Friday, February 21, 2014

This Day in WWII History: Feb 21, 1944: Tojo makes himself "military czar"

On this day, Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan, grabs even more power as he takes over as army chief of staff, a position that gives him direct control of the Japanese military.

 File:Hideki Tojo.jpg

After graduating from the Imperial Military Academy and the Military Staff College, Tojo was sent to Berlin as Japan's military attache after World War I. Having earned a reputation for sternness and discipline, Tojo was given command of the 1st Infantry Regiment upon returning to Japan.

 Portrait of Hideki Tojo, circa 1905

 Inaugural Party for the newly appointed War Minister Seoshiro Itagaki, 1938; note Naval Minister Mitsumasa Yonai at left of photo and Vice War Minister Hideki Tojo at right of photo

In 1937, he was made chief of staff of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, China. When he returned again to his homeland, Tojo assumed the office of vice-minister of war and quickly took the lead in the military's increasing control of Japanese foreign policy, advocating the signing of the 1940 Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy that made Japan an "Axis" power.

Attendees of the Greater East Asia Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 5 Nov 1943, photo 1 of 2; left to right: Ba Maw, Zhang Jinghui, Wang Jingwei, Hideki Tojo, Wan Waithayakon, José Laurel, Subhas Chandra Bose

 Hideki Tojo, date unknown

In July 1940, he was made minister of war and soon clashed with the prime minister, Prince Fumimaro Konoye, who had been fighting for reform of his government, namely, demilitarization of its politics.

File:Hideki Tojo lands in Manila.jpg

In October, Konoye resigned because of increasing tension with Tojo, who succeeded him as prime minister. Not only did Tojo keep his offices of army minister and war minister when he became prime minister, he also assumed the offices of minister of commerce and industry.

Tojo, now a virtual dictator, quickly promised a "New Order in Asia," and toward this end supported the bombing of Pearl Harbor despite the misgivings of several of his generals. Tojo's aggressive policies paid big dividends early on, with major territorial gains in Indochina and the South Pacific.


But despite Tojo's increasing control over his own country--tightening wartime industrial production and assuming yet another title, chief of staff of the army, on February 21, 1944--he could not control the determination of the United States, which began beating back the Japanese in the South Pacific.

When Saipan fell to the U.S. Marines and Army on June 22, 1944, Tojo's government collapsed.

Upon Japan's surrender, Tojo tried to commit suicide by shooting himself with an American .38 pistol but he was saved by an American physician who gave him a blood transfusion.

 General Hideki Tojo after trying to commit suicide and failing.September 8,1945
Hideki Tojo being treated by Americans at SCAP hospital in Tokyo, Japan after his failed suicide attempt, 11 Sep 1945

 Hideki Tojo receiving his death sentence, Tokyo, Japan, 12 Nov 1948

He was convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal and was hanged on December 22, 1948.


Taken from: [21.02.2014]

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