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For the third time in nearly 3 years a would-be oppressor has arrived to try and beat our quiet little backwater into submission! Now, let me give you a word of advice, take your ships, your men, and yourself, and leave our space! We will not bow to your oppressive and evil Empire! You have 5 minutes to comply, if you do not retreat then expect to be destroyed! We have faced your Republic predecessors twice before, and defeated them both times!
—Jane Zarkan in a hail to Moff Octavian Grant
The Third Battle of Earth was a battle between the two planetary governments of Earth, the Confederate States of Earth and the Union of Earth States, and the powerful Galactic Empire. Confederate and Union forces tried to fight back, but the Imperial forces were too strong to be defeated and they took heavy damage. During the battle, Earth's ships were all eventually destroyed by Moff Octavian Grant's Imperial-class Star Destroyers, including President Jane Zarkan's flagship, the C.S.E.S Independence.
Following the defeat of Earth's space forces the Imperial fleet bombarded Earth's surface, focusing particularly on the densely populated cities on Earth, it was estimated that hundreds of thousands of Earth's civilians died in the orbital bombardments.
Following the defeat of the Union of Earth States early in the battle the Empire reorganized the Union into the "Earth Empire", a puppet state of the Empire ruled by Governor William Crest, Crest was a staunchly anti-Confederate Union ultranationalist who advocated horrendous acts against the Confederacy during the Earth Civil War. Following the victory of the Imperial forces over the Confederacy the Confederacy was absorbed into the Earth Empire.
Life in Governor Crest's puppet state was terrible for civilians, but was especially horrible for the ex-Confederates, Crest believed they still had to pay for seceding, and was especially harsh to them, many Confederates believed he was purposefully try to exterminate every last citizen of the Confederacy.
"William Crest", that name is hated and despised in the Confederacy with the passion of a million burning suns! That insane traitor is burning in Hell for eternity! His policies resulted in the deaths of nearly 50 million of our people! Why? Because he hated us! Every year every Confederate burns in effigy of that idiot, it gives us pleasure to know that he will burn forever!
—A Confederate being asked on his view of William Crest
Please, help us win our freedom! Governor Crest is a demon! He treats us worse than animals! He is responsible for the deaths of milions! Please, we beg you, help us! Our planet is dying, we are being exterminated through starvation by that lunatic traitor in power!
—A plea by Earth's citizens to the Rebel Alliance
The planet would later be liberated by Rebel forces commanded by Luke Skywalker with the help of local anti-Imperial restistance groups. Following the liberation the Confederate States of Earth and Union of Earth States would be restored, William Crest would be hung in public for treason and numerous atrocities and war crimes committed against civilians and P.O.Ws on his orders. William Crest's genocidal policies included the mass executions of tens of thousands of civilians, man-made mass famines, numerous scorched earth campaigns against civilians, deliberate spreading of diseases amongst civilians, Crest was believed to be responsible for no less than 50 million deaths in his 22 years in power.
Even after over half a century some Confederates were still sore over the relatively quick folding of the Union of Earth States, they felt that because the Union surrendered to the Empire with little fight the Union had betrayed Earth, and were using Imperial occupation to gather their own strength to conquer the Confederacy, something they had failed to do in the previous Earth Civil War, leading some Confederates to view the Union as traitors to Earth, for "giving" Earth to the Empire without much fight in order to use the Empire to regain their own lost strength and power.
President Jane Zarkan II shared this sentiment, and referenced the battle during her argument with President Adam Williams of the Union over the Union's refusal to join the Confederacy in seceding from the increasingly-oppressive Galactic Alliance, and joining the Confederation in 40 ABY.
...we still haven't forgotten our war of independence, in which we fought to be free of your oppression, and the Third Battle of Earth, where you helped the Empire conquer us, and began 23 years of hell!
—President Jane Zarkan II of the Confederacy in an argument with Union President Adam Willians over the Union's refusal to join the Confederacy in rebelling against the increasingly-oppressive Galactic Alliance