Known within the army as “Razor Tôjô” both for his bureaucratic efficiency and for his strict, uncompromising attention to detail, he climbed the command ladders, in close association with the army faction seeking to upgrade and improve Japan’s fighting capabilities despite tight budgets and “civilian interference.” Tôjô built up a personal power base and used his position as head of the military police of Japan’s garrison force in Manchuria to rein in their influence before he became the Kwantung Army’s chief of staff in 1937.
He played a key role in opening hostilities against China in July.
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In 1928 he was made commander of the lst Infantry Regiment, members of which participated in a mutiny of the .
Tōjō succeeded Konoe as prime minister on October 18, 1941, and pledged his government to a Greater East Asia program, a “New Order in Asia.” He retained control of the Ministry of War and was also minister of commerce and from 1943.
His views were shared by many in the public and in the 1930’s the army and all it represented was held in much greater esteem that politicians in general.
He led his country’s war efforts after the attack on the U. The successful Allied invasion of the so weakened his government, however, that he was removed as chief of staff on July 16, 1944, and on July 18 he and his entire cabinet announced their resignation.
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Wartime leader of Japan’s government, General Tôjô Hideki (1884-1948), with his close-cropped hair, mustache, and round spectacles, became for Allied propagandists one of the most commonly caricatured members of Japan’s military dictatorship throughout the Pacific war.
Shrewd at bureaucratic infighting and fiercely partisan in presenting the army’s perspective while army minister, he was surprisingly indecisive as national leader.