Hideki Tojo was a Japanese politician, general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and convicted war criminal who served as prime minister of Japan and president of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association for most of World War II.
61 Facts About Hideki Tojo
Hideki Tojo assumed several more positions including chief of staff of the Imperial Army before ultimately being removed from power in July 1944.
Hideki Tojo was born on December 30,1884, to a relatively low-ranking former samurai family in the Kojimachi district of Tokyo.
Hideki Tojo began his career in the Army in 1902 and steadily rose through the ranks to become a general by 1934.
Hideki Tojo was born in the Kojimachi district of Tokyo on December 30,1884, as the third son of Hidenori Tojo, a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Hideki Tojo's father was a samurai turned Army officer and his mother was the daughter of a Buddhist priest, making his family very respectable, but poor.
Hideki Tojo had an education typical of Japanese youth in the Meiji era.
In 1905, Hideki Tojo shared in the general outrage in Japan at the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the war with Russia, and which the Japanese people saw as a betrayal as the war did not end with Japan annexing Siberia as popular opinion had demanded.
Hideki Tojo served as Japanese military attache to Germany between 1919 and 1922.
Hideki Tojo boasted that his only hobby was his work, and he customarily brought home his paperwork to work late into the night, and he refused to have any part in raising his children, which he viewed both as a distraction from his work and a woman's work, having his wife do all the work of taking care of his children.
In 1924, Hideki Tojo was greatly offended by the Immigration Control Act passed by the American Congress banning all Asian immigration into the United States with many congressmen and senators openly saying the act was necessary because the Asians worked harder than whites.
Hideki Tojo began to take an interest in militarist politics during his command of the 8th Infantry Regiment.
Hideki 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.
In 1934, Hideki Tojo was promoted to major general and served as chief of the personnel department within the Army Ministry.
Hideki Tojo wrote a chapter in the book Hijoji kokumin zenshu, a book published in March 1934 by the Army Ministry calling for Japan to become a totalitarian "national defense state".
Hideki Tojo attacked Britain, France and the United States for waging "ideological war" against Japan since 1919.
Hideki Tojo ended his essay stating that Japan must stand tall "and spread its own moral principles to the world" as the "cultural and ideological war of the 'imperial way' is about to begin".
Hideki Tojo was appointed commander of the IJA 24th Infantry Brigade in August 1934.
In September 1935, Hideki Tojo assumed top command of the Kempeitai of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria.
Hideki Tojo was a member of the Toseiha in the Army that was opposed by the more radical Kodoha faction.
Hideki Tojo was promoted to chief of staff of the Kwantung Army in 1937.
Hideki Tojo received Jewish refugees in accordance with Japanese national policy and rejected the resulting Nazi German protests.
Hideki Tojo was recalled to Japan in May 1938 to serve as Vice-Minister of War under Army Minister Seishiro Itagaki.
From December 1938 to 1940, Hideki Tojo was Inspector-General of Army Aviation.
On July 30,1940, Hideki Tojo was appointed army minister in the second Fumimaro Konoe regime and remained in that post in the third Konoe cabinet.
Hideki 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.
Hideki Tojo was a strong supporter of the Tripartite Pact between Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy.
Prime Minister Konoe then held his last cabinet meeting, where Hideki Tojo did most of the talking:.
However, Hirohito thought that he might be able to control extreme opinions in the army by using the charismatic and well-connected Hideki Tojo, who had expressed reservations regarding war with the West, although the emperor himself was skeptical that Hideki Tojo would be able to avoid conflict.
Hideki Tojo said that any compromise solution would only encourage them to make more extreme demands on Japan, in which case Japan might be better off choosing war to uphold national honor.
The result was a compromise where Hideki Tojo would become Prime Minister while "re-examining" the options for dealing with the crisis with the United States, though no promise was made Hideki Tojo would attempt to avoid a war.
Hideki Tojo continued to hold the position of army minister during his term as prime minister from October 17,1941, to July 22,1944.
Hideki Tojo served concurrently as home minister from 1941 to 1942, foreign minister in September 1942, education minister in 1943, and minister of Commerce and Industry in 1943.
The Japanese historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi noted this document proves that Hideki Tojo was aware of and approved of the "comfort women" corps.
The Army General Staff led by Field Marshal Hajime Sugiyama insisted on executing the eight American fliers, but was opposed by Hideki Tojo, who feared that the Americans would retaliate against Japanese POWs if the Doolittle fliers were executed.
Additionally, Hideki 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, Indonesia, and Malaya.
Hideki 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.
However, after the Battle of Midway, with the tide of war turning against Japan, Hideki Tojo faced increasing opposition within the government and military.
Hideki Tojo went to see the Emperor, who backed the Prime Minister's plans for the Greater East Asia Ministry, and on September 1,1942, Hideki Tojo told the cabinet he was establishing the Greater East Asia Ministry and could not care less about how the Gaimusho felt about the issue, leading Togo to resign in protest.
The American historian Herbert Bix wrote that Hideki Tojo was a "dictator" only in the narrow sense that from September 1942 on, he was generally able to impose his will on the Cabinet without seeking a consensus, but at the same time noted that Hideki Tojo's authority was based upon the support of the Emperor, who held ultimate power.
Until then the War Ministry required special permission to take "comfort women" without papers, and Hideki Tojo was tired of dealing with these requests.
Hideki Tojo sacked the Operations office and his deputy at the general staff, who were opposed to withdrawing, and ordered the abandonment of the island.
In September 1943, the Emperor and Hideki Tojo agreed that Japan would pull back to an "absolute defense line" in the south-west Pacific to stem the American advance, and considered abandoning Rabaul base, but changed their minds in face of objections from the Navy.
In late 1943, with the support of the Emperor, Hideki Tojo made a major effort to make peace with China to free up the 2 million Japanese soldiers in China for operations elsewhere, but the unwillingness of the Japanese to give up any of their "rights and interests" in China doomed the effort.
China was by far the largest theater of operations for Japan, and with the Americans steadily advancing in the Pacific, Hideki Tojo was anxious to end the quagmire of the "China affair" to redeploy Japanese forces.
In January 1944, Hideki Tojo approved of orders issued by Imperial General Headquarters for an invasion of India, where the Burma Area Army in Burma under General Masakazu Kawabe was to seize the Manipour and Assam provinces with the aim of cutting off American aid to China.
Hideki Tojo decided to take the strategic offensive for 1944 with his plans to win the war in 1944 being as follows:.
Hideki Tojo expected that a major American defeat in the Marianas combined with the conquest of China and India would so stun the Americans that they would sue for peace.
Hideki Tojo had some doubts about Operation U-Go, but it was ordered by the Emperor himself, and Hideki Tojo was unwilling to oppose any decision of the Emperor.
In parallel with the invasion of India, in April 1944 Hideki Tojo began Operation Ichigo, the largest Japanese offensive of the entire war, with the aim of taking southern China.
Hideki 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".
Hideki Tojo had powerful support, and by Japanese standards, he was not extreme.
The jushin had advised the Emperor that Hideki Tojo needed to go after Saipan and further advised the Emperor against partial changes in the cabinet, demanding that the entire Hideki Tojo cabinet resign.
Hideki Tojo suggested reorganizing his cabinet to regain Imperial approval, but was rebuffed again; the Emperor said the entire cabinet had to go.
Hideki Tojo stated only another general could serve as Prime Minister, and recommended General Kuniaki Koiso in his place.
Two days after Hideki Tojo resigned, the Emperor gave him an imperial rescript offering him unusually lavish praise for his "meritorious services and hard work" and declaring "Hereafter we expect you to live up to our trust and make even greater contributions to military affairs".
Hideki Tojo accepted full responsibility for his actions during the war, and made this speech:.
Hideki 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.
The sustained intensity of this campaign to protect the Emperor was revealed when, in testifying before the tribunal on December 31,1947, Hideki Tojo momentarily strayed from the agreed-upon line concerning imperial innocence and referred to the Emperor's ultimate authority.
Ryukichi Tanaka, a former general who testified at the trial and had close connections with chief prosecutor Joseph B Keenan, was used as an intermediary to persuade Tojo to revise his testimony.
Hideki Tojo's commemorating tomb is located in a shrine in Hazu, Aichi, and he is one of those enshrined at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.