"They had no idea we were coming!"- Canderous Ordo, recounting the Mandalorian armada's first major strike to spark the Mandalorian Wars
The Mandalorian Wars is a war that is greatly misunderstood. Not the war itself, but the response that the Jedi made to the Mandalorians. I will address this in great detail.
The Mandalorian Wars were long in coming. After the Sith War involving Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma, the Mandalorians were greatly disappointed. They had believed that they would see a "Grand Last Battle" by allying with the Sith against the Jedi. The Mandalorians were routed in a final battle on Onderon and their Sith allies were bested soon after. This crushing defeat led to a period of restoration, a time for the Mandalorians to regroup. They believed that their chance for glory had not yet come. They believed that a glorious war was in their future. And they were right.
Under the Leadership of Mandalore the Ultimate, the Mandalorians recuperated and prepared for another war with the Jedi. Mandalore allied with the Sith Empire to strike at their common foe. The Mandalorians served as the Sith Empire's pawn, to weaken or even destroy the Republic, allowing a smooth take-over for the Sith Empire's return to the galaxy.
Mandalore saw that he didn't have enough forces to wage a full war with the Republic yet. His first move was to unite the scattered clans along the Outer Rim. He took these clans and made several raids on Republic colonies along the Outer Rim. His forces also carved a path in Hutt Space, conquering several worlds controlled by the Hutt Cartel. During their war on the Outer Rim, Mandalorian general Cassus Fett led a massacre on the planet Cathar. The attack was incredibly successful and small percentage of the native Cathar survived.
Senators of the Republic were wary of starting another war. They still felt the sting of the previous wars. They decided to let the Mandalorians have their fun in their conquered systems, but would fight back if the Mandalorians were to strike the Republic itself. But Mandalore planned on doing just that.
Mandalore began stockpiling resources on his conquered worlds to fuel his increasingly large forces. With each new victory in the Outer Rim, they gained new slaves and conscripted new soldiers, bolstering their ranks. With each new strike, more and more refugees fled the the carnage. They flocked to worlds like Taris in an effort to hide from the Mandalorian armies.
And the Senate stood and watched. For almost a decade, the Senate watched as the Mandalorians began to make their way to critical resource planets near Taris. At this time the Senate decided to intervene. The Republic invited Taris and several neighboring systems to join the Republic, which allowed their forces to intervene.
The Republic had finally taken Mandalore's bait. The Republic had been lured into a false war, fighting over useless systems, failing to see Mandalore's true goal. The Republic's greatest military minds only saw what was right in front of them and couldn't see what Mandalore was planning. These first battles were Mandalore's way of testing the Republic's resolve, all the while the Republic was losing soldiers and their fleets were spread too thin to stop the Mandalorian advance.
The war escalated when Mandalore and Cassus Fett began blocking critical trade routes. The Republic reacted with their full military might, giving the Mandalorians the war they desired.
Hidden in their Temples and Enclaves, the Jedi Order debated over joining the war. An outspoken Jedi Knight, whom we call Revan, began enlisting his fellow Jedi to aid the Republic. The Jedi Council urged caution, warning of a greater threat. But Revan and his friend, who would become known as Malak, ignored their concerns. They began enlisting a large fraction of Jedi to bring aid to the Republic. All the while, Republic worlds burned.
The Mandalorian Wars truly began when Mandalore led his forces in a crushing victory on Onderon. This resounding victory kicked the war off with a bang. Republic forces began getting routed by the Mandalorian Armada... until Revan joined the war.
The Mandalorians destroyed entire civilizations, burning worlds as they went. Serocco saw one of the greatest Mandalorian victories, when Mandalore bombarded the surface with nuclear weapons.
But then Revan joined the war. Revan's Jedi forces began achieving several victories across the galaxy, leading to the Republic handing Revan control of the military. The involvement of the Jedi increased morale across the galaxy, leading to thousands of volunteers to join the Republic. This mass recruitment and the involvement of the Jedi increased the Republics numbers greatly.
But Revan began taking certain "liberties" with his forces. He began sacrificing worlds to make strikes on Mandalorian systems in an effort to beat back the Mandalorians. Revan began taking on Mandalorian tactics, fighting the Mandalorians fire with their own, in order to bring a swift end to the war. While these tactics worked, they costed many lives.
Revan led the Republic to several victories, pushing the Mandalorians into the unknown regions. He eventually forced a final conflict with Mandalore's fleets at Malachor V. Revan was delayed outside the system by a scouting party, placing the command of the attack on the shoulders of Jedi Meetra Surik. Revan had ensured his victory at Malachor by preparing a superweapon called the Mass Shadow Generator, designed by Zabrak Bao-Dur.
When Revan arrived at Malachor, he forced Mandalore into direct combat. Revan had previously visited Malachor and succumbed to the planets Dark energies. He called upon these Dark energies and utterly crushed Mandalore the Ultimate. The Mandalorians were scattered and fell into Meetra Surik's trap. She commanded Bao-Dur to activate the Mass Shadow Generator and watched in horror as Republic and Mandalorian forces were pulled into a massive gravity vortex. Ships were crushed and lives were destroyed in one terrible moment. The Mandalorians were defeated.
The misconception that I want to analyze in this OP is the debate over the Jedi Council's decision to stay out of the war. Many believe that the Jedi should have joined the war, but they don't see the Council's reasoning behind this. The Jedi were still recovering from the war with Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma. They were also wary of the trappings of war. The Sith War saw several Jedi fall to the Dark Side, and believed that the Mandalorian Wars would be no different. Master Vandar Tokare had also had a premonition of catastrophic results if they joined the war. His vision showed him the Jedi Civil War. We can see that the Jedi were right to be cautious in joining the war.
But should they have joined the war. I personally believe that they should have. But only in an advisory position. The Jedi didn't have the numbers to actively fight in the war, but their tactical skills could have (and did) benefited the Republic. It would have also boosted morale. But I understand their reasoning behind their "pacifism".
I hope this made the circumstances of the Mandalorian Wars and the involvement of the Jedi more clear.
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