Seishirō Itagaki

Last updated
Seishirō Itagaki
板垣征四郎
Seishiro Itagaki.jpg
Minister of War of the Japanese Empire
In office
3 June 1937 30 August 1939
Monarch Shōwa
Prime Minister
Preceded by Hajime Sugiyama
Succeeded by Shunroku Hata
Personal details
Born(1885-01-21)21 January 1885
Morioka, Iwate, Japan
Died 23 December 1948(1948-12-23) (aged 63) executed by hanging
Sugamo Prison, Japan
Military service
AllegianceMerchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Empire of Japan
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg  Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1904–1945
Rank General
Commands
Battles/wars

Seishirō Itagaki(板垣 征四郎,Itagaki Seishirō, 21 January 1885 – 23 December 1948) was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II and a War Minister. Convicted of war crimes, he was executed in 1948.

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Contents

Overview

Itagaki was born in Morioka city, Iwate prefecture into a samurai class family formerly serving the Nanbu clan of Morioka Domain. He graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1904. He fought in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905.

<i>Samurai</i> military nobility of pre-industrial Japan

Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.

Nanbu clan

The Nanbu clan was a Japanese samurai clan who ruled most of northeastern Honshū in the Tōhoku region of Japan for over 700 years, from the Kamakura period through the Meiji Restoration of 1868. the Nanbu claimed descent from the Seiwa Genji of Kai Province and were thus related to the Takeda clan. The clan moved its seat from Kai to Mutsu Province in the early Muromachi period, and were confirmed as daimyō of Morioka Domain under the Edo-period Tokugawa shogunate. The domain was in constant conflict with neighboring Hirosaki Domain, whose ruling Tsugaru clan were once Nanbu retainers.

From 1924-1926, Itagaki was a military attaché assigned to the Japanese embassy in China. On his return to Japan, he held a number of staff positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff during 1926–1927 before being given a field command as commanding officer of the IJA 33rd Infantry Brigade based in China. His brigade was attached to the IJA 10th Division from 1927–1928. Itagaki was then transferred to command the IJA 33rd Infantry Regiment in China from 1928–1929, under the aegis of the Kwantung Army.

Military attaché military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission

A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another state.

China State in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Kwantung Army military unit

The Kwantung Army was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army in the first half of the 20th century. It became the largest and most prestigious command in the IJA. Many of its personnel, such as Chiefs of staff Seishirō Itagaki and Hideki Tōjō were promoted to high positions in both the military and civil government in the Empire of Japan and it was largely responsible for the creation of the Japanese-dominated Empire of Manchuria. In August 1945, the army group, around 713,000 men at the time, was defeated by and surrendered to Soviet troops as a result of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

Itagaki rose to become Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Kwantung Army from 1931, in which capacity he helped plan the 1931 Mukden Incident that led to the Japanese seizure of Manchuria. [1] He was subsequently a military advisor to Manchukuo from 1932–1934.

Mukden Incident event in which Lt. Suemori Kawamoto of the Japanese Army detonated dynamite on a Japan-owned railway line near Mukden (now Shenyang) in 18 Sept. 1931, blamed by Japan on Chinese dissidents and used as a pretext for the Japanese invasion of Manchuria

The Mukden Incident, or Manchurian Incident, was an event staged by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for the Japanese invasion in 1931 of northeastern China, known as Manchuria.

Manchuria geographic region in Northeast Asia

Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically.

Manchukuo former Japan puppet state in China

Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.

Itagaki became Vice Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army from 1934, and Chief of Staff in 1936. [2]

From 1937 to 1938 Itagaki was commander of the IJA 5th Division in China during the early part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. His Division took a leading part in the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin, Operation Chahar, and the Battle of Taiyuan. However, in the Battle of Xuzhou his forces were repulsed during the Battle of Taierzhuang in the vicinity of Linyi that prevented them from coming to the aid of Rensuke Isogai's IJA 10th Division. [3]

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.

Operation Chahar first campaign of WWII, which broke out around Nankou, Beiping/Chahar, China

Operation Chahar, known in Chinese as the Nankou Campaign, occurred in August 1937, following the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin at the beginning of Second Sino-Japanese War.

The Japanese offensive called 太原作戦 or the Battle of Taiyuan was a major battle fought between China and Japan named for Taiyuan, which lay in the 2nd Military Region. This battle concluded in loss for the NRA, including part of Suiyuan, most of Shanxi and their most modern arsenal at Taiyuan and effectively ended large-scale regular resistance in the North China area.

The newly appointed War Minister Itagaki (center, stepping down from the rock) with his vice-minister Hideki Tojo (right) and Navy minister Mitsumasa Yonai (left, in black Navy uniform, standing on the rock) Yonai, Itagaki, Tojo.jpg
The newly appointed War Minister Itagaki (center, stepping down from the rock) with his vice-minister Hideki Tōjō (right) and Navy minister Mitsumasa Yonai (left, in black Navy uniform, standing on the rock)

Recalled to Japan in 1938, Itagaki briefly served as War Minister from 1938-1939. On December 6, 1938, Itagaki proposed a national policy in accordance with Hakko Ichiu (Expansion) at the Five Ministers Conference, [4] which was the Japanese highest decision making council, [5] [6] and the council made a decision of prohibiting the expulsion of the Jews in Japan, Manchuria, and China as Japanese national policy. [5] [6]

Itagaki returned to China again as chief of staff of the China Expeditionary Army from 1939-1941. However, the defeat of Japanese forces against the Soviet Red Army at Nomonhan in the summer of 1939 was a major blow to his career, and he was reassigned to command the Chosen Army in Korea, then considered a backwater post.

As the war situation continued to deteriorate for Japan, the Chosen Army was elevated to the Japanese Seventeenth Area Army in 1945, with Itagaki still as commander in chief. He was then reassigned to the Japanese Seventh Area Army in Singapore and Malaya in April 1945. He surrendered Japanese forces in Southeast Asia to British Admiral Louis Mountbatten in Singapore on 12 September 1945.

After the war, he was taken into custody by the SCAP authorities and charged with war crimes, specifically in connection with the Japanese seizure of Manchuria, his escalation of the war against the Allies during his term as War Minister, and for allowing inhumane treatment of prisoners of war during his term as commander of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia. He was found guilty on counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36 and 54 and was condemned to death in 1948 by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Itagaki was hanged on 23 December 1948 at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo. [7]

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References

Notes

  1. Budge, the Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
  2. Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
  3. Fuller, Shokan, Hirohito's Samurai
  4. Kazutomo Wakase (2007). 続・日本人が知ってはならない歴史. 朱鳥社. p. 41. ISBN   4-434-11358-5.
  5. 1 2 "Question 戦前の日本における対ユダヤ人政策の基本をなしたと言われる「ユダヤ人対策要綱」に関する史料はありますか。また、同要綱に関する説明文はありますか。". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan . Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  6. 1 2 "猶太人対策要綱". Five ministers council. Japan Center for Asian Historical Record. 1938-12-06. p. 36/42. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  7. Maga, Judgement at Tokyo

Bibliography

  • Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN   1-85409-151-4. 
  • Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN   0-8131-2177-9. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Hajime Sugiyama
Army Minister
Jun 1938 – Aug 1939
Succeeded by
Shunroku Hata
Military offices
Preceded by
Kenji Doihara
IJA 7th Area Army
Apr 1945 – Aug 1945
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
none
IJA 17th Area Army
Feb 1945 – Apr 1945
Succeeded by
Yoshio Kozuki
Preceded by
Kotaro Nakamura
IJA Chosen Army
Jul 1941 – Apr 1945
Succeeded by
Yoshio Kozuki