Hideki Tojo , known as kamisori (the razor) for his sharp, decisive and impatient qualities, rose rapidly through the Imperial Japan’s military hierarchy. As War Minister in 1940, he promoted the righteous cause of casting off imperialist colonialization of East Asia and was strongly opposed to any negotiations with Western powers.

In October 1941 Tojo became premier of Imperial Japan and formed a new cabinet. Although he had great power, Tojo was not a dictator like Hitler or Mussolini. Senior statesmen, the army and navy general staffs, and the Emperor Hirohito, exercised considerable power over him.

In early 1944, although he acknowledged Japan was facing “the most critical situation in the history of the Empire,” Tojo remained opposed to any negotiation with the Allies.

In July 1944, with the fall of Saipan placing American bombers in range of the homeland, senior statesmen and ministers in his Cabinet forced him to step down as premier.