Konoye, Prince Fumimaro, 1891-1945

Konoye was a member of the peaceseeking faction in Japan. In July 1940 he had been recalled to serve as Prime Minister. He had a history of opposition to the militarists but did not have effective political power. Although he had envoys in the USA trying to secure a compromise over the issue of Indo-China and of China itself, he could reach no agreement because the military leaders refused to countenance any withdrawal from China. He was forced to resign in October 1941 and was replaced by TOJO. After the fall of Tojo in July 1944 Konoye began to campaign for an end to the war and was saying in private that Japan had lost the war and there was nothing Japan could do to avoid a total military collapse. Konoye was chosen to lead a peaceseeking delegation to the USSR but MOLOTOV refused to see him as he was preparing to leave for the Potsdam Conference. In the postwar Cabinet Konoye served as Vice-President but the US threatened to try him as a war criminal so he poisoned himself rather than face trial.

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