Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. [84] This breach of the "absolute defense line", five months after its creation, led Tojo to fire Admiral Osami Nagano as the Navy Chief of Staff, for incompetence. Hideki Tojo was born on December 30, 1884 to a relatively low-ranking samurai family in the Kōjimachi district of Tokyo. [88] Despite the Japanese Pan-Asian rhetoric and claim to be liberating India, the Indian people did not revolt and the Indian soldiers of the 14th Army stayed loyal to their British officers, and the invasion of India ended in complete disaster. I think the forthcoming trials offer the best opportunity to do that. [39] Tojo was a militant ultra-nationalist, well respected for his work ethic and his ability to handle paperwork, who believed that the Emperor was a living god and favored "direct imperial rule", ensuring that he would faithfully follow any order from the Emperor. [63] By May 1942, Tojo approved a set of "non-negotiable" demands to be presented once the Allies sued for peace that allowed Japan to keep everything it already conquered while assuming possession of considerably more. [83] Bose had impressed Tojo at their meetings as the best man to inspire an anti-British revolution in India.[80]. Later, he justified himself to his chief cabinet secretary, Kenji Tomita: Of course His Majesty is a pacifist, and there is no doubt he wished to avoid war. In 1918–19, Tojo briefly served in Siberia as part of the Japanese expeditionary force sent to intervene in the Russian Civil War. [28] Both the Tōseiha and the Kōdōha factions were militaristic groups that favored a policy of expansionism abroad and dictatorship under the Emperor at home, but differed over the best way of achieving these goals. [90], In parallel with the invasion of India, in April 1944 Tojo began Operation Ichigo, the largest Japanese offensive of the entire war, with the aim of taking southern China. Prince Konoe had chosen Tojo—a man representative of both the Army's hardline views and the Control faction while being considered reasonable to deal with—to secure the Army's backing for his foreign policy. [44] Despite saying he favored peace, Tojo had often declared at cabinet meetings that any withdrawal from French Indochina and/or China would be damaging to military morale and might threaten the kokutai; the "China Incident" could not be resolved via diplomacy and required a military solution; and attempting to compromise with the Americans would be seen as weakness by them.[45]. The groundwork for the Allied occupation of a defeated Japan was laid during the war. [22], In 1934, Hideki was promoted to major general and served as Chief of the Personnel Department within the Army Ministry. During his tenure, he presided over numerous war crimes including the massacre and starvation of civilians and prisoners of war. [21] Like many other Japanese officers, Tojo disliked Western cultural influence in Japan, which was often disparaged as resulting in the ero-guro-nansensu ("eroticism, grotesquerie and nonsense") movement as he complained about such forms of "Western decadence" like young couples holding hands and kissing in public, which were undermining traditional values necessary to uphold the kokutai. Inside Unit 731, World War II Japan’s Sickening Human Experiments Program. [35] From December 1938 to 1940, Tojo was Inspector-General of Army Aviation. [77], At the same time as he sought a diplomatic effort to end the war with China, Tojo also approved of the planning for Operation Ichi-Go, a huge offensive against China intended to take the American air bases in China and finally knock China out of the war once and for all. Tojo was tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes and found guilty of, among other actions,[102] waging wars of aggression; war in violation of international law; unprovoked or aggressive war against various nations; and ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of prisoners of war. [51], The Emperor summoned Tojo to the Imperial Palace one day before Tojo took office. [10] Tojo's anger at the Treaty of Portsmouth left him with an abiding dislike of Americans. In August–September 1942, a major crisis gripped the Tojo cabinet when the Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō objected quite violently on August 29, 1942 to the Prime Minister's plan to establish a Greater East Asia Ministry to handle relations with the puppet regimes in Asia as an insult to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Gaimusho) and threatened to resign in protest. While there, he received a new set of dentures, made by an American dentist, into which the phrase "Remember Pearl Harbor" had been secretly drilled in Morse code. [24], Tojo was appointed commander of the IJA 24th Infantry Brigade in August 1934. 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"[99], After recovering from his injuries, Tojo was moved to Sugamo Prison. In a 1997 survey of university students in China asking "When somebody talks about Japanese people, what person do you think of? According to them, MacArthur and Brigadier General Bonner Fellers worked to protect the Emperor and shift ultimate responsibility to Tojo. [37] Kido's appointment also favored the rise of his allies in the Control faction. Following the 15th Army into India in the U-Go offensive were the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army, as the political purpose of the operation was to provoke a general uprising against British rule in India that might allow the Japanese to take all of India. Isoroku was overwhelmed by the wishes of his Emperor though, and Japan did indeed enter the war with the attack on Pearl Harbor in response to the United States' embargo and perceived threat. "[43] During the last cabinet meetings of the Konoe government, Tojo emerged as a hawkish voice, saying he did not want a war with the United States but portrayed the Americans as arrogant, bullying white supremacists. Tojo received Jewish refugees in accordance with Japanese national policy and rejected the resulting Nazi German protests. On November 26, 1941, the American Secretary of State Cordell Hull handed Ambassador Nomura and Kurusu Saburo in Washington a "draft mutual declaration of policy" and "Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement between the United States and Japan". World War II in the Pacific was a fight to seize and defend airfields. Tojo, in particular, should be made to bear all responsibility at this trial. [74] To strengthen his position in face of criticism of the way the war was going, on February 21, 1944, Tojo assumed the post of Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, arguing he needed to take personal charge of the Army. [citation needed] Two days later, on November 5, Hirohito approved the operations plan for a war against the West and continued to hold meetings with the military and Tojo until the end of the month. Japan's avarice and military aggressiveness landed them a spot in the top 3 Axis power in 1936, but not with Japan's full consent. [71] At the same time, Tojo, as the Army Minister, became involved in a clash with the Army chief of staff over whether to continue the battle of Guadalcanal or not. On October 14, the deadline had passed with no progress. [110][1], Tojo was sentenced to death on November 12, 1948, and executed by hanging 41 days later on December 23, 1948, a week before his 64th birthday. After Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945, U.S. general Douglas MacArthur ordered the arrest of forty alleged war criminals, including Tojo. [3] Under the bakufu, Japanese society was divided rigidly into four castes; the merchants, artisans, peasants and the samurai. Mao Tse Tung and Chiang Kai Shek, the two rival leaders in China's civil war, suspended their domestic struggle when Japan, which already occupied North-East China and Korea, invaded China's coastal region and heartland in 1937 and occupied a large part of them. [113], Historians Herbert P. Bix and John W. Dower criticize the work done by General MacArthur and his staff to exonerate Emperor Hirohito and all members of the imperial family from criminal prosecutions. [68] The American historian Stanley Falk described the Japanese system as characterized by "bitter inter-service antagonisms" as the Army and Navy worked "at cross-purposes", observing the Japanese system of command was "uncoordinated, ill-defined and inefficient". Hideki had an education typical of Japanese youth in the Meiji era. He did well at military college and served as a military attaché in Germany shortly after the end of World War One. But we have clumsily telegraphed our intentions. Six of the most disturbing "experiments" conducted by Unit 731, the gruesome biological and chemical warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese Army. [67] The Operations Bureaus of the Army and Navy would develop their own plans and then attempt to "sell them" to the other, which was often not possible. [68] Tojo was one voice out of many speaking at the Imperial GHQ, and was not able to impose his will on the Navy, which he had to negotiate with, as if dealing with an ally. [47] Following the advice of Kōichi Kido, he chose instead Tojo, who was known for his devotion to the imperial institution. Before his execution, he gave his military ribbons to one of his guards; they are on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. Hiromoto Ida portrays Tojo in the 2019 film, Grand Cordon of the Order of Auspicious Clouds, Manchukuo, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Pillars of State, Manchukuo, This page was last edited on 13 February 2021, at 03:07. [74] By this point, Tojo no longer believed the war aims of 1942 could be achieved, but he believed that his plans for victory in 1944 would lead to a compromise peace that he could present as a victory to the Japanese people. Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. Created by: Mariah Farris, Nicholas Meddin and Shelby Ziccardi, DaVinci Charter Academy. [84] When Field Marshal Sugiyama complained to the Emperor about being fired and having the Prime Minister run the General Staff, the Emperor told him he supported Tojo. Ugo Cavallero - Commander of the Italian Royal Army during World War II. In the Southwest Pacific, the Japanese forces in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands would stay on the defensive and try to slow down the American, Australian, and New Zealand forces for long as possible. 125th Emperor of Japan. A Leader Who Took Japan to War, to Surrender, and Finally to Peace. [39] Tojo was a strong supporter of the Tripartite Pact between Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy. Updated November 5, 2018. Initially against war, Yamamoto nevertheless planned and participated in many of the most important battles of the war. [100] The dentist ground away the message three months later.[101]. [95] After the fall of Saipan, he was forced to resign on July 18, 1944. But as we go into 1942, the United States has just entered into World War II. [94] Tojo was the Prime Minister, Minister of War and Chief of the Army General Staff, and was seen both in Japan and in the US as, in words of Willmott, "the embodiment of national determination, hardline nationalism and militarism". You might remember - December 1941, Japan goes on a major offensive, tries to knock out the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, attacks Wake Island, attacks Guam, attacks Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya. So I will fight the best I can. [91] Tojo had been so demonized in the United States during the war that, for the American people, Tojo was the face of Japanese militarism, and it was inconceivable that the United States would make peace with a government headed by Tojo. Tojo then replied to Ishii: "If the Emperor said it should be so, then that's it for me. A similar number had starved to death or died of diseases as the logistics to support an invasion of India were lacking, once the monsoons turned the roads of Burma into impassable mud. [97] Tojo suggested reorganizing his cabinet to regain Imperial approval, but was rebuffed again; the Emperor said the entire cabinet had to go. [73] In November 1943, the American public's reaction to the Battle of Tarawa led Tojo to view Tarawa as a sort of Japanese victory, believing that more battles like Tarawa would break American morale, and force the U.S. to sue for peace. [6] The purpose of the Meiji educational system was to train the boys to be soldiers as adults, and the message was relentlessly drilled into Japanese students that war was the most beautiful thing in the entire world, that the Emperor was a living god and that the greatest honor for a Japanese man was to die for the Emperor. An estimated 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the military during and immediately after World War II, about 18,000 in the 442nd and 6,000 as part of the MIS. [citation needed] After negotiations with Vichy France, Japan was given permission to place its troops in the southern part of French Indochina in July 1941. [47][48] By tradition, the Emperor needed a consensus among the elder statesmen or "jushin" before appointing a prime minister, and as long as former Prime Minister Admiral Keisuke Okada was opposed to Tojo, it would be impolitic for the Emperor to appoint him. As Home Minister, he ordered various eugenics measures (including the sterilization of the "mentally unfit"). [17] A stern, humorless man, Tojo was known for his brusque manner, his obsession with etiquette, and for his coldness. [92] The Japanese believed that indoctrination in bushido ("the way of the warrior") would give them the edge as the Japanese longed to die for the Emperor, while the Americans were afraid to die, but superior American pilot training and airplanes meant the Japanese were hopelessly outclassed by the Americans. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. But it has been decided. [65], While Tojo was prime minister, the main forum for military decision-making was the Imperial General Headquarters presided over by the Emperor. [78], In the Battle of Saipan, about 70,000 Japanese soldiers, sailors, and civilians were killed in June–July 1944 and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea the Imperial Navy suffered a crushing defeat. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. The Japanese made gaining and maintaining control of the air as much a requirement in their basic war strategy as they did the destruction of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. [91] Prince Konoe and Admiral Okada had long been plotting to bring down the Tojo government since the spring of 1943, and their principal problem had been the support of the Emperor, who did not wish to lose his favorite Prime Minister. [19] Tojo often visited the homes of the men under his command, assisted his men with personal problems and made loans to officers short of money. [8] Tojo liked to say: "I am just an ordinary man possessing no shining talents. [95], After the Battle of Saipan, it was clear to at least some of the Japanese elite that the war was lost, and Japan needed to make peace before the kokutai and perhaps even the Chrysanthemum Throne itself was destroyed. However, he was known to compensate for his observed lack of intellect with a willingness to work extremely hard. [63] Under such demands, Japan would assume control of the following territories: Additionally, Tojo wanted all of China to be under the rule of the puppet Wang Jingwei, planned to buy Macau and East Timor from Portugal and to create new puppet kingdoms in Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaya. [18] Tojo wrote with bitterness at the time that American whites would never accept Asians as equals and "It [the Immigration Control Act] shows how the strong will always put their own interests first. [95] The politically powerful Lord Privy Seal, Marquis Kōichi Kido spread the word that the Emperor no longer supported Tojo. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. ", the answer that most gave was Hideki Tojo, reflecting a lingering sense of hurt in China about Japan's wartime aggression. [49] During the meetings of the jushin regarding Prince Konoe's succession, Okada argued against Tojo's appointment while the powerful Lord Privy Seal Kōichi Kido pushed for Tojo. Politically, he was nationalist, and militarist, and was nicknamed "Razor" (カミソリ, Kamisori), for his reputation of having a sharp and legalistic mind capable of quick decision-making. [57] Hull proposed that Japan "withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces" from China and French Indochina in exchange for lifting the oil embargo, but left the term China undefined. [97] Finally Lord Privy Seal Kido resolved the muddle by saying Koiso was the Prime Minister. The forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II remains a stain on this nation’s deeply held belief in personal rights and the due process of law. However Yonai refused to serve, knowing full well that a Prime Minister who attempted to make peace with the Americans might be assassinated, as many Army officers were still committed to victory or death and regarded any talk of peace as treason. [56] The eventual plan drawn up by Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff envisaged such a mauling of the Western powers that Japanese defense perimeter lines—operating on interior lines of communications and inflicting heavy Western casualties—could not be breached. [24] In his essay Tojo wrote "The modern war of national defense extends over a great many areas" requiring "a state that can monolithically control" all aspects of the nation in the political, social and economic spheres. On the eve of the Asia-Pacific conflict, Tojo was an outspoken advocate for preemptively attacking the United States and its European allies. [10] In 1909, Hideki married Katsuko Ito, with whom he had three sons (Hidetake, Teruo, and Toshio) and four daughters (Mitsue, Makie, Sachie and Kimie). [33], After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident marking the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tojo ordered his forces to attack Hebei Province and other targets in northern China. [29] Emperor Hirohito himself was outraged at the attacks on his close advisers, and after a brief political crisis and stalling on the part of a sympathetic military, the rebels were forced to surrender. Find out more about the greatest Japanese Leaders, including Shinzō Abe, Akihito, Satoru Iwata, Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu. [62] The Army General Staff led by Field Marshal Hajime Sugiyama insisted on executing the eight American fliers, but were opposed by Tojo, who feared that the Americans would retaliate against Japanese POWs if the Doolittle fliers were executed. [86], On March 12, 1944, the Japanese launched the U-Go offensive and invaded India. Japan was already aligned with the Axis powers before World War 2 began, due to similar interests in expanding territory. Over the course of seven hours … Published November 2, 2017. Japan was able to expand her control over a large territory that expanded to the border of India in the West and New Guinea in the South within the following six months. [46], At the time, Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni was said to be the only person who could control the Army and the Navy and was recommended by Konoe and Tojo as Konoe's replacement. Hideki Tojo (December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association for most of World War II. And the next time I met him, he leaned even more toward war. The American-led prosecution immediately arranged that he be secretly coached to recant this testimony. [69], However, after the Battle of Midway, with the tide of war turning against Japan, Tojo faced increasing opposition within the government and military. Some Japanese leaders felt they needed to gain more land by conquering other countries. [75] China was by far the largest theater of operations for Japan, and with the Americans steadily advancing in the Pacific, Tojo was anxious to end the quagmire of the "China affair" to redeploy Japanese forces. When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the Japanese, despite a series of victorious battles, had still not brought their war in China to an end: on the one hand, the Japanese strategists had made no plans to cope with the guerrilla … Doubtless I shall die on board Nagato (his flagship). Famous People From Japan. [97] Tojo, aware of the intrigues to bring him down, had sought the public approval of the Emperor, which was denied; the Emperor sent him a message to the effect that the man responsible for the disaster of Saipan was not worthy of his approval. 23 December 1933. [93] The establishment of American bases in the Marianas meant the cities of Japan were within the range of B-29 Superfortress bombers and the British historian H. P. Willmott noted that "even the most hard-headed of the Japanese militarists could dimly perceive that Japan would be at the end of her tether in that case". [81] Tojo had some doubts about Operation U-Go, but it was ordered by the Emperor himself, and Tojo was unwilling to oppose any decision of the Emperor. Following Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers in September 1945, he was arrested, convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in the Tokyo Trials, sentenced to death, and hanged on December 23, 1948. 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