Hideki Tojo

1884-1948

// Biography of Hideki Tojo.


// 

A French magazine, L'Illustration, published in 1905, a photograph of a Japanese general taken a trench opened on the outskirts of Mukden, during the Russo-Japanese War. A photo that has not stopped surprising since it, and contrary to what the idea was in vogue at the time, appeared wearing a military uniform, European-style, smoking and equipped with a very modern binoculars. 

An image that alerted the world to the fact that the Japanese have an army equipped with modern equipment and with which it would be necessary in a more or less near future after a possible conflict. General Hideki Tojo - the man who as a soldier and statesman dragged Japan into the war in the Pacific following Pearl Harbor - is a product of the renewal of the Nipponese Army.



Military attaché in Germany

Hideki Tojo was born in Tokyo on December 30, 1884, son of a family well established in life. He graduated from the Imperial Military Academy with the rank of lieutenant. At age 35, in 1919, Tojo was appointed military attache of the Embassy of Japan in Germany. A destination that one last year about the end of World War II, was not the most appropriate place for a young soldier. Still, Tojo learned, with the remnants of a defeated army and nearly dismantled, many lessons that would serve him for the future. For her and for their country. 

In 1928 he was appointed commander in chief of the First Infantry Regiment who, eight years later, he took active part in the mutiny of February 26. It was in these troubled years, in which an ultra-conservative and distinctly authoritarian government tried by all means slowing the left and the pre-peace movements, that Tojo assumed the leading role and cemented his career, taking an active part in almost all missions of repression. 

The following year, in 1937, is appointed commander of the Headquarters of the Police and shortly thereafter assumed the leadership of the Army Staff of Kuangtang, integrated Chinese province in Manchuria occupied by Japan during the Russo-Nipponese conflict of 1904 - 1905 and abandoned at the end of World War II.



President of the Government

In July 1940, Prince Konoye offers the folder in the government's War led by you. Fuminaro Konoye, a descendant of an influential feudal family, was seen in the West as an individual with expansionist ideas whose objectives were achieved at the expense of China. Dissolved political parties, instituted what he called a new order for East Asia. 

He lacked, however, an agreement with the United States, failure that cost him the place. On 16 October 1941 Konoye is replaced by General Tojo at the head of the executive that immediately calls itself the objectives of the new order and begins the approach to the principles espoused by the member countries of the Axis. Konoye, who came to occupy the vice presidency of the Japanese government's first post-War, ended up committing suicide to be included in the list of war criminals. 

 

As for Tojo, absolute master of the destinies of Japan, gives the order to attack Pearl Harbor. The December 7, 1941 - the day of infamy, as he called Roosevelt - marks the beginning of the war against the United States of America. 

Tojo starts to govern the country with an iron hand, accumulating the head of the government with the Chiefs. 

Giving the green light to plans of the Navy, the Japanese forces take Hong Kong December 25, Manila drops to 2 January 1942, Singapore February 15 and March 9 Java The pace only slows the progression Japanese in Burma, After you watch the first defeats of the hitherto invincible army nippon, May 8 defeated in the battle in the Coral Sea, on June 5 at Midway. The following year nipónicas troops are forced to withdraw from Guadalcanal, and in May, they have to evacuate Aluetas. 

During this time, Tojo was concentrating new powers in his hands, creating a Ministry of War Material and substituting the association created by Konoye by another political assistance to the Emperor (Yokusansejikai). 

The war machine ridden by Tojo begins to crumble to June 15, 1944, which coincides with the conquest of Saipan in the Mariana Islands, the troops commanded by MacArthur. This achievement, which marks the end of American progression from island to island, the United States will have a basis for the super fortress B-29 that enables them to launch attacks against the capital nipónica. 

As if not enough military failures, Tojo saw himself faced with a delicate social situation inside. The growing food shortage was dramatic, forcing rationing to push the boundaries close to the minimum essential for the survival of the citizens. The age of incorporation for 17 years now. Measures that did not prevent or Tojo's resignation, the July 22, 1944, or the annihilation of the Nipponese Army and Navy. The Americans take, successively, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The coup de grace is given with the release of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.



Defeat and resignation

Resigning, Tojo not admitted, nor morally, the defeat of Japan His attitude was appealing, without measuring the consequences of their attitude, the continuation of the war. A persistence paid with lives of their fellow citizens, especially those who served as a target to three atomic bombs dropped by the Americans. Still, nothing suggests that the other had been the course of events the war would not have extended time with the greatest sacrifice of human lives. This is indeed one of the justifications put forward by President Roosevelt to attack with atomic weapons against Japan, arguing that the continuation of hostilities with the unique feature of conventional weapons would cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers. 

When you abandon all their positions occupied, Tojo retires to his home and only comes back to hear his name several days after Shigemitsu and MacArthur have signed terms of unconditional surrender of Japan Tojo, in order to draw retains responsibility for all acts committed by his country during the war - freeing the Emperor from any suspicion - decides to commit suicide. Not so-traditional (the harankiri) but with one shot. An attempt that failed but still not spare to a tragic end. 

Tojo was included in the list of war cirminosos delivered to MacArthur with the recommendation to implement an exemplary manner and with the utmost rigor of the decisions contained in the Potsdam Declaration. In the list, along with Tojo, figured more than a hundred names, although the number of primary responsibility was limited to 28, three of whom have died and one was crazy. In the list consisted of 28, obviously, the name of Hideki Tojo. 
 

 

MacArthur, however, did not share the principles underlying the legal figure of war criminals: The principle of considering war criminals, the political leaders of a war was lost, to me, disgusting. I considered taking this action violated the most elementary principles of criminal law. So the thought and it even made ??it clear, stressing that criminal responsibility should fall entirely responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, this action practiced without the prior declaration of war as required by international law and customs.



Judgment and accusation

With this position, MacArthur stole to any liability in the proceedings that followed. At the end of the trial of Tokyo, whose session began on May 3, 1946, MacArthur gave orders to prohibit photographers capturing of images of the execution of those condemned to capital punishment, claiming that a contrary decision would offend the sensibilities of the Japanese people. 

Is this why Hideki Tojo, found guilty of all charges brought against him and sentenced to hang, was not photographed on the scaffold. 

The last night of his life were spent writing poems - in the romantic tradition in Japan. In one, Tojo, then aged 62, depede to his wife with the following verse: I hope for you, lotus flower, on the other side. 

Tojo was hardly a charismatic leader or as little, had distinguished himself as General, for their heroism or of their popularity. There never was a Hitler or a Mussolini. Limited to the role of the General Staff, ambitious but too formal. No one seemed to be thrilled with his death on the gallows or, as with other figures, a myth arose around his name. The only image that kept him was the sneak attack against Pearl Harbor on the day of infamy.



The english version of this article will be available soon. In the meanwhile, the text above was the result of a Google translation from portuguese version to english.