|Born||26 Jul 1879|
|Died||10 May 1962|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseShunroku Hata was born in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan to a former samurai of the Aizu-han. In 1891, his family moved to Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. In 1893, he was accepted into the prestigious First Tokyo Middle School, but his father's sudden death meant his family would not have the wealth to pay for the tuition. Instead, he enrolled in the Army Cadet School. In 1901, he graduated from the Japanese Army Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the artillery. He participated in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In Nov 1910, he graduated from the Army Staff College. In Mar 1912, he served as a military attaché to Germany, and remained in Europe through WW1. He was promoted to the rank of major in Sep 1914, followed by lieutenant colonel in Jul 1918. In Feb 1919, he attended the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations as a member of the Japanese delegation. In Jul 1921, he was named the commanding officer of the Japanese 16th Field Artillery Regiment. In Mar 1926, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was placed in command of the 4th Heavy Field Artillery Brigade. In Jul 1927, he was named the chief of the Fourth Bureau of the Japanese Army General Staff; in Aug 1928, he became the chief of the First Bureau. In Aug 1931, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and served in the role of Inspector General of Artillery Training. In Aug 1933, he became the commanding officer of the 14th Division. In Dec 1935, he was the head of the Japanese Army Air Service. In 1936, he was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army.
ww2dbaseAfter Asia plunged into war in 1937, Hata was transferred back from Taiwan to Japan on 2 August 1937 to serve as an advisor to the Japanese Army leadership. Later in the same year, he served as the Inspector General of Military Training at the rank of full general. In Feb 1938, he became the commanding officer of the Central China Expeditionary Army, relieving General Matsui Iwane after the Rape of Nanjing. In May 1939, he became a Senior Aide-de-Camp to Emperor Showa. Between Aug 1939 and Jul 1940, he was the Minister of War under Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe and Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai. In Mar 1941, he became the commander-in-chief of the Japanese China Expeditionary Army. In Jun 1944, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal as he was recalled back to Hiroshima, Japan to take charge of the Second General Army. He witnessed and survived the atomic destruction of Hiroshima at the end of the Pacific War, and played a role in persuading fellow leaders in Japan to surrender. Among his final orders of the war was one which requested a demotion due to the defeat; this request was never approved by the Japanese Army due to the situation in the final days of the war.
ww2dbaseHata was arrested and tried for war crimes after the war. In 1948, he was sentenced by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East to life imprisonment for waging war of aggression and failure to prevent atrocities committed by men under his command. He was paroled in 1955. In 1958, he became the head of a charitable foundation for the welfare of veterans. While still in that role, he passed away in 1962 while attending a ceremony honoring the war dead. He was the last surviving Japanese general officer with the rank of field marshal.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2012
Shunroku Hata Timeline
|26 Jul 1879||Shunroku Hata was born in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.|
|1 Aug 1936||Shunroku Hata was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army.|
|2 Jun 1944||Shunroku Hata was promoted to the rank of field marshal.|
|10 May 1962||Shunroku Hata passed away in Tokyo, Japan.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939