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General Tojo, Hideki

Hideki Tojo was born in 1884. He was chief of staff to the Kwanyung Army in Manchuria in 1937 and became a member of the cabinet (under a special dispensation) the following year. In 1940 he became Minister of War in the government of the moderate Prince Fumimaro Konoye (Konoye, Fumimaro) and negotiated the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. On 17 October 1941 he became Prime Minister. He retained his post as Minister of War and was also Chief of Staff of the Army, thus securing complete control of the conduct of the coming war. One of his first achievements was to force the French Vichy government, the administration Hitler permitted in the southern part of the country after the German victory in 1940, to allow the Japanese to occupy French Indo-China (Vietnam and Cambodia). With Russia now occupied in fighting Germany which had invaded in breach of the treaty with the Soviet Union in June 1941, Tojo looked south to secure the raw materials vital to Japan by establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere by force. He maintained the pretence of negotiating with the USA until the very day the Hawaii Operation attacked American bases on Oahu. He resigned on the day Saipan fell, 18 July 1944. After the defeat of Japan he was tried as one of seven war criminals, found guilty and hanged in 1948.

See also: Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; Hawaii Operation; Konoye, Prince Fumimaro; Oahu