Dooku meeting with prospective members of the Confederacy

By its final years the Republic had grown huge and corrupt, with outlying systems receiving few benefits despite paying heavy taxes. Thousands of systems decided to leave the Republic, rallied by Count Dooku. But what appeared to be a political crisis was actually something worse: On Geonosis, Dooku met with the head of powerful galactic trade groups, which pledged their armies and credits to his cause. War was coming. 

The Droid Army on Malastare

The Clone Wars engulfed the galaxy, with the cyborg warlord General Grievous leading droid armies against Republic worlds. The Republic counterattacked with armies of clone troopers commanded by Jedi, who’d abandoned their traditional role as peacekeepers to lead troops in war. 

Darth Sidious giving instructions to General Grievous

No one suspected the war was a sham – the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was also Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord to whom Dooku answered. As the war ground on, Palpatine amassed more and more power, the Republic’s military-industrial complex ballooned, and the Jedi found their ranks thinned. The Separatist defeat at the end of the war was preordained. The Alliance’s leaders were executed on Mustafar, and the trade groups that had supported the cause became part of the new Empire.