Order 66 is Executive Order 9066

As anyone who has suffered through the Star Wars prequels knows, Order 66 was the order to murder the Jedi, given by Chancellor Palpatine to the clone troopers. I have often wondered if there were any real life parallels to this order, and I think I have found one. Because of the upcoming election, many people have been commenting on current candidates and old Presidents alike. I often scour twitter to see what some of the most influential people are saying about the whole process. During one of these late-night twitter reads, I came across a tweet by AOL founder Steve Case that invoked the memory of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This made me remember one of the low points of American history: Executive Order 9066.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, FDR gave an order (9066) to send Japanese Americans into internment camps based solely on their ethnic heritage. Since I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I quickly made a connection to Order 66 in the Star Wars prequels. There are two major points that intrigue me about these two orders.

First of all, George Lucas has made it very clear that the Jedi are based off of Samurai. Since Samurai are traditionally associated with Japan, there is a definite parallel between the Jedi that were murdered and the Japanese Americans that were unjustly imprisoned. Also, the order came from a prominent politician that was soon viewed as a hero. This spawned the following quote from Padme: “So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause.” In the same way, FDR is one of the most fondly remembered presidents by many (as Mr. Case demonstrated earlier) despite this horrible act that he ordered to into action. Another interesting parallel is that FDR was accused by many of trying to set himself up as some sort of emperor. Before he was elected, every president had voluntarily given up the office after two terms. However, FDR ran for four terms and would have kept going if he hadn’t died just after being elected the fourth time. Thus, there are many similarities between FDR and Palpatine (especially in this one instance) that are quite interesting.

The second point is much more obvious. The last two letters of the executive order (66) are reused as the Order given to murder the Jedi. This is interesting because there is no strict reason why 66 is chosen in Star Wars. We had never been shown orders 1-65. Why choose the number 66? I believe that this shows a direct link between Executive Order 9066 and Order 66.

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