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Hata Shunroku (1879-1962)


Photograph of Hata Shunroku
Wikipedia Commons

Hata Shunroku was commissioned as an artillerist in the Japanese Army in 1901, graduating at the top of his class. He graduated with "top scholarly rank" from the War College in 1910. He was a military student in Germany in 1912 and participated in the peace conference following the First World War. In March 1941 he was given command of China Expeditionary Army, based in Nanking. He became a field marshal in March 1943. In November 1944 he returned to Japan to command forces against the expected Allied invasion, serving first as Inspector-General of Military Education and then as commander of 2 General Army. His headquarters was in Hiroshima but he was elsewhere when the nuclear attack destroyed the city,

Hata was serving as Minister of War in 1940 and was one of the "Big Three" who controlled the Army. His resignation as War Minister in July 1940 brought down the Yonai cabinet and likely ensured that the Japanese would join the Tripartite Pact. When the Hiranuma government fell, Hata supported the choice of Tojo as the new War Minister, feeling he could be counted on to support the Army point of view.  Hata was a top candidate to succeed Tojo as Prime Minister in June 1944, but the position went to Koiso Kuniaki, a former general and the governor-general of Korea. When the Koiso cabinet fell in April 1945, Tojo again tried to get Hata appointed as Prime Minister. The second rejection of Hata marked a decisive decline in the Army's control of the government.

Hata was among the top army leaders who agreed to accept the Emperor's decision to end the war, but he requested that he be allowed to give up his rank of Field Marshall in atonement for the Army's failure. He was sentenced to life imprisonment as a war criminal for failing to prevent atrocities by his troops in China, but was released after just a few years.

Service record

1879     

Born
1901
Second lieutenant     
Graduates from Military Academy, standing first in his class
1909

Army War College
1912

Student, Germany
1919
Colonel     
Instructor, War College
1919

Chief, Maneuvers Branch, 2 Section, 1 Bureau, General Staff
1921

Commander, 16 Field Artillery Regiment
1922

Commander, Field Artillery School Training Regiment
1923

Chief, 2 Section (Maneuvers), 1 Bureau, General Staff
1926
Major general     
Commander, 4 Heavy Field Artillery Brigade
1927

Head, 4 Bureau, General Staff
1928

Head, 1 Bureau, General Staff
1931

Inspector of Artillery
1933
Lieutenant general     
Commander, 14 Division
1935

Head, Army Aeronautical Department, War Ministry
1936

Commander, Taiwan Army District
1937

Supreme War Council
1937

Inspector-general of military training
1938

Commander, Central China Expeditionary Army
1938

Supreme War Council
1939

Chief aide-de-camp to the Emperor
1939
General
Minister of war
1940

Supreme War Council
1941-3     

Commander in chief, China Expeditionary Army
1943-3
Field marshal

1944-11     

Inspector-general of military training
1945

Commander, 2 General Army
1945
General
Retires
1945

Arrested and tried as war criminal
1948

Sentenced to life in prison
1954

Released
1962

Dies


References

Browne (1967)

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Frank (1999)
Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-2-5)

Hayashi and Cox (1959)

Hoyt (1993)

Iriye (1987)

Russell (1958)



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