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The Contender
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How did dealing with Japanese Kamikazes prepare us to deal with modern day terrorists?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 257 times Debate No: 86324
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
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I would like to know what you guys think.
Con is for if you think it didn't prepare us.
Pro is for if you think it did.

Personally I think that it did not prepare us for terrorists, Kamikazes had a completely different nature to their suicide tactics. Terrorists strike with the intent to kill innocent people; Kamikazes struck with the intent to disable military personnel.


Fascinating topic. How do two drastically different eras of warfare, two cultures, two religions, different levels of technology, and two vastly different mindsets in the United States compare?

Finding differences between terrorists and Japanese Kamikazes will be an easy task for you. My burden of proof is significantly higher, but I also suspect my perspective is significantly more applicable.

The Art of War – Sun Tzu

  • “Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss andvictory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.”
  • “Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.” [1]

The Art of Modern War – George Patton

  • No b@stid ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb b@stid die for his country. [2]

Psychology plays a much greater role in understanding the suicide attack, in any form, than the actual tactics. While planners and leaders may glean insights and find commonalities between, a kamikaze pilot and a suicide bomber, the real value is understanding the motivations for such attacks. What conditions create the motivation to give one’s life behind enemy lines against an overwhelming military advantage?

Traditional military planning in the US war of Independence, the Civil War, and World War I had involved armies massing in superior numbers in a war of attrition. Tools of warfare prevented single combatants from inflicting meaningful damage in suicide attacks. Could a soldier in the Civil War sneak behind enemy lines, dressed as his for in clothing stolen from a corpse? It probably happened. However, neither knife nor bayonet nor musket would inflict meaningful damage on the enemy before capture or getting shot.

American military planning in the last three centuries had a distinctly European flavor. America could understand the German Blitzkrieg:

  • “a series of quick and decisive short battles to deliver a knockout blow to an enemy state before it could fully mobilize. Tactically, blitzkrieg is a coordinated military effort by tanks, motorised infantry, artillery and aircraft, to create an overwhelming local superiority in combat power, to defeat the opponent and break through its defences.” [3]

However, American Naval forces in World War II were completely surprised by the “Bushido Code”

  • “In keeping with the code, this totalitarian system demanded courage, devotion, and obedience. The system yielded a military characterized as rigid, extremely disciplined, and unquestionably devoted. [4]

This mentality manifested in the surprising decisions to accept suicide over defeat. European warfare had always been about terrain gained and superior firepower. Surrender was not seen as dishonorable, only cowardice. Surrender was an acknowledgement that the enemy had superior forces and that the land was conquered. Ever-shifting political boundaries in Europe meant that what was lost, may yet be regained, if only the loser lives to fight another day. Soldiers lay blame on their commanders for poor decisions, and not a personal sense of shame or dishonor.

The Bushido Code and kamikaze tactic created a challenge for naval commanders in defense. Japanese planes became guided missiles, willing to trade one man and one machine for many men and a larger machine. The kamikaze tactic was never designed to defeat the American Navy. It was only designed to delay the approach long enough for Japan to reorganize forces facing defeat or reinforce defensive positions in the mainland. As Japan’s military began to lose the war of attrition against the United States, experienced Japanese pilots were killed.

  • “First, the allies developed superior weaponry, particularly in air defense and radar. Second, the disparity in experience levels between Japanese and American pilots consistently grew due to heavy Japanese pilot combat casualties. These Japanese pilot losses were particularly high at the battle for Saipan. While America lost 126 pilots, almost 500 Japanese pilots died.” [4]

Argument Premise

The history lesson brings me to this point.

As the availability of experienced pilots and military strength decreased, Japanese leaders turned to the “Bushido Code” to turn inexperienced pilots, sometimes children, into effective weapons.

In other words, when faced with facing an overwhelming military advantage, leaders appealed to psychological tactics to motivate naive or poorly trained warriors into sacrificing their lives.

The United States owes much to the kamikaze pilot for the understanding of the “terrorist”, in accordance with the principles of Sun Tzu. The second argument will go into the commonalities between kamikaze pilots and suicide bombers and formula for manipulative leadership to create willing, manned, guided munitions. Only by understanding the enemy, can we defend against these types of attacks.





Debate Round No. 1


CDuger34 forfeited this round.


As much as I enjoyed researching this topic, there isn't much point in finishing the dissertation.

It is remarkable how similar the psychological pressures are between the two cultures that suicide becomes an acceptable alternative to defeat.
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by CDuger34 8 months ago
don't worry diarrhea_of_a_wimpy_kid , I'm only curious to know what other people think about this subject. It came up in a conversation with my old teacher about an essay her kids are doing.
Posted by diarrhea_of_a_wimpy_kid 8 months ago
Interesting topic. I took it because I wanted to see it addressed correctly. I hope I'm not doing some homework assignment for you. lol
Posted by Linkstart 8 months ago
You do have a point con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by U.n 8 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited a turn and provided no sources. Pro participated in all rounds and provided sources. Conduct and reliable sources points awarded to Pro.