I’ll start off this one by saying I probably won’t sound as academicky in this post, since I’m just going to outline my latest crackpot theory.
So I was watching Empire the other night, and I realized: the empire doesn’t lose the war because Luke Skywalker is awesome, it loses because Darth Vader is an awful tactician. When he invades Hoth, for instance, he sends a bunch of walking machines trekking across a huge flat expanse. Has anyone ever introduced him to the wheel? The fact that ATATs have legs means they can be taken down with nothing more than a skiff and a cable. If the rebels had set up a few tripwires, they would’ve had all the time in the world to evacuate. And then there’s the Death Star. This thing couldn’t have been cheap to build; it probably represents more resources than the entire rebel fleet combined. And when the rebels send their entire fleet at it in Return of the Jedi, it only blows up a few ships before the rebels exploit its pretty glaring flaws. Vader’s too caught up in chasing after his son and force choking anybody who disagrees with his plan to actually form coherent military strategies.
All of which, incidentally, makes Star Wars an even better WWII allegory. Hitler was a fantastic politician, as I’m sure Palpatine and Vader were, but he was an awful military commander. Anyone who decides it’s a good idea to invade Russia with ground troops probably shouldn’t be in charge of any troops in the first place. The most famous blunder a man can make, after all, is getting involved in a land war in Asia.