|Born||12 Oct 1891|
|Died||16 Dec 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbasePrince Fumimaro Konoe of the Fujiwara Clan entered the Japanese political arena in 1920 upon graduation from the Kyoto Imperial University with an anti-military stance. In Jun 1937 he became Prime Minister on a ticket to balance civilian and military control over the government, but he himself became increasingly militaristic. When the war with China began in 1937, he allowed the Japanese Army to act upon opportunity without needing to receive permission from Tokyo first. In Nov 1937, he introduced the concept of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. On 4 Jan 1939, he resigned from the Prime Minister post, but was recalled once again to the same post on 22 Jul 1940. In his second term as Prime Minister, Konoe was influential in Japan's joining of the Axis alliance. Despite the increasingly militaristic policies, he continued to avoid a war with the United States. In Oct 1941 when the war with the United States seemed inevitable, he resigned his post. Toward the end of the war, his peaceful nature returned and began to preach to Emperor Showa to negotiate for peace while Japan still was in the position to do so. He also led a delegation to Moscow in attempt to negotiate peace with the United States with Russia as a neutral intermediary, not knowing that Joseph Stalin already engaged in secret talks with the western powers to declare war on Japan later in the war. Naturally, Russia denied Konoe's audience.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, although initially served as vice president in the American-backed post-war government, Konoe was rumored to be reviewed for war crimes by the Americans. Instead of reporting in to the Americans for war crimes investigations, he committed suicide in Dec 1945 by swallowing potassium cyanide.
ww2dbaseAfter the death of Konoe, the Fujiwara Clan continued to hold certain importance in Japan. His grandson, Morihiro Hosokawa, became Prime Minister himself fifty years after Konoe's death.
ww2dbaseSource: Spartacus Educational, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Dec 2005
Fumimaro Konoe Timeline
|12 Oct 1891||Fumimaro Konoe was born.|
|4 Jun 1937||Prince Fumimaro Konoe became the 34th Prime Minister of Japan.|
|22 Jul 1940||Prince Fumimaro Konoe became the 38th Prime Minister of Japan. This was his second time in this office.|
|18 Jul 1941||Prince Fumimaro Konoe retained his office as he was named the 39th Prime Minister of Japan.|
|16 Oct 1941||Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe submitted his letter of resignation. He recommended Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni as his successor.|
|18 Aug 1945||The Japanese Home Ministry secretly sent radio messages to local police chiefs, ordering them to organize comfort women facilities for incoming US occupation troops as an attempt to safeguard Japanese women. On this topic, Prince Fumimaro Konoe told the national police commissioner "Please defend the young women of Japan".|
|16 Dec 1945||Fumimaro Konoe passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945