Hideki Tojo

Military Leader / Political Figure / World War II Figure

Born: 1884
Died: 23 December 1948 (execution by hanging)
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Best known as:

Japanese Prime Minister during World War II

Hideki Tojo was the Army general and prime minister who led Japan through much of World War II and was later executed as a war criminal. In the 1930s, Hideki Tojo fought in the Sino-Japanese war, leading Japanese forces in occupied Manchuria. He returned to Tokyo in 1940 and held ministerial posts, where he urged an alliance with Germany and Italy against the Allied forces. Tojo became Japan's Prime Minister in 1941 and within two months ordered a surprise attack on U.S. naval forces in Hawaii. (The subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor was planned by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.) Tojo served as the political and military leader of Japan until 1944, when it was clear the direction of the war had changed for the worse. He was forced to resign, which he did on 18 July 1944. After the war he attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest, but he was found by American soldiers and his life was saved. He was tried by a post-war military tribunal, which found Tojo guilty of war crimes. He was executed by hanging on 23 December 1948.

Extra credit:

Hideki Tojo's nickname was "The Razor."

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