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Yamada Otozo (1881-1965)


Photograph of Yamada Otozo

Wikipedia Commons

Yamada Otozo graduated from the military academy in 1903 and joined the cavalry. Despite seeing no action in the Russo-Japanese War, he rose steadily and was Inspector of Military Training in 1940, making him one of the "Big Three" that controlled the Army. He supported the choice of Tojo as the new War Minister after the fall of the Hiranuma cabinet, believing Tojo could be relied on to take the Army's point of view. He was a full general commanding the General Defense Command of Japan at the outbreak of war. He later became a member of the Supreme War Council. He was given command of the Kwantung Army in July 1944, and bore responsibility for the operations of secret bacteriological warfare units.

Early in 1944 Yamada called up a quarter million Japanese militia in Manchuria. By June 1945 he was insisting to Tokyo that he could not hold the border with the forces that had been allocated to him. The response was to organize large numbers of poorly trained conscripts into eight new divisions and seven new brigades. When the Russians invaded, on 9 August 1944, his dire predictions came true: His army was shattered by 13 August.

He was captured by the Russians in Manchuria and sentenced to 25 years for war crimes, primarily for his involvement in bacteriological experimentation with live prisoners. He was released in 1956 due to ill health.

Yamada was a quiet, sober officer and, like many Japanese officers, a small man.

Service record

1881     

Born
1903
Second lieutenant     
Graduates from Military Academy as cavalry officer
1922
Colonel
Commander, 26 Cavalry Regiment
1926

Chosen Army
1927

Chief, 8 Section (Communications), 3 Bureau, General Staff
1928

Chief, 7 Section (Communications), 3 Bureau, General Staff
1930

Director, Training Department, Cavalry School
1931
Major general
Commander, 4 Cavalry Brigade
1932

Commandant, Army Signal School
1934

Head, General Affairs Bureau, General Staff
1935-8-13
Lieutenant general      Head, 3 Bureau, General Staff
1935-12

Commandant, Military Academy
1937-3

Commander, 12 Division, Manchuria
1938-1-13

Commander, 3 Army, Manchuria
1938-12-10      

Commander, Central China Expeditionary Army
1940-10-14     
General Inspector-general of military training
1941-7-7

Commander, General Defense Command
1941-12-9

Supreme War Council
1944-7-18     

Commander, Kwantung Army
1945

Prisoner of war, Russia
1949

Sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for war crimes
1956

Released
1965

Dies

References

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-4-4)

Hastings (2007)

Hayashi and Cox (1959)

Hoyt (1993)

Pettibone (2007)



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