Empire DaySeason 1, Episode 6
Ezra struggles with unanswered questions from the past on Empire Day -- his birthday -- while the Ghost crew uncovers key Imperial intel.
Star Wars Rebels: “Empire Day” Preview
During Empire Day, the Imperials commemorate the formation of the Galactic Empire. Part of the festivities includes a military parade of stormtroopers, Imperial officers, TIE fighters, and other Imperial armaments and armored vehicles. The Empire uses these military parades to boost morale through their show of strength and power. The Imperials are reminding their citizens that they should feel proud of the military might their Empire possesses. Of course, there is also a subtle reminder that such power can also be used against the citizens at any time should they decide to challenge the tyranny of the Empire.
Military parades have been a common part of our history. Marching in formation has its origins in the way wars were fought from time immemorial through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. To maximize their effectiveness in combat, soldiers were required to stand and move in close formation. Remaining in formation during battle required strict discipline and, if an army could keep formation, they would maintain a significant advantage in battle. Marching also proved necessary when moving troops from battlefield to battlefield. Timing and speed were always essential in gaining the advantage over one’s enemy. The first army to the battlefield usually gained the upper hand.
Since the late nineteenth century, marching or parades have become more ceremonial than tactical. Due to the powerful weapons like machine guns and heavy artillery used in war today, close formation is often counterproductive. One well-placed mortar or artillery round and a whole platoon can be wiped out if they are too close together. Still, modern militaries continue to use marching and drill to instill discipline in their soldiers during training.
Today, military parades serve as a way of supporting our troops and as a propaganda tool. Just like the Galactic Empire, modern militaries want to remind their citizens that they are safe. Seeing the tanks, Humvees, and troops going by instills in people a sense of pride and security. Of course, there is always the added benefit of potential enemies seeing the same show of power and thinking twice before striking.
In contemporary history, military parades are synonymous with the Fascist nations of World War II and the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. There are countless pictures and videos from these eras that were used as propaganda tools to rally those who supported them and to strike fear into enemies who dared to challenge them.
Empire Day and the celebrations that come with it are an attempt by the Empire to build a sense of nationalism amongst their citizens. Nationalism is a strong sense of pride or attachment to one’s nation. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with loving one’s nation, nationalism can grow to be dangerous. In the Empire, propaganda posters and videos are used to inform citizens of all the great things their Empire is doing across the galaxy. Over time, people can begin to believe that their country is the best of all the nations and make effort to force their way of life onto others.
Prior to World War I, there was a surge of nationalism across the European nations. In many ways nationalism caused the Great War, but it is undeniable that a strong sense of pride encouraged millions of young men to join the war and fight for their respective countries. Each nation believed they were the best and would win a decisive victory over their enemies in a matter of months. Well matched armies and modern weapons quickly proved that nationalism and high morale did little to win battles.
Most similar to the Galactic Empire, Adolf Hitler’s use of propaganda and military parades quickly restored pride to a defeated and downtrodden German populous. Within a few short years he had convinced the Germans that they were the rightful rulers of the world and it became their mission to spread German or Aryan influence no matter the cost.
Nationalism can also prove to be a good thing. For example, Americans unified in a vast showing of pride following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Americans came together to support the war effort by enlisting in the US military, working in the war industries and by sacrificing many material goods for rationing programs. The sense of remorse and anger unified the nation, enabling the US government to strike back at its enemies. Japan was ultimately defeated due, in part, to the support of Americans. Of course the unity slowly faded, but Pearl Harbor serves as a reminder of how nations can rise up when they come together behind a common purpose.
Considered one of the Empire’s greatest pilots, Baron Valen Rudor is assigned to Lothal where Sienar Fleet Systems operates military factories used in the production of advanced technology such as the Imperial TIE fighters. When not flying patrols, Rudor carries out regular inspections and test flights of the latest weapons platforms that Sienar has to offer. Because of his fame and notoriety throughout the Empire, Rudor is often used by the Imperials for propaganda purposes, as well.
Originally a cavalry officer, Baron Manfred von Richthofen grew bored with the fighting on the Western Front of World War I and began looking to the skies. It may be surprising to learn that the "Red Baron," as he became known, had to take flying lessons just like any other pilot. However, his natural ability and ambition drove him to become the top ace of World War I (80 kills). A legend in his own time, Richthofen remains to this day the quintessential fighter pilot.
First posted on: December 06, 2014