Was Attack on Titan Inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan is a global hit and one of those modern anime series that (re)defined the genre and made it more popular worldwide. The dystopian setting, the great fights, and the overall idea of the whole story all make Attack on Titan somewhat of a modern masterpiece. The story follows Eren Yeager, who vows to retake the world after Titan brings about the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother. Due to the series’ popularity, in this article, we have decided to discuss its inspiration, which is why you will find out whether the conflict between Israel and Palestine inspired Attack on Titan.
No, Attack on Titan was not inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The influences are mostly European and have references to fascism and Nazism, and no direct inspirations are taken from the situation in Israel and Palestine. There are some similarities between Attack on Titan and this conflict, but they are not intended and can be attributed to the fact that almost all wars and conflicts are alike.
The rest of this article will simply elaborate further on the answer we have given you. We are going to give you more information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as we are also going to explain how it is related to the influences and inspirations behind Attack on Titan. Some spoilers might be present in this article, so we simply wanted to warn you before reading.
How could the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have influenced Attack on Titan?
The current conflict in the region goes back in particular to the clashes between the Arab and Jewish national movements before and during the British Mandate period. The Zionist movement, which arose mainly because of the ongoing persecution of European Jews, organized large waves of Jewish immigration (Aliya) intending to finally end the centuries-long diaspora in Palestine. However, this led to an ever-increasing conflict between Arabs and Jews in the region, both of whom saw Palestine as their rightful home.
Cornerstones of the conflict are the failed UN partition plan of 1947, the 1948 Palestine war or the Nakba, and the resulting Palestinian refugee problem on the Arab side and a Jewish refugee problem on the Jewish side too. Around 750,000 Jews were exiled from Arab states and mostly became Israeli citizens, while a similar number of Palestinian Arabs were expelled from Israel/Palestine and fled to surrounding Arab states. Most of their now approximately 5 million registered descendants live today because they are denied citizenship as stateless persons in Lebanon and Syria, a third of them in official refugee camps.
Jordan naturalized all Nakba refugees but not those from the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinian national consciousness had existed since the mid-1920s at the latest. The Six-Day War followed in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the founding of the PLO, which the United Nations officially recognized in 1974 as the “representative of the Palestinian people” and the establishment of the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, which have not yet been recognized as a state under international law.
The conflict with Israel, which continues today, resulted from the Palestinians’ diplomatic and armed striving for a nation-state, as promised to them in the UN partition plan. Palestinian organizations are striving for different goals. Fatah, as the strongest faction of the PLO, is striving for a two-state solution, radical Islamic terrorist organizations such as B. Hamas, on the other hand, want the destruction of Israel and a Palestinian or pan-Arab state that should at least extend over present-day Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The first and second Intifada are among the violent conflicts fought out between Israel and Palestinian organizations. Palestinian organizations and the Israeli army were also involved in various other military conflicts and wars in which they fought each other before the intifadas, most notably in 1978 and 1982 during the decades-long Lebanese civil war. In addition, violent conflict is characterized by ongoing asymmetric warfare.
The Israeli army responded to terrorist attacks by the Palestinians on civilian targets, including suicide attacks, with the military operations Operation Cast Lead 2008 and Operation Protective Edge 2014, which led to numerous civilian casualties among the Palestinians and are therefore controversial as to their necessity and proportionality.
Was Attack on Titan inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Now that you have read about the conflict itself, you might notice that there are a lot of similarities between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the world of Attack on Titan. There is a dominant majority which seems to be fighting an oppressed minority, but that minority was the majority at some point in history. There are walls, constant raids, uprisings, and social and ethnic conflicts… all of that sounds quite similar to what is going on in Israel and Palestine.
But, while the similarities cannot be denied, it is a fact that Attack on Titan is not based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The culture and the world of Attack on Titan are based on Europe and not the Middle East, as observed in the architecture, the culture, and the characters. Regarding politics and ideology, the ideas presented in Attack on Titan look more like the militaristic ideals of interwar Europe, especially in relation to fascism and Nazism, than anything else. And this has been the primary inspiration for the world of Attack on Titan, and not the situation in Israel and Palestine.
But why does it all seem so similar, you might ask? Well, that is simply the harsh reality of war. War is a horror that hits wherever and whenever it happens. All wars create victims and devour lives, which is a sad truth that can be observed anywhere, in any conflict. There’s always a belligerent group, usually a more powerful majority, and an oppressed group, usually the minority, and there is mutual conflict and mutual horror.
This is simply a harsh reality, and that is why the stories are so similar and why there are a lot of wars and conflicts that you could compare with Attack on Titan, but Isayama was clearly inspired by European history for his lore.