14 August 1945, the case went to the surrender of Japan. Events developed rapidly and dramatically. A week earlier, on August 6, the US Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, a large city that was an important military base of the imperial army. 8 August, Japan’s war was declared by its powerful northern neighbor - the Soviet Union. Prior to these events, sentiments among the representatives of the Japanese military-political elite remained very militant - for most Japanese generals and admirals, capitulation was something unimaginable, destroying all the traditional notions of the Japanese nobility about military duty, loyalty to the emperor, honor and patriotism.
But the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the entry into the war of the Soviet Union did their job - the Japanese government nevertheless began to lean toward the adoption of the terms of the Potsdam declaration. On August 9, a meeting of the Supreme Council for War Management opened, at which Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo and the Minister of Imperial fleet Mitsumasa Yonai expressed support for the surrender of Japan. Emperor Hirohito agreed with their arguments. On August 10, Emperor Hirohito again held a meeting at which he finally supported the opinion of Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo and accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
This position of the emperor of Japan and the highest government circles did not suit some of the most militant officers of the Japanese army and navy, who, according to their ideas about military ethics, were inclined to war either until victory or death. At the headquarters of the army began to grow discontent. At a meeting at the Ministry of the Army, a group of officers expressed their outrage at the forthcoming capitulation to Army Minister General Koretica Anami (in the photo). Although General Anami was also categorically opposed to the end of the war, and in such a “shameful” way, in his opinion, he had no choice but to obey the emperor’s decision and begin preparations for the surrender and cessation of hostilities. He refused to take part in the conspiracy, which had matured among staff officers.
Meanwhile, 12 August at midnight radio station San Francisco reported that the Japanese government and the emperor of Japan himself from the moment of surrender will obey the headquarters of the allied forces, which in the Japanese army immediately considered a humiliating enslavement. The officers were finally strengthened in the opinion of the need for a military coup to remove the current government from power and resume hostilities. With the Emperor’s cult characteristic of the Japanese, they believed that Hirohito would undoubtedly support further continuation of the hostilities; all that was needed was to eliminate the “bad boyars” who, because of their cowardice, were going to capitulate to the Allied command.
One of the main initiators of the conspiracy was Major Kenji Hatanaka (pictured), who served in the military department of the Ministry of the Army. At the time of the events described, he was 33 of the year - Hatanaka was born in 1912, in 1934 he graduated from the Military Academy of the Imperial Army of Japan and was assigned as a lieutenant to an artillery regiment. After additional education. received in the Artillery Engineering School and the Higher Military Academy of the Imperial Army of Japan, Hatanaka moved to staff work.
As a man of militaristic convictions, Hatanaka believed that Japan should in no way capitulate to the allies. 12 August, when it became known about the fate that the allies had prepared for the Japanese emperor and the government, Major Hatanaka, Lieutenant Colonel Masataka Ida, Lieutenant Colonel Masao Inaba, son-in-law of the Army Minister, Lieutenant Colonel Masahiko Takeshita, and Head of the Ministry’s Military Affairs Colonel Okikatsu Arao turned to the Minister. Koretik Anami with a request to prevent the adoption of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
However, General Anami, although he himself was opposed to surrender, was forced to obey the decision of Emperor Hirohito. Therefore, he refused to cooperate with the conspirators. After that, the officers decided to act independently and began to look for like-minded people among the higher-ranking military. But it turned out for them, as it turned out later, a daunting task - the Japanese generals and admirals did not want to take responsibility for the further continuation of the hostilities, therefore the majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels of the imperial army were the hottest opponents of the surrender.
On the night of 13 on 14 August 1945, a group of officers, led by General Anami himself, gathered for a special meeting on the upcoming surrender. The deputy chief of the General Staff of the Imperial Army of Japan, General Torasiro Kawabe (pictured), invited the assembled generals and officers to sign an agreement on the implementation of the order of the emperor to surrender Japan. All the officers present, including the Minister of the Army Anami, signed the document. Thus, almost the entire top of the Japanese imperial army expressed support for the decision of the government and the emperor to surrender, thereby depriving the conspirators of hope for help from the generals. Moreover, many officers of lower rank, brought up in traditional servility, even disagreeing with capitulation, were forced to follow the line of the High Command and the generals.
However, Major Hatanaka and his associates decided to act in any case. Since the plans of the conspirators were already known, the 2-th regiment of the 1-th Guards Division entered the imperial palace, whose task was to strengthen the Guards battalion, which ensured the security of the palace. But Major Hatanaka and his colleague Lieutenant Colonel Jiro Shinzaki could influence the commander of the 2 regiment Colonel Toyojiro Hague and force him to take the side of the conspirators. They informed the colonel that, allegedly, Army Minister General Anami and the command of the Second Army and the Imperial Guards Division were aware of the plans of the conspirators and supported them. After that, Major Hatanaka came to the commander of the Eastern Army, General Shizuiti Tanaka, and began to persuade him to join the coup. The general, loyal to the emperor, did not respond to the requests of the major and ordered the officer not to go into his own business. But it was already impossible to stop Hatanaka. He believed that by capturing the palace and demonstrating the reluctance of the military to accept the surrender, he would be able to influence the course of events and make the emperor think again.
In the evening of August 14, Hatanaka and his associates decided to launch an operation to seize the palace at two in the morning. At about one in the morning the conspirators surrounded the imperial palace. Major Hatanaka, Captain Shigetaro Uehara from the Air Force Academy of Japan and Lieutenant Colonel Shinzaki came to Lt. Gen. Takeshi Mori (pictured), who served as commander of the 1 Imperial Guards Division. At this time, Mori held a meeting with his relative, Lieutenant Colonel Mitinori Shiraishi. In order for the uprising to end in success, the support of the commander of the guard division was simply necessary. After all, General Mori could give the order to subordinate units not to resist the rebels. But the general replied with a clear refusal to Major Hatanaki’s proposal, after which the major, violating the traditional Japanese military chain of command, killed the general out of fear that he would order the guards units to suppress the uprising.
After the assassination of Mori, Hatanaka seized his official seal and issued on behalf of the general a strategic decree of the Imperial Guards Division No. 584, in accordance with which the number of troops in the Imperial Palace significantly increased. The rebels managed to quickly disarm the imperial palace guards, as well as arrest 18 of the ministry staff of the imperial court and television and radio company. Then the rebels began to search for the court minister Sotaro Isivatari and the keeper of the minor seal Koichi Kido, but they could not find them. In addition, the rebels tried to find a record of the surrender speech to destroy it. They cut all telephone wires, thereby depriving the imperial palace of communication with the outside world.
Meanwhile, in Yokohama, a group of soldiers under the command of Captain Takeo Sasaki raised an uprising, which set out to find and kill the Prime Minister of Japan, Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, who was considered the main initiator of the surrender. But the rebels did not find the head of the government’s office even then, having set a fire in the building, went in search of him. The houses of Prime Minister Suzuki and Chairman of the Privy Council Kiichiro Hiranuma were set on fire.
The Prime Minister, who had managed to escape, was under police protection in a secret shelter. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Masataka Ida told Major Hatanake that units and units of the Eastern Army moved toward the imperial palace in order to suppress the insurgency. Then Major Hatanaka appealed to the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Army, General Tatsuhiko Takashima, with a request to give him ten minutes of airtime on the national radio station, in order to inform the Japanese about why they had to oppose surrender. When it became clear to the command of the Guards Division that the army would not support the uprising, Hatanake was ordered to leave the palace. But the desperate major still tried to break through to the radio studio to speak to the Japanese and try to convince them of the fallacy of surrender and the need to fight against the allied forces to the end.
On the morning of August 15, while the conspirators tried to realize their plans, Army Minister General Koretica Anami committed ritual suicide - seppuku, having pierced himself in the corridor of the imperial palace, facing the imperial residence. In a suicide note, the general, who enjoyed enormous prestige in the army, apologized to the emperor of Japan for his guilt and expressed the hope that the country would never die. It is known that before the suicide, General Anami refused to help the assistant and committed suicide on his own.
General Shizuichi Tanaka (in the photo), one of the most famous combat generals of the Japanese imperial army, who commanded the Eastern Army region, arrived at the imperial palace and personally met with the officers - insurgents. He attacked them with an insult to the fact that they acted contrary to the decision of the high command and convinced the conspirators to disperse to their homes and barracks. Major Khatanaka also surrendered, abandoning his hopeless plans to perform on the radio in front of the Japanese and leaving the radio studio.
When it became clear that the plans to prevent Japan’s surrender failed, Major Hatanaka and Lieutenant Colonel Siisaki went to the square in front of the Imperial Palace, where they were pointedly shot to death. General Shizuiti Tanaka, who persuaded the rebels to go home, committed suicide nine days later - August 24 1945, shooting himself in his office. Despite the fact that he, by his actions, directly prevented a military coup and brought the surrender closer, the glorified Japanese military leader could not bear the severity of the defeat.
The unsuccessful attempt of a military coup could be called the agony of militaristic sentiments in the Japanese Empire. It is clear that a group of officers would not have been able to change the course of events, since the tradition of honoring the higher command, the emperor and his decisions was very strong in the Japanese army. Major Hatanaka and his comrades took on the obviously impossible task, so there was nothing surprising in the failure of the military coup. It took less than a month and 2 September 1945 of the year on board the battleship of the US Navy "Missouri" representatives of the Allied Command and the Government of Japan signed the Japan Surrender Act. World War II is over.
The fate of most of Japan’s highest dignitaries turned out to be dismal The Prime Minister of the Empire, Baron Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, immediately after the surrender of Japan, resigned from his post and three years later, in the 1948 year, he died in his death at the age of 80 years. Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo of the Tokyo Tribunal was sentenced to twenty years in prison and died in the 1950 year, without waiting for release. Fleet Minister Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai, who led the Empire’s Navy department throughout World War II, was not brought to justice, but also died in 1948. AT stories The countries of the Rising Sun began a new era in which the place was no longer the former military and political might of the Japanese Empire, but economic prosperity, unprecedented before, became possible.