Star Wars: Emperor Palpatine as Hitler - Three Disturbing Parallels

You can make a similar argument about the rise to power of many authoritarian regimes. Stalin occupied a bureaucratic office and was not rated by the initial leaders of the revolution. Stalin used his bureaucratic power to place his loyal followers into key positions. He is alleged to have staged the assassination of Kirov which like the Reichstag fire the matter isn't settled and is unlikely to ever be so. This murder was the excuse for purging anyone capable of opposing Stalin. Stalin increasing use of Russian nationalism and imposing Russian governors on non ethnic Russian people, later we have wholesale transportation of non Russians to Siberia and finally post war we get to the doctors plot and state sanctioned anti semitism.

During this, time he ordered one branch of his military (the SS) to wipe out much of the leadership of another branch of his military (the SA), along with a number of political adversaries and personal enemies.

The comma needs to be one word over at the beginning.

OT: Interesting article. Not a novel idea, but explained well.

I never understood the racist thing, it seems very tacted on for the sake of being evil. I mean it seems in the prequels that some of his most power supporters were Alien.

Also are the "humans" in star wars even the same race? It isn't really mentioned.

Hm...I never put together the second apart, about how all the Seps in the prequel trilogy were non-humans, and thus that would probably help push the pro-human mindset. I give you major bonus points for that one, because I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and I've heard this discussion many times.

Off Topic a bit: Does anyone else HATE how Order 66 went down? Because I do. I get it. I know the Jedi had to lose, and I know that numbers can overwhelm, but damn. Out of all these Jedi warriors, only Ki-Adi is able to fight back, and he only manages to take out two Clones.
This should have been a blood bath. Okay, Plo in the fighter and not-Adi on the speeder, they were toast. But the others? Especially the ones at the Temple? There should have been bodies of Clone Troopers, especially in the doorway and leading up to the steps. The Jedi were supposed to be these great warriors, able to sense danger coming. After all, they can block laser bolts. Anakin's good, but he can't be everywhere. The Clones should have been climbing over the bodies of their fallen comrades if the skill on that little kid was any indication. Instead, there are more dead Jedi than Clones, which has always bothered me.

Wait what? People have been saying that the Emperor was Hitler for decades, And that the empire were Nazis. How is this a surprise to anyone?

Sniper Team 4:
Hm...I never put together the second apart, about how all the Seps in the prequel trilogy were non-humans, and thus that would probably help push the pro-human mindset.

Seps? The quasi Italians of the Trade Federation? Otherwise, you make great points. The Jedi should not have gone down so easily.

Winnosh:
Wait what? People have been saying that the Emperor was Hitler for decades, And that the empire were Nazis. How is this a surprise to anyone?

I hadn't gotten the Order 66 part myself. Though Albino Boo makes a great point: Stalin did the same sort of thing.

wizzy555:
I never understood the racist thing, it seems very tacted on for the sake of being evil. I mean it seems in the prequels that some of his most power supporters were Alien.

Also are the "humans" in star wars even the same race? It isn't really mentioned.

Truth be told, it's largely a product of the old Expanded Universe. Many EU sources portrayed the Empire as deeply xenophobic, from enslaving aliens to committing campaigns of extermination against entire species. There was a male chauvinist streak as well in the Imperial military. It wasn't impossible for women and aliens to join, but they had to display truly exceptional skill (like Thrawn). Even then it was an uphill battle for recognition every step of the way.

In the years following Palpatine's death the Imperial Remnant would gradually abandon their xenophobic and sexist ways due to ongoing losses. Eventually the more benevolent (but still authoritarian) Fel Empire would allow full acceptance of women and aliens.

Like I said though, that's the old EU. The new EU hasn't really touched on the subject.

Sniper Team 4:

Off Topic a bit: Does anyone else HATE how Order 66 went down? Because I do. I get it. I know the Jedi had to lose, and I know that numbers can overwhelm, but damn. Out of all these Jedi warriors, only Ki-Adi is able to fight back, and he only manages to take out two Clones.
This should have been a blood bath. Okay, Plo in the fighter and not-Adi on the speeder, they were toast. But the others? Especially the ones at the Temple? There should have been bodies of Clone Troopers, especially in the doorway and leading up to the steps. The Jedi were supposed to be these great warriors, able to sense danger coming. After all, they can block laser bolts. Anakin's good, but he can't be everywhere. The Clones should have been climbing over the bodies of their fallen comrades if the skill on that little kid was any indication. Instead, there are more dead Jedi than Clones, which has always bothered me.

Something like this, perhaps?


I swear, the later seasons of the 2008 Clone Wars series almost feel like a retcon of the prequels (and that's a good thing).

Winnosh:
Wait what? People have been saying that the Emperor was Hitler for decades, And that the empire were Nazis. How is this a surprise to anyone?

I'm with you.... This article is freaking stupid. The nazis were an obvious inspiration in the creation of the empire and this has been known for DECADES! This is not news. This is someone saying the water tastes funny in a sulfer field.

Gorfias:

Sniper Team 4:
Hm...I never put together the second apart, about how all the Seps in the prequel trilogy were non-humans, and thus that would probably help push the pro-human mindset.

Seps? The quasi Italians of the Trade Federation? Otherwise, you make great points. The Jedi should not have gone down so easily.

'Seps' is shorthand (for me and my friends anyway) for 'Separatists'. Mainly because I hate typing out that word because I always spell it wrong and then have to go look it up.

Neverhoodian:
Something like this, perhaps?


I swear, the later seasons of the 2008 Clone Wars series almost feel like a retcon of the prequels (and that's a good thing).

Something exactly like that. Now to be fair, that Jedi had two twin lightsabers, but yeah. The Clones should have been being slaughtered during Order 66. It should have been the simple fact that there were just too many of them that caused them to win, not the Jedi sucking.
The Clone Wars had some serious problems in my book--one being the fact that no one can seem to hit anything most of the time--but you're right. Toward the end there, they really started pulling out the stops and the show stepped way up. That little story with Rex an the Clones was probably the best out of the whole series for me. I'm hoping that, now that Rebels is expanding from just a cell of unkillable characters to an actual rebellion, we'll get more episodes like that where the weight of combat takes it toll.

Actually, Papaltine as Hitler isn't a great analogy, it mostly works as far as it does because both men wound up becoming dictators viewed as evil by future generations, or intended to be views so through the way the story was told. The scary thing about Hitler is that he was well loved by most of the global community despite how people deny it, he was incredibly charismatic and that was what brought him to power more than assassins. Indeed one of the big things about Hitler was his ability to actually convert many of his greatest rivals and adversaries to his side. This is the root of a lot of various conspiracy theories generally referred to under the umbrella of "Hitler's Magic Box". The bottom line is that when visiting a lot of his rivals Hitler showed a lot of them something that made them give up their rivalry with him and stand at his side. Hitler not only had an occult fixation, but some of the greatest historical and archaological minds of the time working for him, which is something else that Indiana Jones relied on. After World War II a lot of Hitler's records and such were destroyed or sealed at the same time a lot of Nazi scientists were being recruited. The bottom line is that great care was taken to ensure that nobody ever found out exactly what Hitler was telling or showing a lot of these people, many of whom were being contained and/or executed on the spot. As a result it's been a matter of speculation as to what was in the metaphorical box that apparently nobody was supposed to be able to make up their own mind about. Theories are of course rife, many suggesting Hitler's people had actually managed to connect all the dots between a lot of historical oddities. You have people like those who rant on "Ancient Aliens" suggesting he proved the existence of ancient astronauts or even communicated with them. Other theories say he actually found the remnants of Atlantis and thus was able to prove his racial theories beyond a doubt. See Hitler believed that the reason why Aryans were superior was because they were the most pure blooded descendants of the people of Atlantis, Atlantis having been once populated by psionic giants (in this case "Giant" meaning about 7' tall on average) who tended towards being blonde haired and blue eyed. When Atlantis sank the surviving Atlanteans bred into the human population, most specifically the people in and around Germany. A lot of his eugenic experiments and the work of guys like Mengela were intended to try and rebuild this "master race" through cross breeding those with the right traits. He was also heavily into psychic research in trying to unlock the powers of the ancient Atlanteans. A lot of that is more or less public record, and it also explains why he went off about the "Master Race" when he personally held none of the traits he was lionizing, the idea wasn't so much that the "Master Race" was anyone on the planet right now, but a race he wanted to breed back into existence... insane, but the point of "Magic Box" theory is what if he could actually prove all of this and some of the nuttier things he believed. Among other stories are things like how Hitler might have built a deepwater undersea city as part of a plan to excavate Atlantis once he had won the war. According to some stories various enemy officers as well as political rivals were brought there underwater as proof of Hitler's beliefs and it changed some of them. Of course no such thing was ever found, but I believe these old stories were sort of the inspiration for things like "Bioshock" (albeit people with a different philosophy building it), and of course "Iron Skies" which took the idea from an undersea base to a moon base.

The point of all of this rambling is that Hitler was an entirely different kind of leader from Papaltine, he did have rivals killed, he had his night of long knives, sure, but mostly he succeeded not because of that but because of his ability to convince people he was right and make them love him. What's more where Papaltine was involved in a personal power grab, Hitler arguably was not despite how it seems, since his entire "insanity" was based around him paving the way for the real intended leaders to re-appear, giving the earth to a master race he himself was knowingly not worthy of. Huge amounts of Nazi resources were dedicated to weird stuff that was in no way going to benefit Hitler, all those inhumane medical and genetic experiments, psychic research, etc... had another purpose and any benefit to the Reich was arguably secondary. If Hitler has been using all of his resources to fight the war things might have gone differently.

That said, I believe "Order 66" was based on the legend of the Knights Templar, where according to story the knights were so powerful and rich that it was believed they would be impossible to stop through conventional means as they would learn of any plot against them through their political contacts and put a quick end to it. So what happened was the leaders of the time who were threatened by the Templars sent their military commanders sealed orders only to be opened on a specific time and day, and not before. Inside was an order "kill the Templars" so in this way the order was distributed and a surprise attack became possible and the Knights Templar were wiped out. Allegedly this order took place on Friday the 13th which is why it's an unlucky day. I've read different historical versions of it, but I believe that was the basic inspiration for what happened to the Jedi, they died much like how a huge and powerful order of knights was brought down in reality.

That said I wouldn't be surprised if Papaltine took inspiration from a lot of historical dictators and tyrants, but I think comparing him to Hitler is like Apples and Oranges. Papaltine's charisma was of a different sort, and to be blunt I don't think he was bug nuts crazy enough by the standards of the world he was in. To be Hitler-like Papaltine would have to say be worshipping Space Cthulhu, planning on reviving a precursor race, or something else like that and have a gift for being able to turn the most invested skeptics into true believers in his cult of personality.

Eh, I always thought that the depiction of the Republic being subverted from the inside into the Empire had other rather obvious parallels, much closer to home. Distancing it to the devil of History Channel (by which I don't in any way mean to trivialize Hitler, merely to point that that this phenomenon is not peculiar to some other era) does a disservice to its timeliness.

Look at the costuming. Darth Vader's helmet was intentionally designed to replicate the same silhouette of the German helmets. Imperial officer uniforms cut similar lines to Nazi uniforms. Both of those were intentional costuming choices, as Nazis remained the figurative personification of evil when Star Wars released, so relying on their imagery helped sell the evil empire.
The imagery was never exactly subtle in the original trilogy.
Having Palpatine's rise echo Hitler's is just a continuation of that imagery.
That said, I don't think that Order 66 is a "Night of the Long Knives" moment. It echoes any major political purge, and can just as easily be compared to Stalin or Lenin. I guess Anakin attacking Chicken McYougnlings in the Jedi temple echoes the violence that separated the infamous night, but it would have been closer if it wasn't a military action (a numbered order) but instead had been "unofficial" violence by having civilians being goaded and convinced into attacking the Jedi take the temple, led by stormtroopers.

Apparently at first the Emperor was more inspired by Richard Nixon, at least according to http://www.amazon.ca/How-Star-Wars-Conquered-Universe/dp/1480532525

F-I-D-O:
That said, I don't think that Order 66 is a "Night of the Long Knives" moment. It echoes any major political purge, and can just as easily be compared to Stalin or Lenin. I guess Anakin attacking Chicken McYougnlings in the Jedi temple echoes the violence that separated the infamous night, but it would have been closer if it wasn't a military action (a numbered order) but instead had been "unofficial" violence by having civilians being goaded and convinced into attacking the Jedi take the temple, led by stormtroopers.

The Night of the Long Knives was one branch of Hitler's unofficial military taking out another branch of Hitler's unofficial military which led to the official German military then answering directly to Hitler (rather than the president). Order 66 involved the clone branch of Palpatine's forces destroying the Jedi branch and leading to the transition of Empire which eventually led to a third military force under the newly established Galactic Empire: the Stormtroopers (who were human recruits, not clones). Both actions involved military participants, and not the populist uprising that was the Bolshevik Revolution. If the Star Wars movies had demonstrated the "unofficial" violence of a civilian uprising against the Jedi, it would have been more obviously inspired by Russian sources...but it wasn't.

I know that Palpatine was inspired by numerous historical and fictional tyrants. Evil leaders all tend to fill a general template in their rise to power. But when you get down to the details and specifics, that's when Adolf Hitler really stands out as a major inspiration.

On another note, Star Wars and Nazi Germany is a fairly known and previously explored comparison. The reason I wrote this was to shed some light on certain darker comparisons which extend beyond costuming and other previously explored connections. Thanks for reading, even if you don't fully agree with my stance.

Thunderous Cacophony:

During this, time he ordered one branch of his military (the SS) to wipe out much of the leadership of another branch of his military (the SA), along with a number of political adversaries and personal enemies.

The comma needs to be one word over at the beginning.

OT: Interesting article. Not a novel idea, but explained well.

Thanks for the correction! The comma was meant to be one word over...blast! Now its too late to change (or is it, editors? or should I say is, it editors?)

Anyway, thanks for the positive feedback. The Empire/Nazi connection has been done and discussed before lots of times. But in my research I couldn't find anything discussing the specific connections spoken of. Star Wars is a mine of analysis that has been picked over for decades by a lot of sources who have been at this a lot longer than me. Seeing a lack of these specific details in Nazi/Empire discussions was like an oasis in the desert. I couldn't resist putting in my two cents.

Therumancer:
Actually, Papaltine as Hitler isn't a great analogy, it mostly works as far as it does because both men wound up becoming dictators viewed as evil by future generations, or intended to be views so through the way the story was told. The scary thing about Hitler is that he was well loved by most of the global community despite how people deny it, he was incredibly charismatic and that was what brought him to power more than assassins.

Wow. I was tempted to quote your entire comment, but I stopped it here for two reasons.

1) Palpatine was an incredibly charismatic and well-loved leader. His political charms are what allowed him to announce himself as Emperor to thunderous applause. Both Hitler and Palpatine were very charismatic on one level, and both were completely consumed with dark, arcane knowledge on another level. The specific comparisons I mentioned in the article are historically accurate traits of one tyrant more than others.

2) That was an enormous comment! You really know your history. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment, even though you disagreed with my stance. I have been researching Hitler quite a bit for a different project recently, and can verify that a lot of your facts and conclusions are right on the money. Operation Paperclip (the recruitment of Nazi scientists into America after the war) could use some more exposure. Are you a blogger or columnist? You delivered an impressive rant, one way or another. Keep it up.

Sniper Team 4:
Hm...I never put together the second apart, about how all the Seps in the prequel trilogy were non-humans, and thus that would probably help push the pro-human mindset. I give you major bonus points for that one, because I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and I've heard this discussion many times.

Off Topic a bit: Does anyone else HATE how Order 66 went down? Because I do. I get it. I know the Jedi had to lose, and I know that numbers can overwhelm, but damn. Out of all these Jedi warriors, only Ki-Adi is able to fight back, and he only manages to take out two Clones.

This should have been a blood bath. Okay, Plo in the fighter and not-Adi on the speeder, they were toast. But the others? Especially the ones at the Temple? There should have been bodies of Clone Troopers, especially in the doorway and leading up to the steps. The Jedi were supposed to be these great warriors, able to sense danger coming. After all, they can block laser bolts. Anakin's good, but he can't be everywhere. The Clones should have been climbing over the bodies of their fallen comrades if the skill on that little kid was any indication. Instead, there are more dead Jedi than Clones, which has always bothered me.

First, thanks for the compliment! Now on to the off-topic question. I hate how easy it was for order 66 to go down. The argument I present is that it had to happen simultaneously across the Galaxy to work, since every Jedi would feel the impact of a Jedi genocide in the force if it went down any other way than precisely simultaneous. I give a lot of weight to the years of trust and team-building that took place during the Clone wars. In Lucas' defense, each Jedi was overwhelmed by multiple blasters or other moves that only make sense when considering the element of surprise. That being said, more of the Jedi should have fought back when attacked, and numbers, rather than surprise, should have been the killing blow. It would have been amazing to include a 2 minute scene where a single Jedi faces off successfully against a battalion of Clone Troopers, only to be overwhelmed by advancing Separatists from behind...But it is what it is.

Meh. ITA: "Every Power-Grabbing Fictional Dictator Ever Parallels Hitler"
I understand that at the moment we don't have any other humanoid scarecrows more fitting the principle of "Pure Evil in Human Form" than poor Adolf IRL and old Sidius in fiction, but at least some perspective is in order.

There actually really aren't many dictators that did not go through the same routine of getting up there and doing the little dance as Hitler did - acquiring secret loyal allies (Count D/Hitler's clique), gathering forces for a disposable "revolution ram" (building of SA/clone army), the coup itself (duh), ram disposing (long knives/Order 66), purges in the ranks of secret allies (Palpatine allowing Lil' Ani to take out poor Christopher Lee/gestapo purges), the coming of dictator's personal ideology as the universal one and the following cult of his persona (duh), the final consolidation of power and - putting the hammer down on world around them in the defining attempt to reshape it. A lot of powerful, brilliant, horrifying and awesome guys throughout the human history went through rather similar steps in their own stories - from Caesar to Pinochet to Mao to Franko to Cromwell to Castro to Napoleon, to Stalin, to Sulla et cetera (insert The Hero's Journey joke here). Hell, even the Eternal Leader of my own Motherland went through very similar, albeit more peaceful procedure.

The reason for this pattern repeating itself both in history and in works of fiction however is not just inspiration and remodelling of the ways of past greatness - people are not so desperate to deny their own rational thinking in favor of empirical copypasting. No, the reason for for this "Dictator's Journey" pattern is... this long-term plan actually works! In the existing systems of human relations, administration and society control (which did not really change that much in the past 2000 years), these steps are very logical, reliable and effective for use by a single mind trying to leave a certain mark on the world. Even the xenophobia is actually almost universal for nations experiencing power surge after suffering through some desperate times.

So, no bloody wonder that when at least somewhat clever writer tries to create a believable and realistic dictator in a society similar to ours - he inevitably ends up with one that acts like those in real life.

But that similarity is one of the general nature for such people and their ways. Another even more important attack at your position - for a dictator inspired by Hitler, Palpatine is a completely different kind dictator in his personality, goals and ideas. If you actually spent time researching Adolf, you probably noticed that his beliefs, principles and were vastly different from those of Palpatine. No matter how much alike their dictatorial surface is alike - the most important pats, the core of those personalities are in fact nothing alike.
Hitler was a man who dedicated himself and everything he could get his hands on to the Nation. Palpatin dedicated a nation to himself. Hitler believed that he worked for the greater good, creating a bright future of prosperity and happiness for mankind, and sincerely loved his people. Palpatine, as it is customary to a master of the Dark Side, actually hated pretty much everything other than himself, with humans simply being somewhat less disgusting to him than aliens; the only position he saw natural to any other intelligent being was being fried by his Force Lightning. Hitler made loyal allies through the force of character and charisma. Palpatine got loyal allies through the Force, oh and bought one foolish teenager with a stupid promise of impossible. Et cetera, et cetera.

In the end - when seeking sources of inspiration for fictional characters one needs to look deeper than the most obvious and sometimes cherry-picked similarities. Otherwise one can parallel anyone with anyone. For jimmierustle purposes, I am going to claim that Palpatine was based on Franklin D. Roosevelt, the similarities being:
1. Physical disfigurement.
2. Wrestled for power with the Senate.
3. Dedicated a lot of work towards acquisition of a game-changing super weapon, but did not live to see it used to it's true potential.

I usually go with the "they were pretty bad guys" parallel.

The alien racism thing never really came into Star Wars in a big way with the narrative in regards to the films but I've definitely seen the Hitler in Palpatine for quite some time.

wizzy555:
I never understood the racist thing, it seems very tacted on for the sake of being evil. I mean it seems in the prequels that some of his most power supporters were Alien.

Also are the "humans" in star wars even the same race? It isn't really mentioned.

I can say with 100% scientific accuracy that the answer is "kind-of". If you are using a generalization of race, then yes, just like all Wookies are....wookian? Twi'lek's are the same race. If we use races from different planets, it gets incredibly complex.

Mandalorians had possibly the widest ranging "racial" stuff, since it was actually a way of life instead of through genetics and stuff.

This is only going by my knowledge of Star Wars and could of been changed since Disney deep six'ed the Expanded Universe.

Sniper Team 4:
Hm...I never put together the second apart, about how all the Seps in the prequel trilogy were non-humans, and thus that would probably help push the pro-human mindset. I give you major bonus points for that one, because I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and I've heard this discussion many times.

Off Topic a bit: Does anyone else HATE how Order 66 went down? Because I do. I get it. I know the Jedi had to lose, and I know that numbers can overwhelm, but damn. Out of all these Jedi warriors, only Ki-Adi is able to fight back, and he only manages to take out two Clones.
This should have been a blood bath. Okay, Plo in the fighter and not-Adi on the speeder, they were toast. But the others? Especially the ones at the Temple? There should have been bodies of Clone Troopers, especially in the doorway and leading up to the steps. The Jedi were supposed to be these great warriors, able to sense danger coming. After all, they can block laser bolts. Anakin's good, but he can't be everywhere. The Clones should have been climbing over the bodies of their fallen comrades if the skill on that little kid was any indication. Instead, there are more dead Jedi than Clones, which has always bothered me.

So, the deal with Order 66 was that it was just an order: a conditional clause that basically said, "In the event of an attempted coup on the Chancellor by the Jedi, execute the Jedi." It was so devious because Palpatine got the clone troopers in place, got them to earn the trust of the jedi, and then insured that an entire clone army bred from a race of cold, methodical killers with a legacy history of killing jedi efficiently were in a position to do so...without remorse, and without betraying their feelings because they were bred to essentially not have any feelings about this at all...it was just war. Even the cartoon series demonstrates that only a very few clones had grown beyond their breeding to question what happened (and I loved in Ep. III how Commander Cody had no problem with adding Obi-Wan to his kill list when the time came to it).

So...surprised by the "allies" in their midst, the vast majority of the combat-effective jedi spread throughout the galaxy, isolated from one another, it was easy for the jedi temple to fall. Also, they faced clone troopers, who were basically demonstrably more efficient and practical in their military acumen then later generations of recruited storm troopers.

Redlin5:
The alien racism thing never really came into Star Wars in a big way with the narrative in regards to the films but I've definitely seen the Hitler in Palpatine for quite some time.

There's a lot in Star Wars that is implied but not spelled out or demonstrated overtly except when it can be alleviated with a bit of comic humor, mostly because the series is aimed squarely at a PG crowd. The underlying racism (speciesism?) along with many, many other themes that are essentially adult and what make the films and universe have lasting appeal to adults are there, they just aren't as overt as you'll see in films that deliberately seek to play off on those themes.

As a side comment to the original article, fun read, nice to see something talk about stuff in Ep. I to III without it turning into a film-hate-fest, and Sidious is spelled with two I's and not an E.

camazotz:
The underlying racism (speciesism?) along with many, many other themes that are essentially adult and what make the films and universe have lasting appeal to adults are there,

Where? Beyond 'all the bad guys are human' (as are the vast majority of the rebels), where in the films does the Empire do anything racist?

Frankly, all three points raised in this article are deeply flawed. Beyond 'secret purge' Order 66 and The Night of the Long Knives have very little in common. One was the assassination of the only group within the military with the potential to seriously oppose Palpatine's ascent to power (the Jedi). The other was the removal of a mostly loyal, but unreliable militia (the SA) to earn the favour of the real army.

The racism, again I just don't see the Empire in the films doing anything particularly 'racist'. Evil, yes. Racist, no. Palpatine's only ideology seems to be 'get power, get control, eliminate opposition'.

The 'superweapons' idea is the best of the three. But here the difference is a bit simpler. The Death Stars worked. Yes they had their 'movie flaws', but both Stars essentially did the jobs for which they were designed, and would've led to an Imperial victory without protagonist shenanigans. Whereas the Nazi wonder weapons were a joke. Impressive tech yes, but were never going to be war winners, and the resources devoted to them would've been better used on other things.

 

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