Hideki Tojo

Hideki Tojo was born in Tokyo, Japan, on 30th December 1884. He joined the Japanese Army and his military service included periods in Switzerland and Germany.

Promoted to major general in 1933 be became head of the Kwantung Army's military police in September 1935. After becoming a lieutenant general he became chief of staff to the Kwantung Army (March 1937-May 1938).

In May 1938 Fumimaro Kondoye appointed Tojo as his vice minister of war. However, after six months in this post he returned to the armed services and took command of the army's aviation.

Tojo held extreme right-wing views and was a supporter of Nazi Germany. He also feared the long-term plans of Joseph Stalin and in 1938 he advocated pre-emptive air strikes on both China and the Soviet Union.

In July 1941 Tojo was appointed by Fumimaro Kondoye as minister of war. He advocated an aggressive foreign policy and strongly opposed plans by Shigenori Togo to remove Japanese troops from China and Korea.

Tojo became prime minister on 16th October 1941. He initially backed the foreign office's efforts to reach agreement with the United States. However, when convinced that a negotiated deal was possible, ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December, 1941.

As well as prime minister Tojo also held the posts of minister of war, home minister and foreign minister. From February 1944 he was also Commander in Chief of the General Staff.

Tojo, aware that Japan was unable to win the war, resigned from office after the loss of Saipan in July 1944. He shot himself in the chest just before he was arrested by the US Military in 1945. Tojo survived and after being nursed back to health was tried as a war criminal. Hideki Tojo was executed on 23rd December 1948.

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