Sugiyama, General Hajime, 1880-1945

Sugiyama was Commander of the First Imperial Army and of the Home Defense Army and was Army Chief of Staff from 1938 to 1944. He attended the Disarmament Conference in Geneva from 1926 to 1928 and became a member of the Japanese Supreme War Council in 1935. As War Minister from 1937 to 1938 he oversaw the 1937 China campaign and was then appointed Army Chief of Staff. He was an extremely militant member of the Strike South faction of the military and along with Nagano, the Navy Chief of Staff, played a critical role in bringing Japan and America to the point of war. During the Japanese negotiations with the US in the fall of 1941, these two set deadlines as to when war must begin. Throughout the war Sugiyama directed operations from Tokyo. In February 1944 he was made a Field Marshal and resigned as Chief of Staff in favor of TOJO who was then attempting to consolidate his power. Following Tojo’s fall, Sugiyama was appointed War Minister under KOISO, a post he held until the end of the war. After the surrender he played an important part in getting the Army to lay down its arms. He committed suicide on 12 September 1945 despite appeals from the Emperor to put national interest first.

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