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The coup d'état (クーデター Kūdetā?) was a military uprising against the Royal Government in response to the growing efforts to dissolve the Survey Corps. This resulted in the old monarchy being overthrown and the Reiss family, the true royal bloodline, returning to prominence in the public eye with Historia Reiss being crowned Queen of the Walls.
The Survey Corps discovered the presence of a Titan inside of Wall Rose following the capture of the Female Titan. Due to the intervention of Minister Nick to prevent it from awakening, Commander Erwin Smith learned that there were people within the Walls aware of secrets hidden from the general populace.
Nick was taken with the Survey Corps when they left Stohess District and Hange Zoë placed him in the Trost District military barracks under a fake background while the operations to retrieve Historia Reiss and rescue Eren Yeager were in effect.
In the aftermath of the Wall Rose invasion, Dot Pixis met with a recuperating Erwin and discussed the evacuation situation. The emergency food supplies for Wall Rose's refugees were exhausted within a week. There were clashes with the Military Police and the people of the Walls got a glimpse of the tensions that could have boiled over had the breach been for real.
Levi Ackerman rebuilt his squad with a specialized task in mind, guarding Eren Yeager, who they now knew had the power to control Titans, and Historia Reiss who had a unknown connection to the secrets of the Walls. His new squad consisted of the remaining members of the top ten from the 104th Training Corps and Armin Arlert and they set up their base of operations in a remote forest cabin.
The Coup D'état
The First Interior Squad
Hange Zoë received word of Minister Nick's murder and rushed to the Trost District military barracks to discover an investigation by the Military Police Brigade. Though quickly pushed out of the crime scene, Hange saw that all of Nick's fingernails had been pulled out. She learned that the soldiers guarding the door, Djel Sannes and Ralph, were not local to Trost, but part of the Military Police's First Interior Squad.
They attempted to cover up the murder as a robbery because Nick was a Wallist and their holy objects were made of valuable iron, but in doing so they revealed they knew too much about him to be an unrelated party. Hange had listed Nick's background as a chairmaker on his room application and ensured that he had no belongings related to the Church of the Walls when he arrived.
Soon after, Erwin Smith took a carriage into the capital, Mitras, to speak with the chancellery. He invited Commander Nile Dok of the Military Police to come with him and asked him about the First Interior Squad and the murder of Minister Nick. Nile was unaware of the murder and told Erwin the First Interior Squad had a separate reporting structure independent from his branch of the Military Police. Erwin then warned Nile that their world was about to change and he would have to choose who to trust.
At the meeting with the chancellery, it became clear to Erwin that the government officials were not interested in protecting humanity so much as protecting their positions and their estates. Any threat to that, Titan or human, was to be eliminated.
Erwin sent word of his planned coup to the newly reformed Squad Levi. Levi Ackerman escaped along with his team members from their remote cabin before associates of the First Interior Squad could capture them. They headed for their rendezvous point in Trost where they found the town in terrible shape. People blamed the Survey Corps and the Titans for the loss of business and social stability. In the middle of a public confrontation, a carriage barged through and kidnapped two members of Squad Levi.
Having anticipated this, the kidnapped victims were not Eren Yeager and Historia Reiss, but a disguised Jean Kirstein and Armin Arlert. Levi and his squad tracked the kidnappers to their hideout and successfully captured their ringleader, who turned out to be Dimo Reeves, the head of the Reeves Company. Reeves confessed that he did not want to help the Interior Squad so much as he was forced to. He considered Trost his town and gave people work. If he had not cooperated, the company would have been seized by the government, his employees thrown into the street, and the lives of him and his subordinates would have been forfeit.
Understanding the stakes and Reeves' resentment of the Interior Military Police, Levi proposed a deal. They would hand over Eren and Historia so the Reeves Company could survive, and in exchange the Reeves Company would join the Survey Corps in opposing the Royal Government. In addition, the company would trust the Survey Corps and give them priority access to luxury goods. Reeves considered it a greedy bargain, but accepted. As the first part of that deal, he lured Djel Sannes and Ralph into a trap by promising them that he had Eren cornered in a cave. This allowed Levi and Hange's squads to kidnap them for interrogation.
At a different rural cabin from before, Hange and Levi tortured Sannes to inflict the same pain to him as he had to Minister Nick. Only after that did they ask about the importance of the Reiss family and why they were entrusted with the secret of the Walls rather than the royal family. Sannes refused to break. He admitted he should be killed for the torture he had inflicted and lives he had taken, but thanks to the First Interior Squad, the people within the Walls have never known war. Everything he had done to suppress knowledge and technology had been out of devotion to the king.
Outwardly disgusted by his willingness to die, Hange and Levi left Sannes strapped in his chair and exited the room, leaving the door open a crack. On the other side, they forced Ralph to read from a script while he was unaware that Sannes was close enough to hear. Following the script, Ralph confessed to talking to the Survey Corps and voiced disgust for Sannes and his fanaticism. The next morning, Hange and Levi returned to Sannes and found his spirit broken by Ralph's presumed betrayal. Sannes confessed the Reiss family was the true royal family within the Walls.
Five days after his summons to the chancellery, while Hange and Levi were busy with their interrogation, Erwin met with Dot Pixis to suggest the overthrow of the royal government. From the attempted kidnapping of Eren and Historia, it was clear the monarchy would do anything to obtain them with no regard to the security of its people.
Pixis was dismayed at the thought of humans turning against each other within the Walls. He acknowledged that the Survey Corps was likely capable of taking the capital by force, but there would still be a battle against the nobles of other regions and any remaining Military Police. Life under the current government had not been all that bad, even allowing for current circumstances. In a 107 years there had been no riots and the king was the symbol of that peace. Removing him would start a war.
Erwin confessed he did plan to replace the king, but he would do so without using an armed force and without killing, piquing Pixis' interest. He told Pixis a story about how his father had been killed by the Military Police for his unorthodox line of thinking. Erwin's father had a theory that the memories of the people of the Walls had been tampered with. Even if humanity had lost all written knowledge prior to their arrival 107 years ago, the first generation should have been able to teach that history to their children.
It had been only a hypothesis before, but given that Eren and the Female Titan had displayed a limited ability to control Titans, and that they now knew that humans and Titans were connected, Erwin concluded that Titans might not be the only thing affected by their "screams." The royal government's interference with Survey Corps activity only spiked after Eren manipulated the Titans. Erwin had hoped that there was no need for fighting between the Survey Corps and the government, but after his visit to the chancellery he found it to be too corrupt to be worth handing Eren over.
Nifa arrived shortly thereafter with the results of Hange and Levi's interrogation and handed their message over to Erwin, confirming his suspicions. They could replace the current king with Historia Reiss, of the true royal family.
Erwin formed a plan to track to track down Rod Reiss, Historia's father and the true ruler of the Walls. The Survey Corps would guarantee his safety in exchange for cooperation and see if Rod had an understandable reason for his actions. Erwin acknowledged that the Survey Corps could be wrong, but without knowing, they needed to press on and force people to recognize that the current system was a lie. Only then could they focus on reclaiming Wall Maria.
Pixis considered his words and told Erwin that as long as it was possible the government's secret could aid humanity, he could not allow Garrison soldiers to die in the operation. Without their knowledge, it was possible the military would not be able to successfully take their place. However he agreed to Erwin's proposal to let the officials show their true colors so they could decide whether or not they were worthy of the power they held.
Nifa returned to the cabin where Hange and Levi were hiding their squads to find that Hange had departed with a question for Erwin. To those remaining, which included Dimo Reeves and his son Flegel, Nifa explained Erwin's plan to replace the king. Though initially reluctant, Historia agreed to become queen.
The Survey Corps Hunted
Eren and Historia were handed over to Dimo Reeves as bait so Levi and Hange's squads could follow them back to Rod Reiss. However, the Interior Military Police who came to pick them up expected the deception. They removed the blades that would have allowed Eren to transform into a Titan and killed Reeves and his participating employees. Their captain, Kenny Ackerman, had Eren and Historia taken away and ordered his squad prepare their anti-personnel vertical maneuvering equipment. They departed without finding Flegel, who had witnessed the death of his father while in hiding.
Meanwhile, Hange met up with Erwin in the Survey Corps office in Trost District. Eren had remembered a portion of Ymir's conversation with Bertolt Hoover and Hange realized that it suggests the power of the Titans could be transferred from one person to another. If his "scream" ability could be transferred as well, then the government would likely have someone eat Eren rather than leave the power with someone like him.
Erwin handed a report to Hange with the results from a team that had been sent to infiltrate Lord Reiss' estate. Before she could read it, a soldier interrupted to let them know that the Military Police's First Interior Squad was demanding to meet with Erwin about a murder. Understanding that he might not get another chance, Erwin named Hange his successor as Commander of the Survey Corps.
In the middle of town, one of the Interior MPs confronted Erwin about the death of Dimo Reeves and two of his employees. The Survey Corps was blamed for their deaths, turning public opinion against them. All members were to cease activity and appear before the Military Police. As Erwin was taken away, Hange escaped and met up with Flegel, who was watching the commotion, fully aware that it was all a lie.
Two days later, Levi and the squads with him tracked Eren and Historia's kidnappers to Stohess District, where fliers were passed out by the Military Police announcing that the Survey Corps soldiers were murderers wanted by the authorities. Levi left the Special Operations Squad on standby while he, Nifa, Keiji, and Goggles staked out the inn where the Interior Military Police were staying in disguise. However, they were ambushed by the Anti-Personnel Control Squad led by Kenny and only Levi was able to escape alive.
Levi caught up with his squad, which had begun tailing the hearse carrying Eren and Historia and instructed them to abort the operation. He expected more ambushes ahead. Levi and Mikasa Ackerman held off the Anti-Personnel Control Squad long enough for everyone to escape.
That evening, Hange paid a visit to the Berg Newspapers where she found Roy and Peaure did not have much choice in what they reported, because the newspapers answer to the Royal Government and printing otherwise would endanger their friends and family. Because of that, she refrained from harming them, but told them that bowing to the government would not keep them safe. She asked them to, for one day, report the truth.
Back in the woods the following day, Squad Levi tried a different plan and captured Marlowe Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse of the Military Police Brigade, who had been sent out to arrest rogue Survey Corps members who had not turned themselves in. Levi planned to have Mikasa and Armin disguise themselves as Hitch and Marlowe and infiltrate the regular Military Police to find information on the Interior Squad. Marlowe protested though and offered to go himself, as he wanted to right any injustice done, and as an actual member of the Military Police he would be much more effective at getting information.
Levi did not feel he could trust him, but Jean asked if he could handle the situation. Jean led Marlowe and Hitch away from the others with the false intention of murdering them to keep their mouths shut. When Marlowe did not fight against him, even when he managed to get a hold of Jean's knife, Jean decided his intentions were sincere and the pair were allowed to help.
Meanwhile, in Trost District, Flegel was hunted by the Interior Military Police and cornered in an alley between some rundown buildings. He asked the Interior MP why they killed his father and why they were trying to kill him. The lead officer answered that they were cleaning up after Dimo Reeves failed to kidnap the people he was supposed to and helped the Survey Corps instead. Refusing the job would have had the same result as failure. The Interior MP also confessed that Reeves could have escaped safely with his family to the north, but stayed in Trost because he cared about the town and his employees.
After hearing this, Hange and Moblit Berner attacked the Interior Military Police to protect Flegel and asked if everyone heard his words. The rundown buildings were not uninhabited and the residents affirmed that they understood how the Interior Military had killed Dimo Reeves, how Reeves had tried to protect Trost, and that the Survey Corps had tried to help him.
The MP protested that even if the residents told everyone they knew, it would only be a rumor over in three days. The crown would decide the truth and a town like theirs could be wiped out. Flegel sat on the man's head to end his ranting and declared himself the new boss, taking over from his father, to the approval of the townspeople. Hange congratulated him and left cleaning up the MPs to Flegel.
Recognizing the truth in the MP's words, Hange asked Roy and Peaure, who were watching, if they would report what happened here. Roy did not want to, out of concern for his family,  but Peaure convinced him that the government did not care about protecting anyone and his family would be in danger either way.
The two go to press with the news and shortly afterwards Hange has them take the Berg Newspaper staff and their families to Trost where the Reeves Company would shelter them. Hange then went to the meeting place by the stables where Squad Levi had been on standby the previous day and met up with Hitch and Marlowe, who were waiting on Levi's behalf.
That evening, thanks to Hitch and Marlowe's investigation, Squad Levi was able to locate and assault an Interior Squad compound. However, they did not find Eren and Historia there. They escaped taking a captive with them, but did not get much out of him other than Kenny Ackerman's full name, which was a surprise for both Levi and Mikasa.
Audience with the King
Earlier that day, Nile visited Erwin in his cell to let him know that it was time for his audience with the king. He and the Survey Corps would be dealt with at the same time. Erwin had been beaten and was chained to the wall, but despite his present situation, he warned Nile that he had left something up to Pixis and that both Nile and the government officials would soon have to make a choice.
Erwin was then brought before the king and ranking members of the government. He defended the value of the Survey Corps as a weapon against the Titans and argued how disbanding them would be a mistake. If Wall Rose was breached there would be a civil war between the people of Wall Rose and Wall Sheena. The Survey Corps' job was to fight the Titans so that would not happen.
However, one of the officials pointed out that though Erwin had maintained his position even through questioning, it did not reflect the reality, where Levi had killed several members of the Military Police. The officials found no reason to tolerate such a group within the Walls. Erwin realized he had done all he could and the order was given to take him to the gallows.
As the Military Police prepared to take him from the room, Anka Rheinberger burst in and announced that the Colossus Titan and Armored Titan had breached Wall Rose. Refugees were already on their way to Wall Sheena. Pixis reacted immediately, sending soldiers to secure an evacuation route, but one of the officials countermanded his orders and called for the gates to Wall Sheena to be closed. Rather than risk a civil war due to the population influx, they would rather prevent anyone from getting inside.
Some of the Military Police began to follow orders to seal Wall Sheena, but Nile intervened and declared that he would side with Wall Rose. Darius Zackly entered the audience hall with an armed escort and announced that he would join him. The Commander-in-Chief assured the government officials that the breach of Wall Rose was a false announcement and Pixis explained that the proclamation had been a ruse to reveal the government's true colors. Had they sided with humanity Pixis and his soldiers would have confessed about the ruse and offered their lives. Even if the military knew nothing about the power of the Titans, they would be better rulers than a government willing to throw away half of humanity.
The officials protested that the rural aristocracy would not let this slide, but Zackly revealed that public knowledge of the false king, the framing of the Survey Corps, and the corruption of the old government had already been revealed in a special extra edition of the Berg Newspapers. Public opinion had turned against them. The soldiers arrested the members of the royal government and Erwin was set free.
Zackly then made a public announcement atop the gallows, informing the citizens of Mithras that the military had seized control of the government. Nile explained to the reporters present that the military's goal is to work with the true royal family to protect humanity from the Titans. The reporters were also free to ask whatever questions they liked now, as the men who used to silence them had been jailed. However, the general populace was still nervous about the change in power and whether the military would eventually relinquish it.
During a carriage ride away from the gallows, Erwin had second thoughts about the coup d'état. He asked Zachly why he had supported it, and Zachly admitted he hated the king and his men. Zachly had meant to give betray them at some point in his life, and whether the revolution was good or bad for humanity was of no interest him. He noted that Erwin felt the same, otherwise he would not have left the final gamble to Pixis. Erwin admitted that he had a dream from when he was a child.
That evening, Hange arrived at the the site where Levi and his squad had taken their captive, having been escorted there by Marlowe and Hitch. She brought with her a copy of the Berg Newspaper and announced that the charges against the Survey Corps had been dropped. Levi asked her how she managed to accomplish this and she said it was everyone's individual choices that made this happen.
Hange also had an idea where Eren and Historia were taken. She took out the envelope Erwin had given to her earlier, detailing reconnaissance the Survey Corps had done on Rod Reiss' estate. The night Wall Maria fell, a village chapel was supposedly burned to the ground by bandits who had murdered the Reiss family while they prayed inside. Only Rod Reiss escaped alive. However, the building was made of stone, so it should not have been destroyed without siege equipment of some kind. It did not make sense for bandits to destroy the chapel in the first place, and after the event happened, Rod Reiss paid to have to rebuilt immediately.
Only a few days after this had happened, Rod Reiss reconnected with Historia, leading Hange to believe this had something to do with why she was kidnapped. Levi concluded that it was likely her bloodline and the group agreed to investigate the chapel. Hange had suspected the someone would try to eat Eren to obtain his power. which caused Armin to wonder who Eren had eaten to get his own.
Meanwhile, Pixis met with Erwin and the Survey Corps soldiers who had been released from imprisonment. Pixis informed Erwin that all the captured government leaders were saying the same thing, that the Reiss family possessed the ability to alter humanity's memories. If Rod Reiss got a hold of Eren's scream ability, the entire coup would be undone. Erwin took the soldiers with him and they rode for the chapel to find Eren.
Battle of the Chapel
Levi and those with him prepared to enter the chapel and face the Anti-Personnel Control Squad, which was waiting for them in the underground chamber below. The group sent barrels of gunpowder and bags of oil down the stairs, setting fire to them to fill the chamber with smoke, reducing visibility and the usefulness of firearms. After a concerted attack, the Survey Corps managed to drive back the Anti-Personnel Squad and chased them deeper into the cavern.
As his rescuers were preparing to retrieve him, Eren woke up to find himself gagged and chained in an underground cavern with Historia and Rod Reiss, who helped him recover memories he inherited from his father, Grisha. On the night Wall Maria fell, Grisha found the Reiss family beneath the chapel and transformed into a Titan. He ate Historia's sister Frieda in order to steal her Titan and slew all other members of the Reiss family except for Rod.
Frieda's Titan had created the three Walls and altered humanity's memories. If she had lived, she could have prevented their current situation; the breached Walls, the civil war, and all the human lives that had been lost. Her Titan now resided inside of Eren and Rod wanted to transfer that power to Historia, because it could only be fully used by descendants of the Reiss family.
Kenny Ackerman entered the cavern to express his disappointment that he would be unable to use the power himself. Disgusted with Rod's attempt at generosity and Historia's self-righteousness, Kenny left them alone and walked over to Eren. He removed his gag and cut his forehead so Eren would be wounded and able transform, hoping that Eren and Historia would then fight to the death. But Eren did not. Feeling guilt over his father's actions and how many people had already died to protect him, Eren asked Historia to eat him to save humanity.
Historia considered the words of the people closest to her and decided to smash the syringe that would have changed her into a Titan that could devour Eren. She threw her father over her shoulder to leave him groaning on the floor and grabbed his bag with the injection materials and ran to free Eren. Distraught over the betrayal, Rod licked the contents of the broken syringe as he lay on the floor, causing himself to transform into a Titan. The winds created by his transformation were strong enough to blow Historia away before she could free Eren.
However, Levi and his squad arrived in time to save her and get the keys to Eren's chains. They worked together to free him and managed to do so before a chunk of the ceiling smashed into the outcropping where he was chained moments ago. The ceiling began to cave in due to the sheer size of Rod's Titan and the squad's escape was blocked. Eren apologized for his uselessness, but Levi and Historia goaded him into taking matters into his own hands. He got up and grabbed a bottle labeled "Armor" that had fallen out of Rod's bag and broke it between his teeth as he transformed into a Titan. This allowed him to harden his Titan and create pillar-like structures that supported the collapsing cavern without disappearing even after he was extracted.
The group climbed out through the opening made by the collapse and follow Rod Reiss' Titan on wagon and horseback. Eren suggested allowing himself to be eaten again since Rod Reiss was of the right bloodline, but Historia argued against it. The Reiss family had tried to undo the First King's brainwashing for decades and as soon as Rod gets the power of the Titans he could erase everyone's memories again. The current situation had the potential to be humanity's best hope, because the Progenitor Titan had been taken away from the people who would left humanity ruled by Titans.
Battle of Orvud District
The group reunited with Erwin and fell back to Orvud District to prepare for the Titan's arrival. To prevent the Titan from circumventing Orvud and going straight for the larger population in Mitras, the Survey Corps convinced the Garrison not to evacuate the city and to prepare to fight.
As dawn arrived, Historia walked out on top of the Wall to participate in the battle, against the wishes of Levi and Erwin. She was determined not to be a ruler in name alone. Meanwhile, Hange, Moblit, and members of the Special Operations Squad stacked barrels of gunpowder together on a net of rope in preparation for the arrival of Rod Reiss' Titan. They also prepared two small carts carrying a load of gunpowder with triggers and a harpoon-like anchor that could be reeled in like vertical maneuvering equipment.
When the gargantuan Titan arrived, the Garrison used their cannons to shell it, but were unable to do any lasting damage. As the Titan reached the base of Wall Sheena, the wind changed, blowing hot air from the Titan's body up to the Garrison soldiers on top of the Wall. The Titan began to climb, buttressing its oversized body against the Wall for support as it lifted itself upright. Levi dismissed the Garrison soldiers and the Survey Corps took over the defense. They drenched themselves in water to stave off the heat and Eren transformed into a Titan.
At Erwin's signal, Sasha Blouse and Armin fired their carts laden with gunpowder into the Titan's hands, knocking it off balance. Eren then charged forward with the net containing the barrels of gunpowder. He hurled it into the open mouth of the Titan, which was hot enough to cause the gunpowder to spontaneously combust. The Titan's head and upper body exploded, sending chunks of the Titan flying into the air.
The Survey Corps used their vertical maneuvering equipment to attack the pieces in hopes of cutting the nape before the Titan could regenerate. Historia cut through the correct piece, finishing off her father and ending his rule. When she was greeted by the citizens of Orvud, she declared herself by name as the true ruler of the Walls.
Historia was crowned queen of the Walls, though in practice the military became the true power of the state. However, even as a figurehead, Historia was admired by the people for having vanquished the Titan and being a caring individual. She used her family budget and assets seized from the deposed politicians to start a farm to care for orphans and other people in need.
The military punished those of the old order, imprisoning them and their families. Differing levels of taxation were levied against noble families who cooperated and those who did not, preventing them from joining together.
Despite the fact that the Interior Military Police was supposed to have destroyed any advances in technology, some of them had preserved records in secret. This led to the eventual development of the Thunder Spears, which would prove instrumental in the Battle of Shiganshina District.
The shining stones from the cavern beneath the Reiss family chapel became a common source of light for the population, allowing work to continue at all hours, even after dark. Additionally, Eren's newfound hardening powers led to the development of the Titan guillotine, which eventually allow the Titans to be eliminated from Wall Maria within a year. Eren's hardening ability was also used to plug the breach in Shiganshina.
The Titan injection saved by Kenny Ackerman and entrusted to Levi would also be brought to the Battle of Shiganshina District, to be used on a soldier should the opportunity present itself.
Due to the successful coup, the Survey Corps enjoyed popular attention that it never had before and recruits from other branches of the military flocked to join their ranks. Among them was Marlowe Freudenberg, who left the Military Police.