The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Resolved: The Atomic Bombings of Japan were justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,659 times Debate No: 67224
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Round 1 is for rules and definitions by Pro while Con accepts and/or chooses to define anyword Pro left undefined.
Round 2: Opening arguments shall be presented. There shall be no rebuttles round 2.
Round 3 Reubttles shall be made.
Round 4: Rebuttles and conclusions will be made.
No swearing
No Trolling.
No Semantics.

Atomic Bombings- In August 1945, during the final stage of the Second World War, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in human history. (

Justified- Having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason: (


I accept your definitions and terms, let's hope this turns into a great debate!
Debate Round No. 1


Contention 1: It saved Lives

During World War 2, Japan was in national suicide mode to the point that when the US would invade Japan it would have taken over 1 million Americans to do so making the war last a lot longer than it did. ( With Japan in national suicide mode they have proved at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa that they would kill until either they achieved victory or all the Japanese were dead. ( The Japanese were so intimidated by the US that they threw their own children into the ocean and then themselves committed suicide than rather being captured by the Americans.

We can see here that the Japanese would have fought to the last man in Japan and the island of Japan would have been a desolate waste land. It has been estimated that in the early hours of the invasion that the Japanese would take 1,000 causalities per hour. ( The Japanese were also training their children during recess at this time to carry bombs on them and that when the Americans would come for Operation Downfall, to run under American tanks and blow themselves up. It is obvious here that we have saved Japanese lives.

Operation Downfall has had many estimates. Operation Olympic (invasion of southern Japan) has been estimated a lone would be 1.2 million US casualties. While only 267,000 deaths. ( Within the first month is was predicted about 31,000 US deaths alone. General Marshal estimated that the Japanese would suffer 10 million causalities.

After the 2 atom bombs, Japan still was not going to surrender as the Kyujo Incident occurred afterwards. This was when the Japanese military attempted to overthrow the Japanese Emperor in order to prevent him from surrendering. This Coups was stopped due to a US aerial bombing that day killed most of the Coup leaders and stopped the Coup from occurring. (

We also tried to warn Japan as we dropped leaflets that were in Japanese that had warned the Japanese of such an attack, but they ignored it.( Also imagine if the US told the Japanese government that, "Hey look at the Tokyo bay and we'll drop our new super awesome weapon." We drop it and nothing happens. This would only make the Japanese fight harder as they would be calling our bluff

On August 7th, one day after the bombing on Hiroshima, the Japanese cabinet meet and even though Emperor Hirohito wanted the war to end the cabinet stood at disagreement with a 3-3 debate lock and they missed 3 key military leaders for the okay for the surrender. The military leaders disagreed that the bomb was of atomic nature and didn’t want to consider surrender. Emperor Hirohito conjured up another emergency meeting on the 9th of August and they agreed that the Americans didn’t have the ability to create another atomic bomb, and then Nagasaki happened. Emperor Hirohito then made a surprise appearance and broke the 3-3 tie since it required an animous decision for surrender. Hirohito said this to the cabinet:

“I have given serious thought to the situation prevailing at home and abroad and have concluded that continuing the war can only mean destruction for the nation and prolongation of bloodshed and cruelty in the world. I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer.”

As you can see that the atomic bombs caused the Japanese Emperor to act and urge the cabinet for surrender and if it wasn’t for the atomic bombings the Japanese would not have surrender without the speech and forced second meeting called by Emperor Hirohito. In the 1947 edition of Harper’s, former Secretary of War Stimson had seemingly changed his views on the bombings then what Con has stated when he stated:

All the evidence I have seen indicates that the controlling factor in the final Japanese decision to accept our terms of surrender was the atomic bomb.”

On June 1st the US Scientific Panel wrote the following:

Mr. Byrnes recommended, and the Committee agreed, that the Secretary of War should be advised that, while recognizing that the final selection of the target was essentially a military decision, the present view of the Committee was that the bomb should be used against Japan as soon as possible; that it be used on a war plant surrounded by workers’ homes; and that it be used without prior warning.”

Contention 2: The Cold War

It is known that we were developing the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project to the point where it took $2 billion to complete. Let's look at some interesting stats. For one second let's imagine the US did not use the bomb, but still the won the war. We had the atomic bomb and so did Russia. The Cold War began and due to the fact that we did not know what the bomb did we would have been more likely to use it on Russia or another communist satellite state during the Cold War causing Nuclear War.

Today nuclear weapons are stronger than they are back then and we currently have Neutron Bombs, which military leaders prefer, because its radiation penetrates even the deepest bunkers, but it comes with a price. Dr. Chalko has found that the radiation penetration from the neutron bombs will cause the Earth’s Interior to increase temperature substantially, increase volcanic activity, and even in the most extreme chances it may cause the world to explode. (

Contention 3: Japanese War Crimes.

Many people tend to look at Japan with sympathy after the Atomic Bombings, but they do not remember all of the horrible things that the Japanese did. They had violated several international treaties like the Briand-Kellogg Pact by invading Japan. They have also forced anywhere from 4-10 million people to work for the Japanese military. We all know that NAZI Germany killed 6 million Jews along with 30 million Russians, but what are the Japanese numbers you may ask? They killed a total of 30 million Asians (excluding Chinese) and they killed 23 million Chinese. ( They have also violated the 1907 Hague Convention which outlawed the attacking of neutral states during wartime by their attack on the United States. The Japanese have also done torturing to the POWs, Japanese Army Office Uno Shintaro who served in China during the War said this on torture:

“The major means of getting intelligence was to extract information by interrogating prisoners. Torture was an unavoidable necessity. Murdering and burying them follows naturally. You do it so you won't be found out. I believed and acted this way because I was convinced of what I was doing. We carried out our duty as instructed by our masters. We did it for the sake of our country. From our filial obligation to our ancestors. On the battlefield, we never really considered the Chinese humans. When you're winning, the losers look really miserable. We concluded that the Yamato race [i.e., Japanese] was superior.” (Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook, Japan at War 1993 ISBN 1-56584-039-9, p. 153)

Out of the many Massacres and atrocities that the Japanese committed the Rape of Nanking (also known as the Nanking Massacre) where over 300,000 people were killed and the women were raped. ( They also had a contest of who could kill 100 Chinese by sword contest which drove the death toll up even more and not to mention that they would play caught the baby with their Baqunents.

Caption reads: "Incredible Record' (in the Contest to Cut Down 100 People) —Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings."



I thank Pro for such a detailed opening argument, I will now state mine.


The debate is whether the atomic bombings of Japan (note the plural, both Nagasaki and Hiroshima have to be justified to meet the BoP) had a good (which I take to mean morally justifiable) reason for being carried out. My first argument will assert that there was not a good reason to drop the two atomic bombs as it was militarily and politically unnecessary in ensuring Japanese surrender.

Firstly, the declaration of war by the USSR on Japan on the 8th August 1945 (1) completely removed any chance of Japanese victory as they would be literally caught between the two most powerful nations in the world, they could not win a war on two fronts. Indeed, as soon as the USSR declared war Prime Minister Suzuki immediately stated 'let us end the war'. (2)
This goes to show that the declaration of war by the USSR would have caused Japan's surrender, the use of the atomic bomb was unnecessary.

Furthermore, the reason that the atomic bomb was used was, effectively, to kill such a large amount of civilians that the Japanese government would be persuaded to surrender. However, the conventional fire-bombing of Japanese cities killed more civilians just as efficiently as the atomic bombs did (3). Considering that the atomic bombings would lead to surrender by inflicting mass-civilian casualties then it was clearly unnecessary, as the same result would be achieved by fire-bombing.

Finally, if Pro takes the line of thought that Japan surrendered out of fear of the atomic bomb, then this result would be achieved through a demonstration of the bomb that did not involve slaughtering thousands of innocent women and children. The US could have dropped the bomb on a pacific island whilst showing it to Japanese envoys, this would achieve the same result (which was to demonstrate the power of the USAAF and the potential disaster that could happen if used against Japan) without the huge amount of civilian deaths.


My second argument will assert that the innate immorality of atomic bombing prevents reasons of military advantage from justifying it.

The use of an atomic bomb contravenes Just War Theory, notably the following criteria of jus in bello (conduct within war). (4)
1. Distinction - 'The acts of war should be directed towards enemy combatants, and not towards non-combatants caught in circumstances they did not create.'
2. Proportionality - 'Combatants must make sure that the harm caused to civilians or civilian property is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage'
3. Malum in se - 'Combatants may not use weapons whose effects cannot be controlled'

Therefore the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki does not adhere to Just War, and thus it was a war crime.
Interestingly, General Robert McNamara wrote:

'LeMay said "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?' (5)

This highlights that even some Americans thought the bombing immoral, surely the fact that the bombing lead to US victory does not make it moral?

Nagasaki bombing was unnecessary

My final argument focuses on the bombing of Nagasaki, and how it was unnecessary even if we accept that the bombing of Hiroshima was necessary.
The use of an atomic bomb would bring about Japanese surrender for either or both of two reasons:

1. Infliction of incalculable damage on civilians
2. A warning of USAAF bombing potential

Reason 2 was achieved at Hiroshima, and I am being generous in saying this because, as I have said earlier, the same result could be achieved by demonstration and not by bombing a populous city.
Reason 1 would be extenuated by the bombing of Nagasaki, but an atomic bomb was not needed to inflict incalculable damage because firebombing was shown to have achieved this aim.

So, the use of an atomic bomb on Nagasaki was unnecessary as it would not make the Japanese more likely to surrender. One could argue that it hastened surrender, but the Nagasaki bomb was only three days after the Hiroshima bomb (6) so the USA did not give the Japanese government enough time to acknowledge the impact of Hiroshima There is consequently no evidence to suggest that the bombing of Nagasaki was actually necessary to ensure Japanese surrender.

Debate Round No. 2


Alright. I will now begin my rebuttles, I will attempt to group some of my arguments that conflict with my opponent's Contentions.
Contention 1: Unnecissary.

My opponent uses the argument of the Soviet intervention in the war lead to their surrender, but I bring up the Japanese Cabinent meeting. The second cabinent meeting was on August 8th, one day after the Soviet declaration of war. The cabinet was in an absolute deadlock through the meeting and it wasn't until the second atomic bombing and the emporer's intervention to come to an argeement on surrender. The Japanese Law stated that there must be a 100% agreeance for surrender. Even after Soviet intervention the Japanese didn't agree to it. Nor did they on August 7th. As for his statement on the Prime Minister that was only one man, I am not saying that all Japanese were against surrender. He was only 1 out of three cabinent members who voted for the Japanese surrender.


After the Potsdam Declaration Japan was preparing for the Invasion of Japan. In Hiroshima was the Headquarters of Field Marshal Hata, head of the 2nd General Army of Japan which housed over 400,000 troops along with the 59th Army, 5th Division, 224th Division, and the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Division. At the time of the bombing there was a total of 340,000 civilians in the city along with the troops stationed there. (Goldstein, Donald; Dillon, Katherine V; Wenger, J Michael (1995). Rain of Ruin: a Photographic History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-033-0. OCLC 31969557) Hiroshima was also a logistics and supply base for the military. After the bombing the Japanese were not considering any type of surrender until the Russians entered the war, but the Minister of War Anami prepared to impose Martial Law over the Empire of Japan in order to prevent anyone from even attempting to surrender. (Goldstein, Donald; Dillon, Katherine V; Wenger, J Michael (1995). Rain of Ruin: a Photographic History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's page 288-289).


In Nagasaki there was approximately 10,000 soldiers in Nagasaki and the city was the largest seaport in southern Japan. This was because of the 90% of the population there, population of 263,000, was in war producing industries of ship building and munitions. The original target was cloud covered so the second target at Nagasaki was aimed for and was bombed. ( A choice to attack Nagasaki would be the equivalence of Pittsburg or even Detroit being bombed for that reason in order to knock out the industry and when a nation no longer has the means to make war they must end the war or face total annihilation. Much like during the early days of the United States when the military was disbanded the US was wide open for an attack until President Adams re-established the Army. When a nation has no defense it can easily prime another nation to take it over and in World War 2 the US stripping the Japanese of their war making ability would mean that the millions of lives primed for Operation Downfall would be saved on both sides. Before the war the one nation that the public wanted war with was the Japanese based on their massacres and destruction that they had commenced, not Germany.

People were unsure if the atomic bomb would actually work on Hiroshima which is one of the reason that the US didn't drop it into Tokyo Bay and watch the destruction, because the Trinity bomb had gone off with wires and hoases attatched all over. We had no idea if it would work and if we made the Japanese watch then the bomb doesn't work we can see that the Japanese would have had a major confidence boost.

My opponent claims that dropping the atom bomb on a Japanese military island would have had the same affect if they were to have dropped the bomb on a civilian target, but this is false when it came to their military as they viewed their own military as expendable were they really valued pilots, but when I gave you the example in an earlier round of Saipan where the Japanese fought to the last man and their women and children on the island committed suicide even though the Marines attempted to save them. The Japanese pride would have had them continued fighting even though they were completely dominated and this was from the European Nations allowing them a form of appeasement that rivaled that of only Hitler.
Contention 2: Immoral
When faced in the invasion of Japan the Operation Downfall the world population would have been devastated as the Japanese were primed to fight for every person and were consistent. Towards the end of the War the Japanese were strapping their children with bombs and teaching them during recess to crawl under American tanks and blow themselves up. This Operation would have also had been a Conquest since Japan would be a lifeless void when this commenced. It was predicted that in the early stages of the war that 1,000 Americans and Japanese would die every hour. The USSR would have been likely to invade northern Japan due to their interests there. You could have easily seen Japan divided today much like Germany was or even Korea is now. This adds to the Cold War theory that I have brought up last round and a US-Russian War in Japan could have been easily seen as the frontline battle ground of Capitalism vs. Communism. Japan would also be armed with Poison Gas and Bacterial Warfare. The War would be fought with a US Civil War strategy known as the Prairie Dog War. Which is when land is fought for yard by yard and is focused at the underground tactics of the Japanese, not to mention that the Japanese had mobilized its civilian population. ( You see the Japanese had mobilized their civilians and were thus considered combatants due to their readiness for war. So truly the US killed not one civilian until after the birth defects of modern day Japanese civilians. We can also see that by dropping the bomb we saved more lives then we cost.
Contention 3: Unnecissary
First off, I would like to state that the US actually warned the Japanese of the atomic bombings before it happend as the USAF dropped over 65 million leaflets warning the peoples of Japan. (
Warning Leaflet

We seemed suddenly to have become possessed of a merciful abridgement of the slaughter in the Far East… To bring the war to an end, to avoid indefinite butchery, to give peace to the world, to lay a healing hand upon its people by a manifestation of overwhelming power at the cost of a few explosions, seemed, after all our toils and perils, a miracle of deliverance.”

-Winston Churchill on the atomic bombing

“…We have used it to shorten the agony of war, in order to save thousands and thousands of Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s capacity to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”

- President Truman on using the bomb.

For Americans, it is the dollar that is the moving spirit. They cannot win.”

-Italian Petty Officer in Japan before the dropping of the bomb.

Despite the best that has been done by everyone, the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage… In order to avoid further bloodshed, perhaps even the total extermination of human civilization, we shall have to endure the unendurable, to suffer the insufferable.”

- Emporer Hiroshito


We can see that the above quotes easily fit into this argument that the atomic bomb must have been dropped and with the quote by the Itialian Petty Office we can see that Japan wouldn't surrender, but it wasn't until afterwards that they were ready to accept the defeat and acknowledge that the War would bring nothing , but tradgedy.

I'm afraid that I'm just about out of characters again so I'll pass it off to my opponent.



Some interesting points by Pro, I will now attempt to rebut them.

Whilst my opponent's point is correct that all members of the cabinet would have to unanimously agree to surrender; this could be overruled by the Emperor (which was what happened on 10th August [1]). What this means is that the Emperor ultimately decided whether or not to surrender. I would agree that the atomic bombs may have been necessary if the Emperor's mind was changed by them, but in reality he had already decided that he wanted to end the war:
On the 22nd of June (before the atomic bomb), Emperor Hirohito told his ministers: (2)

"I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts be made to implement them."

As he had already decided to end the war, and had the capability to overrule the cabinet to ensure surrender, it seems likely that Hirohito would have done so irrespective of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They may have hastened his intervention, but I very much doubt that he would not have surrendered soon even if the atomic bombs were not used.
Therefore they were not necessary in ensuring Japanese surrender.

My opponent goes on to detail the strategic importance of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I appreciate this but do not see that it justifies the use of the atomic bomb. This is because just as much destruction could be wreaked by fire-bombing (as was demonstrated on Tokyo) so the use of an atomic bomb was unnecessary.

'We had no idea if it would work and if we made the Japanese watch then the bomb doesn't work we can see that the Japanese would have had a major confidence boost.'

The same would apply if it was dropped on Hiroshima and did not work. Fear of the bomb not working and boosting enemy morale does not justify using the bomb on Hiroshima, if anything it would discourage the use of it.

My opponent highlights that the US dropping the bomb on a Japanese military island would have no major effect because of the lack of value that the government placed on their troops.
Whilst his reasoning is correct, Pro forgets that one of the primary purposes that an atomic bomb would be used would be to induce fear; due to the bomb being such a dangerous weapon. In this way, its effect in leading to surrender is mainly psychological.
The psychological fear that would be caused by the use of the bomb could be produced by a simple demonstration on a sparsely populated part of Japan. In other words, the fact that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima was unnecessary. The same effect could be achieved by it being used on a less populated part of Japan; this would reduce the amount of civilian deaths.

Whilst it may be true that the Japanese people were prepared to fight to the death during Operation Downfall, Emperor Hirohito was not willing to allow that to happen (as I have mentioned above). As Hirohito was already planning to surrender, he would have done so before Operation Downfall got underway.
This would avoid:

1. The millions of deaths that Operation Downfall would cause.
2. The USA/USSR split that Operation Downfall could have resulted in.
3. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The use of the atomic bomb was also a principle cause of the Cold War (3), which is rebuts my opponent's indictation that to neglect to use the atomic bomb would have lead to tension between the USA and USSR.

'We can also see that by dropping the bomb we saved more lives then we cost.'

This statement would only be true if the bomb was the only way to prevent Operation Downfall, I have argued cogently that it was not the only reason. At best it merely hastened the surrender, it did not cause it.

My opponent argues that the dropping of the leaflets served as adequate warning of the atomic bomb. I seriously doubt this, because wartime propaganda was notoriously hyperbolic, it would not be uncommon for enemy propaganda to attempt to frighten Japan into surrender through use of exaggerated claims, so the Japanese would be naturally sceptical. It also seems difficult to portray the sheer scale of the atomic bomb on a small leaflet, and most people reading it would dismiss it as petty scaremongering. In contrast, actually demonstrating the atomic bomb to Japan (but not on a populated city) would realistically and veridically portray the capability of the USAAF bombing repertoire.

Pro then goes on to write some quotations from Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, and an Italian Petty Officer. However, these were all said/written in or around the time of the war so they do not have the benefit of hindsight, or knowledge of the Emperor's desire for surrender, so I do not take them to be valid evidence for the justification of the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The quote by Emperor Hirohito actually solidifies my argument that the Emperor desired surrender; as his opinion was unchanged by the atomic bombings, it suggests that they did not make him decide to surrender.

I will now pass the argument over to my opponent.

Debate Round No. 3


My opponent has jumbled some points together so I'll see if I can group these together as he had them.

Contention 1: Unecissary.

The fighting mindset between the two nation's were intense as both nation's feared the other and took high extremes the Japanese were terrified of American retaliation as seen in the suicided at the Battle of Saipan as I showed in the second Round. The Japanese in turn treated the US POWs harshly. They had what was called Hell ships which were disguised as Japanese cargo ships, but were crammed full of US POWs and would often be sunk by US submarines. In the Phillipeans the Japanese were given orders to kill all American POWs once US troops landed on the beach. A USMC Sergent testified to this atrocity that occured.

"In 1944. . . Tahara came to me and advised "I am very sorry — we must all die." Tahara told me that orders had been issued by Tokyo which would require, the moment the first American set foot on Japanese soil, that all POWs be killed and that the camp authorities then commit suicide.

Shortly afterwards, the Japs began daily drills. A platoon of Japs would arrive at our camp from Himeji barracks (they were required to move on the double for the 11 kilometers), hastily set up their machine guns to completely encircle the camp and execute other maneuvers clearly indicating a plan they wished to execute without mistake. Their arrival, their maneuver, their critique, and their departure took place two or three times each week. The . . . authorities made mention that the soldiers were being trained to protect us from irate civilians who might wish to harm us if U.S. troops started to invade. On one occasion, I made a point blank statement to the [Japanese second in command], Sgt. Fukada, that it was regrettable that we should have to die after so long a term in prison camp — he agreed and stated he would have liked to have lived after the war was over, perhaps the country would some day be a good country again.

I believed that orders directing massacre of the prisoners had been issued and am still of that opinion." (

With such tenacity of fighting it seemed unlikely that the war was coming to an end.

My opponent stated that the Emporer could call off the War, but he fails to acknowledge the evidence that I have brought up in past rounds stating that the military wouldn't allow it and they were actually planning a military takeover of the Japanese government that was stoped thanks to the US atomic bombings not only that, but the Japanese military had installed Martial Law to prevent the Japanese from surrendering which also went uncontested. To add to that Emporoer Hirohito had to call a second meeting after the first meeting after the atomic bombings came up with a no surrender. The second was a deadlock even through the second atomic bombing until the next day when the Emporer had made a suprise appearance to persuade them to vote differently and they did. The emporer did not override the ruling of the cabinet and if he did as you stated he would have done so after the first Atomic bombing, but didn't. (

Next my opponent brings up the effectiveness of the fire raids, but this is where things get intersting. Total deaths from both atomic bombings combined is 105,000 vs. the death count from Operation Meeting House (fire bombing of Tokyo) 125,000 deaths! ( This outright shows that the atomic bombings were better than the fire bombing as the fire bombings killed more people and did way more damage. My opponent is brining up a harsher alternative to the atomic bombings and this only shows and we can all agree that the power of the atomic bombings would've been a better preferance than fire bombings.

Though my opponent states that the same effect would've happen for Hiroshima, but with that being said the Japanese would've viewed it as another dud compared to if we told them what it was. The Japanese were also conscious of the Germany devolpement of their workings on the atomic bomb and that the US used Operation Paperclip to take these scientists to build our bombs. They also knew of Operation Trinity where we detonated our first atomic bomb in the desert, but still nothing happend. As for the fear factor it was obvious that the fire bombings had no effect upon the path to their surrender why to try out a new weapon on them.

Contention 2: Saving Lives and the Cold War.

I have already showed that the Emporer wouldn't have had useful effects upon ending it early as I've shown in my last contention so the impacts can be extended across the board.

Contention 3: Nagasaki

Though the Japanese may not have believe the leaflets the US still gave them a great warning of this event before the occurances of both atomic bombings and when the first bomb fell they were still sending out leaflets to the Japanese warning of another bombing. It was not heeded and the Japanese suffered a great loss at Nagasaki.

My opponent attempts to discount my sources as they weren't removed from the War, but I offer up Secritary Stinson who was an anti-atomic bomb advocate during the war. In the 1947 edition of Harper’s, former Secretary of War Stimson had seemingly changed his views on the bombings then what Con has stated when he stated:

All the evidence I have seen indicates that the controlling factor in the final Japanese decision to accept our terms of surrender was the atomic bomb.”

On June 1st the US Scientific Panel wrote the following:

Mr. Byrnes recommended, and the Committee agreed, that the Secretary of War should be advised that, while recognizing that the final selection of the target was essentially a military decision, the present view of the Committee was that the bomb should be used against Japan as soon as possible; that it be used on a war plant surrounded by workers’ homes; and that it be used without prior warning.”

However the US did give the Japanese warning, as stated before, with the leaflets warning the Japanese of the bombing that would occur. Truman, who had just inherited the war from FDR, was advised by military, scientists, and political to drop the bomb and to end the war.

Contention 4: Japanese War Crimes

This point was dropped so I extend it across the board. Though I agree for the most part that it’s not civilized, but with the American “Eye for an Eye” type philosophy the US public and much of the world had found it justifiabled for the Japanese War Crimes from the Rape of Manking to the Baatan Death March to the butchering of American POWs. This was even seen when Truman made the announcement of the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima by him saying that the Japanese have been paid back many fold showing that he himself was supporting such philosophy and seemingly Overman theory. (

WIth that I thank my opponent for a great debate that could've used an extra round and I urge voters to vote Pro.

Thank you.



My opponent is correct in saying that the ferocity of the fighting between Japan and the USA was extreme, but the simple fact is that it is the politicians, not the soldiers, who dictate whether a country should surrender. Whilst it is true that a military coup was being planned, it was not supported by all of the Japanese generals. General Torashiro Kawabe said on August 13th (in the midst of the attempted coup):

"The Army will act in accordance with the Imperial Decision to the last." (1)

This suggests that the army did respect the Emperor's ruling and would not disobey him. The emperor wanted a surrender and so would have persuaded the army to do so with or without the use of the atom bomb.

Whilst the Emperor did finally decide to take action after the bombing of Nagasaki, there is no proof that the bombings actually caused Japan to surrender before the execution of Operation Downfall. I argue that, due to the Emperor's wording, the general suffering of his people was the reason for his desire for surrender, not specifically the atom bomb.
He says:

'I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer' (2)

Which suggests that, as fire-bombs arguably caused more suffering, the use of an atomic bomb was unnecessary in ensuring Japanese surrender insofar as we accept that it was immense civilian suffering that was the cause of the surrender.

I am aware that fire-bombs killed more people than the atomic bomb, and I am not saying that the fire-bombing raids were morally justified. I all I assert is that they achieved everything that an atomic bomb could, so there is no practical reason why Truman was justified in using an atomic bomb instead of a fire-bomb.
Furthermore, whilst fire-bombing did kill more, its damage is instantaneous. What is morally abhorrent about nuclear weapons is that future children were born with horrific mutations; these babies were not even alive at the time of the war!

My opponent goes on to suggest that the dropping of the atomic bomb was necessary because Japanese knowledge of Operation Trinity showed that they would only take seriously the use of the bomb on Japan itself. However, my opponent contradicts himself; earlier in the debate he mentioned that even when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the Generals dismissed it anyway. This suggests that the Generals would dismiss any use of the atomic bomb, they did not even support surrender after Nagasaki. It transpires that the Japanese top brass were dismissive of all nuclear weapons, so their use was unnecessary.

'I have already showed that the Emporer wouldn't have had useful effects upon ending it early as I've shown in my last contention so the impacts can be extended across the board.'

Well, he did end it early, inasmuch as he ended it before Operation Downfall despite the military commanders desiring continuation of the war. He did not even cite the nuclear bomb as his main reason for wanting surrender. (2)

My opponent has not explained why the leafleting of the atomic bomb serves as valid reason where the veracity of wartime propaganda was universally doubted. Whilst it was true that they carried out some leafleting between the time of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did not leave any time for the government to respond as there was only a two day gap.

The quote by Secretary Stinson, whilst being outside the duration of the war, was still in 1947 which was not enough time for all the pre-surrender Japanese politics to emerge to public knowledge. So not enough information would be available for Stinson to have made a fully informed assessment.

My opponent's final point is about Japanese War Crimes and that the atomic bombs were just punishment for them.
However, this is ethically fallacious.
When exacting punishment, it should be towards the perpetrators of the action and punishing those who did not participate in the crime is unjust. Considering that the vast majority of the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not commit any war-crimes, punishing them for the sins of another is considered barbaric.
It's not even 'an eye for an eye', it's more of 'an eye for the eye of an innocent who happens to live in the same country as the criminal'.

Let me end with a quote by Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-American physicist involved in the development of nuclear technology in the 1930s.

"Let me say only this much to the moral issue involved: Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?"

I would like to thank my opponent for being such a worthy opponent and creating a very interesting historical debate, the kind which we rarely find on DDO.

Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Really of thought I put Nanking? Damn Auto correct.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
It is the Rape of Nanking, not Maanking.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Whew, what a great debate. My total number of Characters remaining totaled up from the entire debate is 1,012.

We should do this again sometime.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
With the length of the response, I'm glad I didn't have you do rebuttles in the last round as well, because I don't think that I would have had the character limit to fully respond with what was needed to say.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
I'll respond later tonight.
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
Not justified in my opinion. Yet, I suppose it would depend on one's idea of justice. Which in the United States, usually equates to Just U.S.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DarthVitiosus 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO: Pro's spelling was noticeable. Pro, I would recommend clicking the "check spelling" button before submitting. The spelling mistakes were noticeable since one was bolded very clearly to see. Pro's case was ultimately decided by Contention's #2 and #3. CON: Con offered some strong points about how the Japanese government did not have the time to respond after the Hiroshima bombing. Yet I did not feel Con offered enough evidence to refute Pro's case. FINAL VOTING DECISION: A high quality debate. Both sides presented quality arguments. Pro wins.
Vote Placed by Lexus 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: both sides used excellent sources and made very convincing arguments. neither side forfeited, so it's a tie on conduct. pro didn't spell "unnecessary" correctly in one of his main contentions, so con gets S&G