Despite years of searching for truth in his world and putting his life on the line, Eren Yeager decides to betray humanity and commit global genocide by using The Rumbling.
What decisions lead up to Eren deciding to sacrifice the world in favor of the small Eldian population living on Paradis Island?
- Why Did Eren Leave the Scouts?
- Why Did the Survey Corps Lose Trust in Eren?
- Paradis Island After the Uprising Arc
- Why Do Eldians Fight for Marley?
- Why Did Colt and Falco Become Warriors?
- Why Did Pieck and Porco Become Warriors?
- Why Did Pieck Betray Eren?
- The Sheep Beast Titan Tom Ksaver
- Why Did Zeke Yeager Become the Beast Titan?
- Why Did King Fritz Erase His Subjects’ Memories?
- Why Do Eldians Hate Paradis Island?
- Annie Leonhart the Adopted Child
- Why Did Shadis Sacrifice Himself?
- Why Did Willy Tybur Hate Eldians?
- Why Did Eren Decide to Destroy the World?
- Will Eren Save Humanity?
- Do Eldians Beyond the Walls want to Live on Paradis Island?
Why Did Eren Leave the Scouts?
Eren decided to leave the scouts after realizing that they would never take action against the forces threatening Eldians on Paradis Island.
Despite receiving numerous briefings of the Global Allied Forces mounting an attack on their tiny island, Commander Hange refused to act.
The Scouts refused to believe people they had never met harbored such a deep hatred for their existence, despite their encounters with the majority of the hostile Anti-Marleyan volunteers now kept as prisoners.
Why Did the Survey Corps Lose Trust in Eren?
The Survey Corps lost trust in Eren simply because Eren set up the Raid on Liberio knowing he was the island’s biggest asset – and forced the Scouts to support his act of war by manipulating their longstanding mutually beneficial relationship in order to preserve his life.
Based on intel from Kiyomi Azumabito about a meeting held in Marley by a group sympathetic to the Eldian cause, the Survey Corps set out for a trip to ‘the other side’ of the sea. Commander Hange is even excited about the journey, remarking that the Survey Corps was finally “getting back to their roots” and exploring what lies outside their walls.
Things quickly go south the day of the meeting, leading Eren to believe that trying to win people over for Paradis Island’s cause is useless – as even the Eldians in Liberio and Marley viewed those from the island with vitriol.
In Marley, Eren abandons the Survey Corps and decided to meet up with his brother Zeke.
Going undercover as a wounded Eldian soldier, Eren has Falco Grice deliver letters from the internment zone so that his military plans contained within are never found by authorities. Eren and Zeke plan the Raid on Liberio to happen after Willy Tybur’s speech where he was set to declare a global war on Paradis Island.
Despite having four years to plan for incoming aggressions and war against Paradis Island during Marley’s extended war with the Mid-East Allied Forces, Commander Hange and the military do nothing. Eren decided to take the first strike against their enemies by staging the Raid on Liberio, which was always destined to result in Sasha Braus’ death.
Paradis Island After the Uprising Arc
Mistrust of the government and tyranny of the Military Police characterize Attack on Titan’s Uprising Arc.
Things got better when Historia was installed as a (puppet) Queen and enacted various initiatives for orphans and the common people, but the Survey Corps arguably dropped the ball on maintaining the goodwill built after the old regime’s coup.
In AoT anime Season 3, Hange uses the press to give the people of Paradis Island back the memories the 145th Fritz King stole from them. In Season 4, Hange decidedly turns her back on the press – allowing the public perception of the scouts to sour.
This causes the people to riot in the streets after news of Eren’s imprisonment by the military is leaked to the press, and in turn garners support for the symbol of hope Eren Yeager came to be known as on the Island.
In Hange’s cowardice she turned her back on the people of Paradis Island and their public sentiment, which allowed an opening for the Yeagerists faction to infiltrate her own military organization, and eventually control the entire Island with Zeke and Eren as its leaders.
The Need for a Uniting Enemy in Wartime
When the walls broke, a quarter of humanity (including Armin’s grandpa) were sent to die due to political strife and infighting over food.
Historia’s initiatives to help orphans with ‘nowhere to go’ by confiscating noble lands for agriculture reduced the chances of another population purge happening. Despite this, Paradis is still a small island nation – who just learned that they are indeed on an island, and that seafood exists.
“…if a nonpowerful, non-human enemy appeared, humanity would probably unite and stop fighting itself…”Dot Pixis, SnK Ch 12
Paradis Island becomes Yeagerist, and the Survey Corps later betray the defensive order its citizens desired in lieu of their own collectively shared passive ideologies on war.
When Commander Hange and the venerated Heroes of Shiganshina should have turned their attention to protecting their homeland as they had against the titans, they instead sided with the rest of the world (and the 145th King’s Ideology) for their own genocide.
Why would the Survey Corps Actively Save so Many Lives Just to Condemn them All to Death Years Later?
I would like to add here that although no Eldians across the sea have expressed interest in living on Paradis, the island cannot support a large population on its own accord. The economy and food reserves have only recently stabilized after the Fall of Wall Maria and the successful coup of the Old Regime that installed Historia as Queen.
Despite knowing this through their own shared experience as destitute orphan children meant to work on farms until they were old enough to join the military, Mikasa and Armin advocate for the Eldians and other innocent people outside of their walls who would be ‘crushed to death’ by The Rumbling.
Mikasa and Armin do not, however, advocate for the innocent people saved and comrades defended on Paradis Island during:
The Battle of Trost
The Battle Against the Female Titan in Stohess District
Zeke’s Attack within Wall Maria (which saved Kaya Braus)
Zeke and Pieck’s Attack on Ragako Village (leaving only Connie’s mom ‘alive’)
The Comrades’ defense from Warrior attacks at Utgard Castle
The Fight Between Paradis Military Forces and the Colossus and Armored Titans atop Wall Rose for Eren
Commander Erwin’s Charge into the Titan Forest to save Eren
The Retrieval of Eren and Historia during the Royal Government Arc
The Defense of Orvud District from Rod Reiss’ malformed titan
The Lives Saved with reclaimed land and population expansion thanks to the Retake of Shiganshina District
Amongst other military operations and planned attacks in order to preserve the people and spirits of Eldians on Paradis Island.
Hate From the Outside
I know it was a while ago, but both the anime and manga talk about the conditions of Eldians worldwide.
Why Do Eldians Fight for Marley?
Eldians volunteer to fight for Marley and expand its territories because they are taught from birth to hate themselves.
Using fear and a surveillance state, the Maryleans take eligible Eldian children and use blackmail and internalized guilt to force parents into submitting their children to the military in hopes that their service ‘absolves them’ of past Eldian sins.
Marley is the most lenient of the nations, tolerating Eldians in the Liberio internment zone in exchange for service in their army. The Eldians in Liberio are conditioned from an early age that it is an honor to fight and die for Marley, and for the privilege of absolving even a fraction of Eldia’s alleged past sins.
Of course, not all Eldians believe the Marleyan propaganda – and have other goals for joining Marley’s military forces.
Why Did Colt and Falco Become Warriors?
For Falco and Colt, they had to ‘atone’ for their uncle’s crimes when he helped Grisha Yeager and the Eldian Restorationist shown in Season 3.
Eren finds out Falco joined the Marleyan military to protect Gabi Braun, the ‘girl he likes ‘ in Season 4.
Colt joins the military as well for the political reason mentioned above, and for the personal reason of keeping safe and protecting his little brother, Falco.
Why Did Pieck and Porco Become Warriors?
Pieck became a warrior to access medicine that would heal her sick father.
Porco wanted revenge for his brother Marcel’s death, and to prove himself the better man against Reiner Braun.
Why Did Pieck Betray Eren?
When Pieck told Eren she would ‘betray’ Marley by pretending to be on Paradis’ side, Pieck cited her father as the reason she enlisted to become a warrior.
Moments earlier, Pieck explained to Gabi that the two were not ‘Honorary Marleyans’ but Subjects of Ymir.
Despite this revelation, Pieck still turns on Eren and Paradis Island.
Because Pieck trusts the comrades she has fought alongside more than the people of Paradis – a bunch of strangers who despite sharing a common bloodline, are not worth saving compared to the people she has lived with and been around her whole entire life in Marley.
Everyone has their own reasons for fighting for or against Marley– from the Mid-Eastern soldiers afraid and praying on the battlefield during their conflict with Marley – to people like Zeke Yeager and his mentor Xaver.
The Sheep Beast Titan Tom Ksaver
After his wife found out he was an Eldian, the unnamed woman slit her and their son’s throat. Tom ‘Xavier’ Ksaver then volunteered for the Marleyan Military as a ‘glorified way’ to commit suicide.
Unless…of course that was a mere cover story, and Tom Ksaver was actually a secret Eldian Restorationist sent to enlist Grisha and then his son Zeke for their mission.
Read: Was Zeke Targeted by Tom Ksaver to Inherit the Beast Titan?
Why Did Zeke Yeager Become the Beast Titan?
Zeke was chosen by his father figure Tom Ksaver to inherit the Beast Titan based on a similar ideology they shared. Both men desired to end Eldian suffering by committing mass sterilization of their race based on their own feelings of self-hatred and inadequacy in life.
Xaver essentially groomed Zeke from an early age, playing baseball with him while his real father Grisha was too busy receiving messages from the Owl and growing the Eldian Restorationists.
The ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ successfully twisted Zeke’s childhood mind and made him believe his parents abandoned him and that Xaver was all Zeke had left.
Believing his father didn’t love him, Zeke became a triple agent for Marley.
Zeke played the dutiful soldier role while hiding his true motives behind the political theatre of ‘saving the Eldian race’ with the euthanasia plan.
Zeke on an even deeper level committed those atrocities just to save his baby brother, Eren, from his perceived feelings of Eren never being loved by their neglectful father, Grisha.
Why Did King Fritz Erase His Subjects’ Memories?
Despite making the infamous ‘Vow to Renounce War’ against the outside world, Karl Fritz unleashed an unstoppable internalized hatred within Subjects of Ymir worldwide.
Due to his personal philosophy and desire to live in peace, the 145th Fritz King created a false ‘paradise’ surrounded by three gigantic walls. There, the King stole his subjects’ memories and lived in isolation from the public.
King Fritz’ will caused future royal possessors of the Founding Titan to go insane by forcing inheritors to ignore Marley’s continued aggression and war against the Eldians of Paradis Island.
The 145th Fritz King’s Legacy of Hate
Internalized feelings of hatred, abandonment, and contempt amongst Eldians worldwide who were left behind by King Fritz and made to suffer for crimes committed 2000 years ago.
Why Do Eldians Hate Paradis Island?
The Eldians around the world hate the Eldians on Paradis Island because they are jealous of their relative freedom.
Feeling ‘left behind’ when the 145th Fritz King retreated from Marley to build ‘a Paradise’, the Eldians left on the mainland have suffered a century of hardship because of their blood.
Jealousy of Eldians Beyond the Walls
When we are introduced to Karina Braun for the first time, she says something important: Karina mentions feeling that the Eldians of Marley were “left behind” by the 145th Fritz King while their brethren got to live in ‘Paradise’.
While the Walls have their own issues (like class disparity, infighting, economic issues, and man-eating titans just outside the walls…) it does not compare to raising kids only meant to enlist and die for missions of Marleyan imperial conquests.
It does not compare to blood tests weeding out innocent Subjects of Ymir to be sent to internment camps or even turned into mindless titans against their will worldwide.
While Gabi finally recognizes that those on Paradis Island are not devils, who is to say everyone else will? Gabi had to live amongst the Wall Eldians and still in the end, her loyalty lies with Marley.
Falco, too – despite knowing the truth when he overheard Reiner and Eren’s conversation during Willy Tybur’s speech in Liberio, still chose to side with Marley in the end.
The Case of Karina Braun
It’s no secret to manga readers that Karina Braun is trash.
No matter how you look at it, Karina was willing to sacrifice her son Reiner just so that (at least she) could become an Honorary Marleyan to be with the man she loved.
While Karina (half) apologizes for doing this, the damage was already done to Reiner’s psyche.
Annie Leonhart the Adopted Child
Annie Leonhart and Reiner Braun are both mixed-blood Eldians that exhibited extreme mental issues based on their conflicting identities.
Reiner could not recognize himself as an Honorary Marleyan or Subject of Ymir, or a Soldier or a Warrior – and dissociated through various mental breakdowns because his mind was unable to merge the two realities.
Annie on the other hand, was abandoned by both of her biological parents.
I believe the manga alluded to her Marleyan-Eldian parents having an affair that resulted in her being left in the Liberio internment zone to be adopted by whomever. Due to her circumstances in life, Annie was adopted and raised by an abusive man that only had a change of heart after she crippled him after being fed up with his repeated antagonization.
This resulted in Annie being apathetic about both sides in the war – only wishing to return home to the father she never really had and live out a fantasy brought about in her traumatized mind.
The Effects of Brainwashing a Population
How many more Eldians are like this living in Marley? Around the world?
How many more times would you have situations like Gabi and Falco – infiltrating and pretending to be ‘Mia’ and ‘Ben’ on Braus farm?
Juxtaposed to these situations, we have the ‘Wall Eldians’ of Paradis – just recovering lost memories from 100 years ago.
The Eldians of Paradis want to reach out to humanity – only to be berated by soldiers and citizens indoctrinated by Marleyan propaganda and jealousy that they never had to ‘atone’ for their “collective sins”.
Why Did Shadis Sacrifice Himself?
Due to his own personal feelings of inadequacy and a personal dislike for the Yeagerist regime, Keith Shadis turns on his own people and aided Theo Magath in the destruction of Paradis Island by sacrificing himself.
It is an understatement to say that Keith Shadis was a shell of a broken man. Shadis failed as Commander of the Survey Corps, and lost the eye of Carla, the woman he loved to Dr. Grisha. Shadis took this frustration out on their son Eren when he joined the military by breaking his ODM gear to humiliate him.
Sure, Keith saved Eren and brought him down from the mountains after Grisha transferred the Attack and Founding Titan to his son, but years later sabotaged him during military training.
Eren then becomes an integral pawn for the military, and eventually forms and becomes the leader of Paradis’s Yeagerist faction with his half-brother, Zeke.
Floch Forster, wanting to clear out the old regime (just as the Scouts and their compatriots had done during their Royal Government Coup in Season 3) noticed new recruits still under Shadis’ training who were already sympathetic to the Yeagerist cause.
Shadis does not admonish the young recruits for siding with the Yeagerist faction and beating him up. Instead, he applauds them on their strength and advises them that there are times to stand, and times to fall.
Which is a nice message, before you consider the same recruits he said comforting words to most likely were the recruits Shadis personally blew up on the train full of reinforcements while helping his enemy, Theo Magath destroy Paradis Island.
Shadis and Magath Team Up
When Shadis agrees to help Magath, the two soldiers of opposing states exchange names. Magath wishes the Eldian kids he drove to war, degraded and generally treated like crap could have grown up and just been ‘regular’ kids in another world.
Just kids like Gabi, who would literally die for Marley in place of actual ethnic Marleyans who want expanded territory, but as Magath said to Willy Tybur “refuse to fight for the homeland themselves”.
In other words, Magath only cares about his Eldian comrades – same as Pieck only cared about hers – and those Marleyans (like Magath) that she struggled with.
Why Did Willy Tybur Hate Eldians?
Willy Tybur proclaimed he hated Eldians because in reality, he only hated himself.
The Tybur family turned against Eldia during the Great Titan War, and for their betrayal were awarded the luxury of keeping the Warhammer Titan in their family, and controlling Marley from the shadows.
Helos’ hatred of his own Eldian blood may be a projection of his unconscious guilty mind as his Warhammer Titan would retain memories of the war, and Willy himself has knowledge that Eldians living on Paradis Island had their memories stolen by the king.
Thus, Willy consciously knew the Eldian people on Paradis were no threat to the world, yet advocated for their destruction anyway.
In the manga, after Willy makes his statement about “being born into this world” the panel cuts to Zeke – implying both men felt the same about being born Eldian.
This also adds another layer to Zeke and Willy’s personal vendettas against the Eldian people in general.
When Willy Tybur makes his declaration to exterminate the Eldians of Paradis – the ire of the world’s hatred – he is met with applause. A fair is even thrown in Marley’s Eldian internment camp Liberio, where the Eldians of Marley eat ice cream in celebration of the incoming extermination of their people living in Paradis.
Now to bring the argument that Eren is justifying for betraying humanity full circle:
Why Did Eren Decide to Destroy the World?
Eren decided to destroy the world and commit a global genocide all based on the meeting between Eldians and their advocates during the Survey Corps trip to Marley.
Kiyomi told the scouts that there were groups sympathetic to the Eldian cause and that maybe Paradis – a nation with no allies – may be able to petition and find aid from other countries on the global stage.
Note: Kiyomi gives this advice despite the Azumabito clan not supporting Eldia financially, proposing restrictive trade that is unbalanced, and only really wanting Paradis’ ice burst crystal resources – with the support of their Princess Mikasa being treated as a consolation prize.
When the plight of Eldians comes up, it is argued that those in Liberio should be protected, but not the ‘Island Devils’. This argument marked a perceived distinction between Eldians worldwide and Eldians who left with the 145th Fritz King to Paradis.
It was then that Eren realized the hatred for Eldians (especially on Paradis) would never end, and it would be better to just destroy the world leaving only Eldians from the island “that bore and raised him”.
Eren’s Depression and Mental Illness Explored (the ‘founding titan sickness’)
Despite suffering a deep depression after receiving his father’s memories and being met with an incompetent military and cowardly friends, Eren still was not completely resolved to commit genocide on the world.
Eren thought of his mother, and what Carla would think about his decision. Eren then met Ramzi, watched a pregnant woman buy groceries, and really decides to weigh all of the innocent lives he would potentially take away in this genocide.
But still – Eren just could not accept the complete annihilation of Paradis. He could not accept an end like that.
Will Eren Save Humanity?
No, Eren Yeager will not save humanity. And he is better off letting the old world filled with hatred be trampled underfoot by titans in The Rumbling.
Half the Eldians across the world blame Paradis for their suffering and want them dead. Another fraction of the Eldian population hates themselves and would rather they all die (ex: Zeke Yeager, Willy Tybur, Tom ‘Xaver’ Ksaver, Grandpa Yeager, Karina Braun, Reiner Braun, etc.) than continue living.
A large portion of the outside world (like the anti-Marleyan volunteers for example) are fine with the Eldian extermination if it is for “the greater good”.
Another large percentage of the world simply hates Marley, and wants all of their Eldians and Eldian Warriors to fully go extinct so that they can no longer colonize the world and be threatened by Founder Ymir’s Power of the Titans.
Amidst all of this chaos, there is an even smaller fraction of people like Falco.
Genuinely good people, who despite knowing what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ will still go along with the majority because they have friends, family, and even a potential lover to protect…who all happen to live in Marley. Or insert this situation onto any of the other countries across the world we have never even seen or heard about in the Attack on Titan series.
Just for one last nugget I forgot to point out, do you remember how the Mid-East Allied Forces called the Eldian Warriors and soldiers whoresons and demons?
And how Udo, an Eldian boy who appeared to also have Mid-Eastern ancestry and speak their language, was shunned and mistreated by what should have been his own people?
Udo even translated to Falco the vulgar things they were saying as Falco tried to help doctor their wounds.
Do Eldians Beyond the Walls want to Live on Paradis Island?
Out of this entire series – both manga and post timeskip in the anime – has an Eldian character outside of Paradis Island EVER mentioned even having an inkling or desire of moving to Paradis Island?
Did Zeke Yeager really voluntarily choose to live on (the primitive) Paradis for the remainder of his Beast Titan term, or was he taken prisoner by the Paradis Island military forces against his will?
Have any Eldians outside of Paradis sent word that they wanted to help the Wall Eldians?
Have any Warrior or Alliance members expressed getting their families to move from Marley to Paradis Island for their safety?
Or, has there always been an effort from Eldians abroad to always get back to their adopted homeland of Marley to defend and protect it from outside threats like the Yeagerist, who only wanted to be free?
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2 thoughts on “Why Did Eren Yeager Betray Humanity?”
For me, the reason Erin chose to destroy the world was to simply save his friends. When he gained the memories of the warrior titans, past, present, and future, he saw the outcomes available to him. He realised that the only way for Mikasa to live her full life was for him to do what he did. He did it even knowing that it would lead to his death at her hands. It’s not the best reason ever, but it made sense to him.
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I can respect that.
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