The Great Titan War In Attack On Titan Explained!


The Great Titan War is the sole event that triggers the onset of Attack on Titan. The climax of a conflict of centuries; this war is the reason why we see all characters do what they do today. However, due to the works of Karl Fritz, the outcome of the war differed on both sides of the ocean. It is not until Willy Tybur finally reveals the truth that the true events of the war are made public. Hence, it’s only fitting that we go over the Great Titan War again!

The prelude

When the Eldian empire was at its peak, eight noble families were in control of the intelligent titans barring the Founding Titan who remained in the hands of the royal family. At this point, the Eldian Empire had taken over most of the world. Once they ran out of enemies, the eight noble families turned onto each other. Greed, politics, hunger for power; call it what you may. But this situation essentially started a civil war.

great titan war 3
Another example of power corrupts all!

This conflict kept going on for years; until the 145th Fritz king decided he had had enough. Karl Fritz had two issues with his empire- firstly, the noble families and their greed; secondly, the atrocities committed on the world and specifically on Marley. The story from here on, is distorted.

The war

The Marleyan perpsective:

According to Marleyan propaganda, the tables started to turn on Eldia when slowly the intelligent titans switched sides. This happened when the Tybur family who possessed the Warhammer Titan made a pact with a Marleyan hero known as Helos. At the end, Helos managed to defeat Karl Fritz and forced him to leave.

Grisha’s father explains the “truth” to him.

Subsequently, Karl Fritz escaped with as many Subjects of Ymir as he could. Then, he sent an ultimatum- the island dare not be bothered, or else he will unleash colossal titans on the world. This stems from the fact that Karl Fritz set up 3 walls named after the daughter of Ymir- Maria, Rose and Sina which were made of colossal titans.

Willy Tybur reveals the truth:

However, the story is far from this. Karl Fritz willingly wanted to bring an end to the infighting among the nobles. Therefore, he conspired with the Tybur family. By doing so, they came up with the story of Helos to make it seem like it was Marley who brought the empire’s downfall. The king chose to take as many people as he could away from the continent onto Paradis. Moreover, Karl made a vow to make sure the powers of the Founding Titan are only used for peace.


He made a vow renouncing war. This meant that the Founding Titan could never be used in times of turmoil. According to his ideology, the Founding Titan would peacefully let Paradis succumb to Marley if the time ever comes. Karl proceeded to make the walls hereon. While reason for King Fritz’s actions still remain shrouded in mystery, the war and his actions had a long standing effect on not just Paradis but the whole world itself!

The aftermath


Karl Fritz used the power of the Founding Titan to wipe out the memories of the people on the island. However, this did not effect some groups. That included a few Eldian nobles that also came along with the King, and clans like the Ackermans. While the noble families swore loyalty to the royals, the Ackermans rebelled. This conflict in the capital went on for a long time until Kenny Ackerman surrendered to Uri Reiss. A certain branch of the shogun from Hizuru was left behind on the island and formed the “Oriental” clan (that was also inevitably wiped out).

karl titan 1
Karl Fritz wipes the memories of Eldians on the island.

The people inside of the walls were made to believe that humanity outside the walls had been wiped off by titans. They had no idea that they were in fact on an island! They were kept in the dark until the efforts of the Survey Corps’ paid off, and Grisha Jeager’s diary uncovered the truth of the world.


The Eldians left in Marley were subjected to persecution. They were not only forced to live in internment zones but also wear arm bands to distinguish themselves. Moreover, they were victims of hate crimes and treated like vermin . A prime example being Grisha’s own sister. Marley managed to secure its place as the most powerful nation on the planet and turned into a military dictatorship. While most of the royal family left, the branch that disagreed with Karl’s actions chose to stay behind.

The “Warrior Programme” was the reason behind Marley’s success. This was a golden chance for Eldians to compete to inherit one of the six intelligent titans in control of Marleyan military and elevate their status to “honorary Marleyans”. Marley used titans to aid their campaigns and dominate world politics. The Warhammer Titan was allowed to remain with the Tybur family due to role they played in securing Marley’s rise. The Tyburs were the only family that did not have to wear armbands and lived in luxury outside of the internment zones.

The propaganda in Marley was high and the education was extremely anti-Eldian in nature. In fact, Eldians were made to pass on their ideology of atonement to their younger ones. However, this gave birth to the rise of the Eldian “restorationists”. This was a group of Eldians that wanted to rise up against Marley and establish Eldia again.

Moreover, a common form of punishment for Eldians was turning them into titans on Paradis and setting them free; which is precisely the horror that had worried the residents of the island for so long.


The Great Titan War is the reason why Attack on Titan exists today. Karl Fritz wanted to bring an end to the Eldian Empire. He came up with a plan with the Tybur family to introduce an imaginary hero called “Helos” to make it seem Marley defeated Eldia by force. Subsequently, Karl ended up leaving with some Eldians to the island of Paradis and used his powers to erase their memories. Those on the Marleyan continent believed the island Eldians to be “devils” and themselves as good Eldians for atoning for their sins.

gabi good eldians
Gabi talks about the motivation for many who joined the warrior training and mentions the “good” Eldian propaganda.

Isayama once against proved just how creative his mind is! Do you think the Great Titan War deserves its own spin-off? Let us know your opinions in the comments section!

Leave a Reply