Tojo Hideki
(1884-1948)

Born in Tokyo, Japan on December 30, 1884. The son of an army general, he graduated from the Japanese Military Academy in 1905, the year that Japan destroyed the Russian Pacific navy and established herself as a military power. He married in 1909 and entered the Army War College thre years later. Worked his way up the army ladder until 1924 when he served in the War Ministryand then was appointed commander of the First infantry Regiment in Tokyo in 1929

In autumn 1935 he was transferred to the Japanese-controlled puppet state of Manchukuo, formerly Manchuria in Northern China where he was made miliary police commander of the of the Kwantung Army (the Japanese forces in Manchuria) and two years later appointed Chief of Staff of the Kwantung. His performance in the province was impressive and more importantly came to the attention of those in power. Upon his recall to the Japanese capital he became vice-minister for war and on July 22, 1940, Tojo entered the cabinet as war minister, strongly supporting the Tripartite Act between Imperial Japan, Hitler's (qv) Germany and Mussolini's (qv) Italy.

The decision by the United States in July 1941 to embargo Japan following news of the invasion of Saigon put the two powers on a collision course. The shake up forced the resignation of Prime Minister Konoye Fumimaro and on October 17th Tojo became Premier- while simultaniously keeping the war portfolio. Negotiations with the United States falterend over a period of seven months with the cabinet seeing fewer and fewer options save war. The decision was made and on December 7th the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour was attacked and virtually destroyed. The capitulation of Manila, Hong ong ans Singapore followed shortly afterwards. The war went Japan's way until July 1944 when Saipan fell, leaving the home islands within range of US bombers and forcing Tojo to resign.

After Japan's defeat he attempted to commmit suicide but failed, being brought to trail infront of a tribunal in May 1946. The trial lasted two years and on December 23 1948, having been found guilty mistreatment of POWs and of unprovoked attacks against Japan's neighbours he was executed.

Length of Rule - Four years

Related Links

Tojo's Prison diary

Books

The Dark Valley

Piers Brendon

Tojo, The Last Banzai

Courtney Browne

Warlord

Edwin P Hoyt

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