol is completely dependent on districts for survival. The winning point for the rebels came when they destroyed the Nut (Capitol's military headquarters) in District 2, which was literally the winning move of the war.

At that point, the Capitol's war effort was doomed; there was no chance of a Capitol victory by then. The bombing of the Nut destroyed the Capitol's air force, logistical capabilities, and killed large numbers of Peacekeepers and loyalist soldiers. The Capitol had no more military might after this, other than a few infantry soldiers who were outnumbered and outgunned by the rebels in the 13 districts.

Remember, the rebels were backed by the politically independent District 13, which had its own arsenal of guns, ammunition, special weaponry, planes, and its own army/air force. With the support of District 13, the rebels would easily outgun the Capitol and loyalists.

In the film (Mockingjay Part 2), after the bombing of the Nut, Snow admits during a banquet scene with his staff that the war was lost, and that they had no more hope of winning.

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