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CT What motivates the Storm Troopers to fight? What's their cause?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Hey there, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Hey there

    Hey there Jedi Youngling

    Jun 20, 2013
    Don't they need a cause to fight to the death as they do? (I'm considering here that they are unique individuals as shown in the classical trilogy and not clones as the prequels had it). To fight so courageously and fanatically don't they need at least something to motivate them?

    I heard somewhere that their looks (i.e. helmets) were based on the German armies of WW2, but in WW2 the German armies were highly motivated by racial supremacy and charismatic leadership, they were fighting based on an idea that they were the most unique elite people of the word (which at the present is also what motivates a certain small state I need not mention). But what cause do the Storm Troopers have? And furthermore why do they sacrifice their lives for someone like Vader who treats them like they're nothing but disposable assets which he can kill and crush like ants when they disappoint him or outlive their usefulness?
  2. El_Machete12

    El_Machete12 Jedi Knight star 2

    Oct 30, 2012
    Well I can see fear being a factor. Otherwise, maybe they just see the Empire as a government worth fighting for. The whole "no freedom=peace" lie that dictators always toss around could motivate them to "squash the meddlesome, violent rebels"
  3. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Sep 2, 2012
    They were portrayed as clones long before the prequels:

    Published January 1978 by Galaxy Publications. Text writers Jon Trux, John May, Anthony Fredrickson.

    However, early EU showed ordinary people who'd been recruited as Stormtroopers- suggesting that only a portion were clones by the time of the OT.

    "Maintaining order" seemed to be a major motivation- the belief that without the Empire- the galaxy would descend into chaos.
  4. Ganger

    Ganger Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 1999
    That's great! Thanks for sharing that!
    darklordoftech likes this.
  5. ILNP

    ILNP Jedi Knight star 1

    Apr 12, 2011
    You don't really need some high minded ideal in order to be a good soldier. I joined the Army because I had wanted to join since I was like 10. Others who I served with were just doing it for the GI Bill, or to continue the family tradition, etc. Not everyone who joins the military does so in order to fight for their country or defend freedom and liberty.

    I would like to correct you about the German military in World War II though. There's this misperception that every German blindly believed in Hitler and believed that Jews were subhumans, etc. While it is true that certain parts of the military had high numbers of true believers (the SS and Luftwaffe are the best examples) not every German soldier believed in racial supremacy or was blindly devoted to Hitler.
    Sarge and darklordoftech like this.
  6. Darth Eddie

    Darth Eddie Jedi Master star 4

    May 14, 2013
    They get to dress up in cool armor and shoot at college-age liberals, which is some peoples' dream job in THIS galaxy.
  7. Darth Valkyrus

    Darth Valkyrus Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 12, 2013
    "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army" - Josef Stalin.

    And that also pretty much sums up much of the reason why GE stormtroopers fight, most of the time anyway. Just MHO.
    The Hellhammer likes this.
  8. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die:
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  9. hlc88

    hlc88 Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 3, 2012
    I think there was an element of fear in what was motivating them. If Vader was going around choking officers for failure then that would be a big motivator to be successful especially if they were forced into serving the Empire...
  10. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 19, 1999
    Who's to say they aren't motivated by love of their totalitarian government? Just look at the totalitarian states that have existed on Earth. Lots of their citizens have been proud to be part of such a "powerful" entity. Why is any North Korean soldier loyal when they can plainly see that their government is starving its own populace?
  11. Keltoi89

    Keltoi89 Jedi Knight star 1

    Jun 11, 2013
    If we look at it from the perspective of the whole saga then I think the reason is pretty clear. They were clones, brought up within an isolated and structured society. Their whole objective in life was to become highly skilled soldiers and to fight for the Republic, which of course, later became the Empire, overseen by Palpatine.

    Now, in hind sight and from the perspective of watching the films, it's clear as day that the Empire are the evil side in the whole saga, but try and put yourself in their shoes. They were trained from a very young age to be loyal and to fight for the Republic, which they did very well by all accounts. After Order 66 things obviously changed dramatically, but again, from their perspective they were just continuing to do their jobs like before.

    Palpatine was that deceptive and manipulative that he managed to fool the entire Jedi Council for a sustained period of time, so imagine how difficult it would have been for 'normal' people to see through the facade. Especially in the earlier days when he had to try and retain a modicum of integrity.

    I think the Nazi Germany comparison is an excellent one. There would have undoubtedly been a large number of people within the German army at the time who despised Hitler and his inner circle. Hell, there was umpteen attempts made on his life by underground cells and factions within the Nazi party itself. But, the majority were too scared to risk their lives and a large number would have still had unyielding loyalty to him or 'the cause'. If the Star Wars saga was real, with a real Emperor and Empire, then I think the mindset of those involved within it would be similarly divided.

    And that's before we even mention the psychopath in the black leather suit and helmet, with breathing problems and serious anger management issues, who seemed to be force choking anything with a pulse at one point. Imagine these people were your bosses? Would you want to annoy them? They make the Gestapo look sane and timid by comparison.

    Apologies for the long winded reply, I get carried away sometimes. I-)
  12. clone3131

    clone3131 Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 11, 2004
    What motivates them to fight?

    <Zam> It's just a job </Zam>

  13. RogueZero

    RogueZero Jedi Master star 1

    Mar 17, 2009
    It's a job and they get paid. And many of them probably do believe in the cause, like German soldiers believing in Hitler in WWII.
    Skywalker Thing likes this.
  14. Mr. K

    Mr. K Moderator Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 1999
    The Empire has cookies.
  15. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 12, 2012
    First day on the job, Vader comes out and Force chokes the hell outta some random trooper. They kinda get the point after that.
  16. The Hellhammer

    The Hellhammer Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 4, 2012
    You have to have in mind that it's a galaxy spanning Empire and around 98% of Stormtroopers go their entire lives without ever even seeing Vader or Palpatine in person, much less directly interacting with them.
    All the motivations you mentioned for WWII German Army can apply here as well.

    The Empire is human centric - racial supremacy and dominance is one of the factors as well, with the humans being the most numerous species in the galaxy. Many are buying into the propaganda of keeping the galaxy an ordered and secure place. Many probably don't even see the large scale difference between the Republic and the Empire. For others, it's just a job and probably the only way off their miserable backwater worlds.
    Also, the effectiveness of hard training and drilling should not be ignored. If they go through a rigorous training programme for a couple of years, that will be a big factor in their motivation as well.

    I find questions like these very interesting, but they cannot be answered from our perspective as omni-present viewers who have all the behind the scenes information and are privy to the most important events in the galaxy. You have to put yourself in the shoes of that stormtrooper, pilot, officer, crewman who has no idea about all the things we take for granted. Ignore everything you as the viewer know and try to change your perspective.
    Would you, as an ordinary footsoldier on any of the millions of Imperial worlds know what goes on in the Emperor's throne room? Would you believe Imperial propaganda or Rebel propaganda? Would you even believe in the destruction of, say, Alderaan or maybe even believe it was justified? The Holocaust in WW2 was largely unkown during the war itself, even if there were thousands of people involved in that horrible "programme."

    It's an interesting question, but in my view requires quite a bit of changing one's point of view.
  17. Darth Fright

    Darth Fright Jedi Youngling

    Jun 24, 2013
    For any of these 3 reasons...

    1. It's a job.
    2. They believe in maintaining "order"
    3. They were hungry to dominate.
    Skywalker Thing likes this.
  18. EvilQ

    EvilQ Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 8, 2013
    Um, I can has free stuff?
  19. The Supreme Chancellor

    The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    All good answers.
  20. kubricklynch

    kubricklynch Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2012
    I'd assume they'd get executed for desertion if they didn't fight to the death. Sounds like a good motivation to me.
  21. Minez01

    Minez01 Jedi Master star 1

    Nov 12, 2005
    I figured that, as TheHellHammer said, most of them will never really see the bad part of the job and they're just doing their job in whichever part of the galaxy they're in. Some probably believe in a well structured government, some probably don't. I did figure, though (and if you're read Death Star, you might see this) that those that were witnessing some of the atrocities committed by the Empire were generally compelled to continue service out of fear, or were waiting for the right opportunity to leave the services. But again, they were probably a minority, and it's probably safe to assume that most of the Empire's forces seen in one particular movie are different to those seen in other movies.
    The Hellhammer likes this.
  22. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 10, 2009
    Probably many of the reasons people today join the armed forces.
    Family killed in a Rebellion attack, see it as their civic duty, an option as a job/only option as a job, see the world, escape from annoying family members. There were normal people on both sides of the conflict.

    Luke was super pumped to join the Imperial academy before he met up with Obi-Wan.
    Skywalker Thing likes this.
  23. Major Smith

    Major Smith Jedi Youngling

    Jul 2, 2013
    Interesting that the issue of the German army was raised, as said above the German army in WW2 whilst they did have a personal oath to Hitler didn't follow the general belief of racial superiority as much as the SS did, I mean German officers probably believed in but the average grunt wasn't anti-semantic to the point of gassing women and Children.

    However it does have the comparisons of how the Emperor was able to slide from the Republic to an galactic empire to how Hitler was able to go from democracy to dictatorship on the basis of security and safety. I suppose that's why many storm-troopers were loyal, because they saw the Rebellion as simply a rebellion against peace and security.
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  24. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer Force Ghost star 6

    Mar 26, 2013
    I think it's pretty clear:

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  25. Hello_Fett

    Hello_Fett Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2013
    I think for some it is just a job, or like a lot of soldiers in our army (tradition, etc) like has been said. But I really think for some it is just that if you can't be a Sith Lord or the emperor, you can at least serve the cause. It's not all good and evil, it is a lot like politics... multiple views that people have on how things should be run.