The first episode of the final season for Attack on Titan introduced viewers to a World War-esque setting. Soon enough, we get to know that Marley is at war with the Mid East Alliance. To further understand this, let’s backtrack to season 3!
Season 3, part 2 dropped a bomb on the viewers: there are humans outside of walls. After finally reaching the basement, Eren Jaeger discovers the truth behind his father’s actions, and a slice of history about the titans.
To summarise, Marley now exploits the very same power that brought them to their knees. With the absolute power of Titans at their side, Marley was a military dictatorship with an expansionist agenda. And despite their differences, all nations were hell-bent upon destroying the Paradis “devils”, a goal that Marley also shared.
Why did the Mid-East Marley war take place:
Marley had set a plan in motion to become a military superpower. This would only be possible if they had complete control over the Titan army. And it involved having the Founding Titan in their military ranks. Reiner Braun, Annie Leonhart, Bertholdt Hoover, and Marcel Galliard were responsible to get the Founding Titan back from Paradis. However, as we all know, the plan fails. And to make matters worse Marley loses the Colossal Titan and the Female Titan.
The world saw Marley fail, deciding that the loss of two powerful titans and failure to execute an important plan meant Marley was weakening. The nations who were under the threat of Marley’s expansionist policies saw this as an opportunity to strike back, leading to the Marley Middle-East Alliance war. This war stretched for four years.
How was the war fought?
The mid-east allied forces knew that Marley were superior to them when it came to ground troops owing to their titans. In order to counter this they came up with the strategy of majorly waging the war through sea. The allied fleet that was thus formed would then turn out be a major thorn in Marley’s plans of a counter-attack. The reason? Marley placed too much emphasis on their Titan powers and ignored the remaining sections of their military.
The higher ups of the military agreed that they were short-sighted after they saw their naval forces were unable to suppress the allied forces in a poorly fought war.
The Allied forces also worked on building Anti Titan artillery, which also managed to hinder the Titan army that Marley had. However, the latter would slowly gain control in these four years. This was mainly due to the efforts their Titans, especially Reiner and Zeke had put.
Reiner had taken the complete blame for failing to retrieve the Founding Titan. This almost led Marley to strip the Armored Titan from him. But in the ensuing war with the Mid-Eastern Allied forces, Reiner put his life on the line multiple times, regaining the trust of his peers in the military.
Moreover, Attack on Titan season 4 started with a time skip, showing the last leg of the war. The take over of Fort Slava would guarantee win for Marley. The first episode clearly concludes with victory on Marley’s side, thanks to the airborne squad.
It is quite confusing, but I hope this clears it up. Clearly, we have reached a point in the story where the story doesn’t revolve around just walls anymore!