Hideki Tojo

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Hideki Tojo (1884-1948) was a General of the Imperial Japanese Army and Prime Minister of Japan 1941-1944, replaced by the Prince Konoye government after the fall of Saipan. He was executed for war crimes in 1948 by order of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.

The son of an Army officer, he went the Army Cadet School in 1899 and then the Japanese Military Academy, graduating in 1905 was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. He rose rapidly through professional assignments, completing the Army Staff College in 1915 and being assigned, as a captain, to command the 3rd Imperial Guards Regiment. Between 1919 and 1920, he was a military attache in Switzerland, promoted to major, and then military attache in Germany until 1922.

Next, he joined the Army Staff College faculty, was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and joined Imperial General Headquarters in 1928, and promoted to colonel. He took command of the 1st Infantry Regiment in 1929, and returned to staff duty with the Army Chief of Staff in 1931. He was promoted to major general in 1933 (Japan did not use the brigadier general rank) and became chief of the influential Personnel Department. He took command of the 34th Infantry Brigade in 1934.

Between 1935 and 1937, he commanded the kempetai in Manchuria, establishing it as a political as well as military security police.


While a military attache, he attended the first meeting of the Three Crows, who were all attaches themselves, in Germany in 1921. This was a military faction that intended to modernize the Japanese military, purging it of samurai traditions and the Chosu Clan. The rival Satsuma Clan had gained power when Hirohito married a Satsuma princess. He was the protege of the senior Crow, Tetsuzan Nagata. [1]

He became a prime mover in the Tōseiha or Control faction, a group that opposed the more right-radical Kodoha (Imperial Way Faction). Toseiha supported the Strike-South plan for Imperial expansion. Control sought expansion through military and economic development, while Imperial Way, still interested in expansion, sought a spiritual renewal first.

Prime Minister

He became Prime Minister of Japan, replacing Prince Konoe.

Tojo resigned on 16 July 1944. He was replaced by Koiso Kuniaki, and a succession of governments.


  1. David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, p. 326