Should the U.S. have nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Debate Rounds (2)
Point 1: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary because Japan was already on the brink of collapse. It is well documented that Japan was extremely damaged by the war already. American air raids ravaged what remained of the Japanese Empire. Massive air raids were conducted by the American Air Force. One of these, on May 23 1945, consisted of 520 B-29 "Superfortresses" dropping 4,500 TONS of incendiary bombs upon the capital city of Tokyo. After a second strike with 502 B-29's two days later, they collectively obliterated 56 SQUARE MILES of Japan's capital. The American Air Force General Curtis LeMay even boasted that we were "driving them [Japanese] back to the stone age."
The amount of destruction and plain chaos in Japan, as well as the almost gone military, make atomic bombs unnecessary to the war. There was no way Japan could retaliate, as they had nothing to retaliate with. This leads right into my second point.
Point 2: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary because Japan was already trying to negotiate peace with the allies, using Russia as the medium. By early July 1945 the US had intercepted messages from Togo to the Japanese ambassador in Moscow, Naotake Sato, showing that the Emperor himself was taking a personal hand in the peace effort, and had directed that the Soviet Union be asked to help end the war. It is widely documented that this is the case. The State Department in 1945 even reported it, as I will let the historian Gar Alperovitz (who is arguably an expert on the use of the atomic bomb) describe:
"In mid-April  the [US] Joint Intelligence Committee reported that Japanese leaders were looking for a way to modify the surrender terms to end the war. The State Department was convinced the Emperor was actively seeking a way to stop the fighting."
And the US certainly knew how to get the information on Japan's negotiation attempts. The Army broke the Japanese code long before the atomic bombs. In fact, it was broken before Pearl Harbor. There was no doubt that Japan was defeated, and was trying to surrender. Even before surrender attempts with Russia, they had tried with Sweden and Portugal and Switzerland (neutral countries). Sweden actually sent the message to the US, but the Secretary of State Edward Stettinius said to "show no interest or take any initiative in pursuit of the matter."
Point 3: Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary because Japan was in such a state of defeat and destruction that a simple show of this new weapon would have been enough. As my last two points have shown, Japan was completely defeated and trying to surrender. President Truman justified the mass killings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as ending the war more quickly and saving lives, but the reality is the war was about to end. If he had wanted to end the war even more quickly than it was ending, a weapons test on an isolated military base would be all it would take. That would still kill Japanese (Yay! as Truman would say) but no civilians. And certainly not over 150,000 of them. No matter what Truman said, Hiroshima was not a military base. In bombing these two population centers, he snuffed out over 150,000 lives, including American lives. This is why the bombs were unnecessary, and horrific to boot.
Mr.Post forfeited this round.
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