This is due to the magic of something called "Lanchester's Laws."
Basically, the strength of a military force scales linearly with the combat-effectiveness of a given unit, but scales with the square of the number of units. A ten-fold advantage in quantity makes up for a hundred-fold disadvantage in quality.
Most folks here agree that Federation weaponry is in the double-digit megaton to single-digit gigaton range, while Imperial weaponry is in the triple-digit kiloton to single-digit megaton range (I differ, giving the Empire double-to-triple-digit megatons, and the Federation single-digit gigatons to single-digit teratons for ship-to-ship weapons), and that this disparity is compounded by an even greater gap in effective range and tactical mobility. However, most here also agree that the Empire has a substantially larger fleet than the Federation. The question is, just how much larger?
Now, I will concede that the best evidence we have indicates that the actual difference between the Empire as of RoTJ and the post-Dominion War Federation is a single order of magnitude or less. But, in my opinion, the construction of Death Star indicates that the Empire is exceptionally impressive in terms of its ability to acquire, transport, and process natural resources.
This topic came up on the Ep. 7 ICS thread, where I posted this:
I will now defend this POV against the only challenge it received in that thread.In any case, if the Death Star and other warships are the same density, and the Death Star II was halfway finished in four years, then if 10% of those resources were diverted to building ships in an emergency situation (such as contact with a technologically superior foe), the Galactic Empire could build 2 super star destroyers, 350 star destroyers, and 3000 Acclamator-equivalents every day. With a population in the hundreds of trillions, a draft would allow them to crew all these ships. Assuming a population of a hundred trillion, and assuming that only 0.1% of the population can be drafted, and assuming that every 8e3 cubic meters of ship needs one crewman (giving the Acclamator a crew of a thousand), this could be kept up for thirty years before the Empire would run out of people to man its fleet. By that time, the fleet would have grown to a size of 20,000 SSD's, 4,000,000 ISD's, and 30,000,000 AES's. Darth Sidious is no idiot, if he needed to, he would divert resources away from his death-ticle.
I honestly think that "Federation vs Galactic Empire" would be roughly analogous to "Captain Tracey vs The Yang": "we killed them by the hundreds, but they kept coming... we killed them by the thousands, but they just kept coming!"
There is if the crossover in which they come to make war with the Federation takes place at a time when they still could choose differently.Mr. Oragahn wrote: Is there a point musing about how many ships the Empire could have gotten out of the mass of a Death Star if it had chosen differently?
The thing about this calculation is that, even if it doesn't apply to what the Empire did do, it still applies to what they could do if they faced a technologically superior foe.The point really is that the Empire did everything to get those stations built and although such resources, with a proper plan, could have been used to build a large amount of ships, it didn't happen.
IF the Death Star was understaffed (and as far as we know, there are no canonical indications that it was), that could have been fixed with a simple draft and (if necessary) relaxation of the laws regarding non-human military service.Even by the old EU, it was absolutely clear that the Death Star was considerably understaffed. I'm not knowledgeable about new official figures to the present day and I may say that such information may not exist anymore, due to the canonical reboot.
Couldn't, or merely didn't? The Star Wars universe could easily be far less warlike than we generally assume. The two conflicts we see in the Lucas canon are a Galactic Republic against a separatist movement, and a Galactic Empire against a rebellion. If there was a long period of peace prior to TPM - which would explain why the only army they had was a gaggle of psions with laser swords - then even a small civil war could result in significant public panic. It would only take a small Army of the Republic to put down such a movement, but the conflict would loom large in the public consciousness. A war that, all in all, wasn't that much larger that WWII on earth could have a massive cultural impact on a galaxy that had just gone through a millennium of peace.We know that a Republic brought under a stricter rule, that of Palpatine, couldn't normally produce anything close to a fraction of the ships a shard of even the first Death Star would have afforded.
As for the rebellion, we know now how hard it is to beat guerrillas with a conventional army. A weapon of terror might actually be more effective, especially if the public at large wasn't used to a true state of war, and thus wasn't prepared to actually be the boots on the ground. Of course, a weapon of terror could easily backfire if used unwisely, which the Death Star was.
It could be that they were widely perceived as "the bad guys" until the destruction of Alderaan. Of course, Rebels might harpoon that idea...Therefore, we may open ourselves to massive speculation as to how Palpatine's empire managed to find the resources for the battle stations. Squeezing worlds until they'd crack is possible, but that would have likely pushed more worlds into the Rebellion's arms, yet even up to ANH, a seditious organization such as the Rebellion didn't display any of the assets it later had.
And it's because most of the galaxy accepted it for so long that the Empire never made a navy proportionate to its industrial capacity.For all intents and purposes, the Empire's been a rather quiet evil that most of the galaxy accepted. No one could even deny its prestige and the peaceful times it brought (regardless of why the war actually occured). Even the Senate itself remained officially in effect for decades up until ANH because it worked better that way.
Needless to say, the Federation won't let that evil be. It will try and liberate the denizens of the Galaxy Far Far Away, and, for the first time in its history - possibly in all the recorded history of the Empire, the Republic, and their predecessors - it will face an existential threat. Palpetine is no fool. He will divert resources from the weapon of terror to weapons of war. If he needs to, he will institute a draft - accompanied by inflammatory propaganda. Whether people like it or not, they will become soldiers. The logistical behemoth that turned the GDP of a million systems into a single engine of destruction will mobilize a fleet of millions. The Federation's advantages are mostly tactical. While tactics win battles, and strategy wins campaigns, it is logistics that wins wars. And when it comes to logistics, the Federation is quite simply outclassed.