Hideki Tojo A Japanese leader

Hideki Tojo

Hideki Tojo was born in Tokyo on Dec. 30, 1884

Hideki Tojo was a Japanese general and premier during World War II

He symbolized, in his rise to leadership of the Japanese government, the emergence of Japanese militarism and its narrow minded view of the world.

In mid-1940 Tojo was appointed war minister. He proceeded at once to sign the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. Relations with the United States gradually worsened as he moved his military south but he kept to his stubborn beliefs.

When he spoke for the army command, Tojo demanded a decision for war unless the United States backed away from its embargo on all exports to Japan. But the command was not ready and when prime minister Konoe hesitated, Tojo told him that "sometimes it is necessary to shut one's eyes and take the plunge." He however, was reluctant and resigned.

On November 2, Tojo and Chiefs of Staff reported to Hirohito that his decision was fine. The Emperor then gave his consent to war.

The next day, Fleet Admiral Osami Nagano explained in detail the Pearl Harbor attack plan to Hirohito. The eventual plan drawn up by Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff was to terrorize the U.S. This plan included the attack of Pearl Harbor on the U.S. On November 5, Hirohito approved the operations plan for a war against the West and continued to hold meetings with the military and Tojo.

Tojo continued to hold the position of Army Minister during his term as Prime Minister, from October 17, 1941 to July 22, 1944. He also served concurrently as Home Minister from 1941–1942, Foreign Minister in September 1942, Education Minister in 1943, and Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1943.

Japan supported Tojo and his radical militant intentions until the momentum changed to favor the U.S. when Japan lost the battle at Midway.

To strengthen his position, in February 1944, Tojo assumed the post of Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. However, after the fall of Saipan, he was forced to resign on July 18, 1944.

After Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945, U.S. general Douglas MacArthur issued orders for the arrest of the first forty alleged war criminals, including Tojo.

Tojo was tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes and found guilty of the following

Count 1 (waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law)

Count 27 (waging unprovoked war against the Republic of China)

Count 29 (waging aggressive war against the United States of America)

Count 31 (waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth of Nations)

Count 32 (waging aggressive war against the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Count 33 (waging aggressive war against the French Republic)

Count 54 (ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others)

Tojo before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East

Hideki Tojo accepted full responsibility in the end for his actions during the war, and made this speech:

Tojo was sentenced to death on November 12, 1948 and executed by hanging 41 days later on December 23, 1948.


Created with images by Boston Public Library - "Mobilizing the great army of invasion - soldiers preparing to leave for Manchuria, Tokyo, Japan" • born1945 - "Fifty Years of Light and Dark" • WikiImages - "pearl harbor ship warship"

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