The Instigator
tmar19652
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
Rayze
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Should the US Have Dropped Atom Bombs on Japan?

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after 3 votes the winner is...
tmar19652
Started: 1/4/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,897 times Debate No: 28896
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

tmar19652

Pro

I feel the US should have/was justified in dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan.

These are the terms of conduct expected in this debate. If you do not wish to and/or do not intend to follow them please refrain from participating. Thank you.

EVIDENCE: Opinions based on faith ("It's true because I think/believe it is") will not be accepted. Both sides are expected to provide valid evidence supporting their hypotheses while legitimately responding to the other party's evidence, and furthermore, if they disagree, to produce evidence supporting their counter-argument as well. "Valid" evidence in this context is any evidence that has not or cannot be scientifically, legally, logically or empirically disproven.

SCOPE: War, racism and nuclear weaponry are huge topics. By participating in this debate both parties agree to make an effort not to extend arguments outside of the debate topic. Arguments that do so need not be responded to in order to save time and space and keep the debate relevant. In the same vein, please let's not resort to semantics.

SOURCES: Unless you want your source ridiculed, and in an effort to keep the debate fair, please choose valid sources of information/evidence that both parties have access to. Sites such as Wikipedia that anyone can edit, and personal, subjective remarks made by bloggers / YouTube celebrities, etc., do not meet these criteria unless they draw evidence from sources that do.

COURTEOUS: Avoid swearing/name-calling please. Let's keep this mature.

| ROUND I |
- State POV (Pro/Con)
- Agree to terms of conduct specified in this post
- DO NOT yet make arguments beyond opinion summary

| ROUND V |
- NO NEW arguments accepted

Same debate as Imagination's, without all the rules
Rayze

Con

I agree to the terms of conduct of no-name calling and keeping it mature.

I believe that the US was not justified in dropping the Atomic Bombs on the Empire of Japan.

Militarily the bombings were unnecessary as the US already had Japan by the throat.

Politically the bombings could be considered war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Debate Round No. 1
tmar19652

Pro

  • Politically the bombings could be considered war crimes and crimes against humanity

Japan was a very aggressive imperialistic nation at the onset of the mid-1930’s, and It was pushing into neighboring nations well before the onset of WWII. Japan used brutal tactics in these campaigns and a morally bankrupt philosophy towards human life. R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, states that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most likely 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. "This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom and national culture." (http://www.hawaii.edu...).

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The Japanese had committed many war crimes during World War 2 including, but not limited to, The Bataan Death March, The Palawan Massacre, The Banka Island Massacre and The Wake Island Massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Japan Committed several war crimes, that were real war crimes, forced human experimentation, vivisection (Cutting a human open while they are still alive) and amputations without anesthesia (http://www.nytimes.com...). The Japanese had also committed the surprise attack of pearl harbor which left over 2000 dead and 1000 wounded, including innocent civilians (http://www.nytimes.com...). The Japanese are the ones that committed war crimes, and by comparing the atrocities committed by the Japanese to the Atom Bomb, the Atom Bomb seems humane!

Also, the Japanese had chances to surrender, but even though they had attacked the US and were losing the war, they would not accept unconditional Surrender (http://en.wikipedia.org... ). If they would not surrender, why should the US have continued to risk American Lives, The US had been attacked and they had the right to win the war with minimal casualties to themselves.

Also, The Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague, II), July 29, 1899 had designated it a illegal to to The attack or bombardment of towns, villages, habitations or buildings which are not defended, is prohibited. Hiroshima and Nagasaki both had both war factories and bases, so this was not a war crime (http://en.wikipedia.org...). The Japanese were also informed of the impending Air Raids by the Potsdam Ultimatum, and Leaflets, so these bombings were not surprise attacks. · “Militarily the bombings were unnecessary as the US already had Japan by the throat. The Japanese were prepared to defend Japan from an attack if the allies chose to do so. Operation Ketsugo was prepared to break the morale of the allies, and defend Japan from an Attack (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Obviously, the Japanese were not ready to surrender if they were preparing to defend Japan from an allied invasion. The allies would have also lost massive numbers of people if they tried to invade Japan. A June 18 estimate from the military chiefs said that casualties in the first thirty days of the Kyushu invasion could be 31,000. Adm. King estimated 41,000. Adm. Nimitz said 49,000. MacArthur's staff said 50,000. Casualty estimates for Olympic and Coronet combined ranged from 220,000 to 500,000+ (http://www.afa.org...).If you say that the atomic bombings were unjustified, It is akin to saying that the US did not have the right to minimize its own, and Japanese, casualties.

President Truman and the armed forces had three strategic options for inducing the Japanese surrender: (http://www.afa.org...)

  • Continue the firebombing and blockade. After the war, the Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that without the atomic bomb or invasion, Japan would have accepted unconditional surrender, probably by November and definitely by the end of the year. In the summer of 1945, however, Army Air Force leaders were not able to persuade Marshall that this strategy would work.
  • Invasion. Neither Marshall nor Truman was convinced that LeMay's B-29 bombing campaign could bring a prompt end to the war. In their view, the only conventional alternative was invasion. The battle for Okinawa, occurring while deliberations about the bomb proceeded, was much on the minds of American leaders. Between April 1 and June 30, the United States took about 48,000 casualties on Okinawa, where it was opposed by a Japanese force a tiny fraction the size of the one waiting in the home islands. Kamikaze attacks in the Okinawa campaign sank twenty-eight US ships and did severe damage to hundreds more.
  • Use the atomic bomb. Within a few years after World War II, the specter of global nuclear war (combined with visions of Hiroshima) would imbue the bomb with special horror. In 1945, the perspective was different. "The final decision of when and where to use the atomic bomb was up to me," Truman said. "I regarded the bomb as a military weapon and never had any doubt that it would be used."

All of this shows that the Atomic Bomb was justified and necessary to end World War 2. Though the killing of civilians is terrible, I have shown that the Atomic bomb actually saved lives over its alternatives. Therefore, unless you are arguing for WW2 to never have happened, the dropping of the Atomic Bombs was the most “justified” course of action for the US.

Rayze

Con

It is quite strange how my opponent limits my R1 contentions to an opinion summary and then begins his contentions as a rebuttal to my opinion summary?

I shall begin by refuting my opponent's claims.

Rebuttals
1. My opponent has started with a series of straw man fallacies. While it is true that the Empire of Japan committed atrocities during WWII, it should be noted that the US committed atrocities as well. Mass rapes during the battle of Okinawa (undocumented incidents, but has credible testimony from an extensive study by Okinawa historian Oshiro Masayasu), the Dachau massacre, Canicatti massacre, mutilation of deceased and wounded Japanese troops, and the fire bombing of civilian populations under the pretext of hitting the war industry.(1) The fire bombing of civilian populations was designated illegal under the Hague Convention of 1907 IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land, IX - Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923. Further clarified under the Ryuichi Shimoda v. The State court case which drew a distinction between "Targeted Aerial Bombardment" and indiscriminate area bombardment, that the court called "Blind Aerial Bombardment" and a distinction between a defended city and an undefended city. According to the court, "In principle, a defended city is a city which resists an attempt at occupation by land forces. A city even with defense installations and armed forces cannot be said to be a defended city if it is far away from the battlefield and is not in immediate danger of occupation by the enemy." The court also ruled that blind aerial bombardment is permitted only in the immediate vicinity of the operations of land forces and that only targeted aerial bombardment of military installations is permitted further from the front. It also ruled that the incidental death of civilians and the destruction of civilian property during targeted aerial bombardment was not unlawful. The court acknowledged that the concept of a military objective was enlarged under conditions of total war, but stated that the distinction between the two did not disappear.(2) Thus my opponent's tit for tat attitude does not justify the use of the Atom bomb.

2. "R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, states that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most likely 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. 'This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom and national culture."

R.J. Rummel's definition of democide includes the deaths from the atom bombings. His definition of democide includes not only genocide, but also an excessive killing of civilians in war, to the extent this is against the agreed rules for warfare; he argues the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes, and thus democide. Rummel quotes among others an official protest from the US government in 1938 to Japan, for its bombing of Chinese cities: "The bombing of non-combatant populations violated international and humanitarian laws." He also considers excess deaths of civilians in firestorms caused by conventional means, such as in Tokyo, as acts of democide.(3)

3. "Also, the Japanese had chances to surrender, but even though they had attacked the US and were losing the war, they would not accept unconditional surrender. If they would not surrender, why should the US have continued to risk American Lives, The US had been attacked and they had the right to win the war with minimal casualties to themselves."

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." -Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Empire of Japan was already suing for conditional surrender by trying to get the Soviet Union to mediate the conflict as the Empire knew that it would lose.(4) The Imperial military was trying to gain somewhat favorable concessions in negotiations. But because the Soviet Union declared war on August 8, 1945 it dashed the hopes of the Empire of Japan for any alternative armistice than unconditional surrender. Besides Soviet invasion, the Empire of Japan was divided into peace and war factions. The war faction which ruled the nation was responsible for creating the Ketsugo Sakusen while the peace faction with the help of Emperor Hirohito tried to end the war as soon as possible. As the military still ruled the nation many attempts by the peace group were largely ignored. (3)

4. "The Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague, II), July 29, 1899 had designated it a illegal to to The attack or bombardment of towns, villages, habitations or buildings which are not defended, is prohibited. Hiroshima and Nagasaki both had both war factories and bases, so this was not a war crime"
The ruling of the Japanese court case Ryuichi Shimoda v. The State, which declined to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons in general, found that the, "the attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war". In the opinion of the court, the act of dropping an atomic bomb on cities was governed by international law found in the Hague Convention of 1907 IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land, IX - Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923, and was therefore illegal. According to the ruling, "aerial bombardment with atomic bombs of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an illegal act of hostilities according to the rules of international law. It must be regarded as indiscriminate aerial bombardment of undefended cities, even if it were directed at military objectives only, in as much as it resulted in damage comparable to that caused by indiscriminate bombardment. Nevertheless, the claimant as an individual was not entitled to claim damages on the plane of international law, nor was he able, as a result of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, to pursue a claim on the plane of municipal law. In these circumstances, the plaintiffs had no rights to lose as a result of the waiver contained in Article 19 (a) of the Treaty of Peace with Japan." (2)




1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.icrc.org...
3. http://www.hawaii.edu...
4. http://www.afa.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
tmar19652

Pro


  1. “My opponent has started with a series of straw man fallacies. While it is true that the Empire of Japan committed atrocities during WWII, it should be noted that the US committed atrocities as well. Mass rapes during the battle of Okinawa (undocumented incidents, but has credible testimony from an extensive study by Okinawa historian Oshiro Masayasu)”



  • Why is his testimony credible, how can you argue that the rapes were a crime if there is no evidence they happened? You cannot convict someone of rape on eyewitness accounts alone. In addition, the Dachau massacre, and the Cainicatti massacres did not involve the Pacific war.



  1. “The fire bombing of civilian populations was designated illegal under the Hague Convention of 1907 IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land, IX - Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923.



  • These rules were never formally adopted (http://wwi.lib.byu.edu...) so therefore the US was not bound to follow these rules. This nullifies you argument about the Ryuichi Shimoda v. The State case, because its decision was partially based on rules that were never formally adopted. Also the case was in a Japanese court, so it would not be impartial toward the US, nor would it bear any power over the US.



  1. “His definition of democide includes not only genocide, but also an excessive killing of civilians in war, to the extent this is against the agreed rules for warfare”



  • The Japanese killed almost 10 million civilians in China, whereas the Americans only killed a quarter of a million with the Atom Bombs, this hardly seems excessive compared to the Japanese war casualties, does it. (http://www.hawaii.edu...)



  1. “The Imperial military was trying to gain somewhat favorable concessions in negotiations”



  • This point negates your whole argument about peace. The US had been surprise attacked, so why should they give the Japanese any lee-way in negotiations. If the Japanese truly wanted to surrender immediately, they could have accepted an unconditional surrender and ended the war, but they did not.



  1. “The Laws and Customs of War on Land, IX - Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923, and was therefore illegal. According to the ruling, "aerial bombardment with atomic bombs of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an illegal act of hostilities according to the rules of international law. It must be regarded as indiscriminate aerial bombardment of undefended cities, even if it were directed at military objectives only, in as much as it resulted in damage comparable to that caused by indiscriminate bombardment.”



  • First, the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923 were never put into effect, so that argument is null. Second, The key words are that the bombs were aimed at military objectives in both cities. The bombing of “undefended” cities is a subjective term, since both cities had military assets, they could both have been regarded as “defended”. In addition, once again the ruling was made in a Japanese court, so its findings were not impartial.






Why the bomb was justified:



  • The Japanese had demonstrated near-fanatical resistance, fighting to almost the last man on Pacific islands, committing mass suicide on Saipan and unleashing kamikaze attacks at Okinawa. Firebombing had killed 100,000 in Tokyo with no discernible political effect. Only the atomic bomb would be able to force Japan's leadership to surrender unconditionally.

  • With only two bombs ready (and a third possibly on the way by late August 1945), it was too risky to "waste" one in a demonstration over an unpopulated area.

  • An invasion of Japan would have caused immense casualties on both sides that would have easily exceeded the toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • The bomb's use impressed the Soviet Union and halted the war quickly enough that the USSR did not demand joint occupation of Japan.



In Conclusion for this round, my opponent has used a court case in Japan as his main source for saying that the atomic bombing of Japan was unjustified. This court was certainly biased against the US, and partially based its findings on laws that were never adopted. However I have shown that the Japanese would not accept the US’s terms of surrender and that the Atomic Bombs saved civilian lives compared to the alternatives. So therefore the use of the atomic bomb on Japan was Justified.


Rayze

Con

At this point it shall be noted that my opponent can not address my rebuttals and has instead either attempted to straw man the rebuttals or evade the rebuttals entirely.

Counter-rebuttals

" Why is his testimony credible, how can you argue that the rapes were a crime if there is no evidence they happened? You cannot convict someone of rape on eyewitness accounts alone."

My opponent falsely states that Oshiro Masayasu is testifying when I stated he did an extensive study on mass rapes during the Battle of Okinawa. The study is credible because of first hand accounts from the Okinawan elderly who lived to see the incident.

"In addition, the Dachau massacre, and the Cainicatti massacres did not involve the Pacific war."
Another strawman argument; the Dachau massacre and Cainicatti massacre are relevant in showing how the US committed atrocities in the war refuting Pro's implied contention of how only the Axis and Soviets perpetrated atrocities not the US.

"First, the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922"1923 were never put into effect, so that argument is null. Second, The key words are that the bombs were aimed at military objectives in both cities. The bombing of “undefended” cities is a subjective term, since both cities had military assets, they could both have been regarded as “defended”. In addition, once again the ruling was made in a Japanese court, so its findings were not impartial."
Pro does not realize that the court case Ryuichi Shimoda v. the State was used by the US during the Frank Dillman et al versus Mitsubishi Materials Materials Corporation et al which said, "[The Japanese court] found against the plaintiffs because even though the Shimoda court was willing to say that the United States had in fact violated international law, it also said that Japan had waived the right of its nationals to recover against the United States because of the 1951 treaty....
Without a waiver of all war crime claims that could have been brought by either side, Japan and the United States might have wrangled endlessly about liabilities arising out of the war". (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
(http://www.gwu.edu...)

"The Japanese killed almost 10 million civilians in China, whereas the Americans only killed a quarter of a million with the Atom Bombs, this hardly seems excessive compared to the Japanese war casualties, does it. "
Another Straw man argument irrelevant to the resolution since the resolution explicitly states "Should the US have dropped the Atom Bombs on Japan.". Again this falls under the tit for tat contention which I have refuted in the previous round. My opponent's comparison is inappropriate since he fails to separate the values of civilians killed by the KMT and CCP due to infighting, with civilians killed by the IJA. Whereas the atom bomb was between the US, and the Empire of Japan with no civil war raging in the Empire of Japan.

My opponent previously stated in round 2,
"Also, the Japanese had chances to surrender, but even though they had attacked the US and were losing the war, they would not accept unconditional surrender. If they would not surrender, why should the US have continued to risk American Lives, The US had been attacked and they had the right to win the war with minimal casualties to themselves.". When I replied with a quote from Fleet Admiral Nimitz aknowledging that Japan already sought peace, and a contention that showed that it was Soviet invasion not the atom bomb that forced an unconditional surrender. My opponent's counter-rebuttal is, "This point negates your whole argument about peace. The US had been surprise attacked, so why should they give the Japanese any lee-way in negotiations. If the Japanese truly wanted to surrender immediately, they could have accepted an unconditional surrender and ended the war, but they did not." Which connotes his ignorance of what unconditional surrender meant to the Imperial Japanese military. Unconditional Surrender to the Empire of Japan meant that the US could force its brand of Victor's Justice on the Imperial Military (they feared a Treaty of Versaille's style of disarmament), depose the Showa Emperor, and force the Empire of Japan to be exploited by the US. None of the terms could be accepted by the Imperial Military regime. The United States also instigated war with the Empire of Japan by freezing its war time assets needed to produce supplies during the Second Sino-Japanese war, and the Empire tried to negotiate until late November. However, by then negotiations were deemed futile by Hideki Tojo, and the 14 part message was sent to the Washington Embassy to deliver a veiled declaration of war. However, due to IJA interference or the incompetence of the Embassy staff, the veiled message of war was never transcribed prior to the attack. Which lead to the "surprise attack" on Pearl Harbor, but I digress.

Contentions;
Militarily unnecessary as Soviet declaration of war dashed any hopes of conditional surrender (Still unrefuted)
Opposed by high ranking US military officers
"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives." -Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1963). The White House Years; Mandate For Change: 1953–1956. Doubleday & Company. pp. 312–313.

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." -Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.

A war crime
F
ormer U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara recalled Gen. Curtis LeMay, who relayed the Presidential order to drop the nuclear bombs on Japan, 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?"

"I think it made it very difficult for us to take the position after the war that we wanted to get rid of atomic bombs because it would be immoral to use them against the civilian population. We lost the moral argument with which, right after the war, we might have perhaps gotten rid of the bomb.

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?" -Leo Szilard, Interview: President Truman Did Not Understand (http://members.peak.org...)

Debate Round No. 3
tmar19652

Pro


First, You still have not proved the study of Oshiro Masayasu because he derived his testimony from a group of elderly (possibly forgetful) and only Okinawan group. This means that they could have been biased, and falsely testified just to degrade the United States.


Second, I never said that the US did not commit atrocities during World War II, but I argued that compared to the atrocities committed by the Axis (The Holocaust!, and the Chinese/Indochinese genocides), that the atrocities committed by the US were very minor.


Third, your argument about the Ryuichi Shimoda v. the State simply acknowledges that both sides committed war crimes, which does not prove that the dropping of the Atomic Bombs was not justified.


Fourth, your point about the consequences of an unconditional surrender on Japan is null. You are arguing that the Japanese should be able to fight for favorable terms of surrender, but that in turn justifies the US fighting for more favorable terms of Japanese surrender for itself.


Fifth, You argue that the US instigated the war by cutting off war goods to the Japanese, which may be true, but that would be saying that the US did not have the right to cut off its own trade to Japan. You also try to play-down the significance of the surprise attack by saying that the declaration of war simply arrived late, but this does not change the fact that it was in fact a surprise attack. Japan launched the first blow, and therefore they were in the wrong at the start of the war.


Refutations of the Contentions


You argued that the soviet declaration of war dashed all hopes of a conditional surrender, but if that is true, why did the Japanese continue to fight. If they really thought that an unconditional surrender was inevitable, then they brought the Atomic Bombings on themselves by not accepting their fate.


Also, Just because something is opposed by high-ranking military officials does not mean it is unjustified. For example, Military leaders in Syria do not approve of the uprising, but are you calling the people who are revolting against an oppressive dictatorship unjustified in their cause?


For your war crime argument, It is impossible to prove that the US would have been prosecuted for war crimes after the war, because they were not prosecuted. It is also impossible to prove that the Atomic Bombings were war crimes because the bombs were targeted at military targets, making it no more than a matter of opinion of if they were War Crimes.


My Case


Japan was duly warned to surrender or face "prompt" and "utter" destruction - The Japanese were willing to sacrifice every man, woman and child to further the bent of their nefarious, demigod like emperor and military regime. As the encroaching Allied forces closed in on Japan, the casualty numbers for each successive battle increased by the thousands. There is absolutely no doubt that Japan would fight to the end and devastate the men of hundreds of thousands of families from all across the United States. The choice of accomplishing the same ends with a ground invasion would have only resulted in a protracted, bloody conflict with MORE deaths, but to BOTH sides - The second bomb was arguably surplus, but the obstinate nature of the fascist Japanese regime coupled with the urgency to end the war, conspired to force Allied hands. The wartime atrocities the Japanese imperialists committed, especially against the Chinese and P.O.W.s, is arguably graver than what the Nazis have historically be lumped with The sacrifice of civilian lives in war is always tragic. Nevertheless, if these civilians are inculcated similarly to those that ferment the violence, they have, through their ingrained mindsets, already committed themselves in the conflict. Therefore, the dropping of the atom bomb was the lesser of two evils, making the use of these weapons justified.


Rayze

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for clarifying his implied position, however his tit for tat argument has been refuted multiple times.

Rebuttals;
"First, You still have not proved the study of Oshiro Masayasu because he derived his testimony from a group of elderly (possibly forgetful) and only Okinawan group. This means that they could have been biased, and falsely testified just to degrade the United States."

Oshiro Masayasu writes, "Soon after the U.S. marines landed, all the women of a village on Motobu Peninsula fell into the hands of American soldiers. At the time, there were only women, children and old people in the village, as all the young men had been mobilized for the war. Soon after landing, the marines "mopped up" the entire village, but found no signs of Japanese forces. Taking advantage of the situation, they started "hunting for women" in broad daylight and those who were hiding in the village or nearby air raid shelters were dragged out one after another."

"Second, I never said that the US did not commit atrocities during World War II, but I argued that compared to the atrocities committed by the Axis (The Holocaust!, and the Chinese/Indochinese genocides), that the atrocities committed by the US were very minor."
Regardless of whether they were minor or not the United States still engaged in war crimes, violating international rules dictating warfare, and forfeiting the moral high ground that the allies initially had.


My opponent has committed an argument from ignorance (assuming that a claim is true (or false) because it has not been proven false (true) or cannot be proven false (true)) since he states, "Third, your argument about the Ryuichi Shimoda v. the State simply acknowledges that both sides committed war crimes, which does not prove that the dropping of the Atomic Bombs was not justified... For your war crime argument, It is impossible to prove that the US would have been prosecuted for war crimes after the war, because they were not prosecuted. It is also impossible to prove that the Atomic Bombings were war crimes because the bombs were targeted at military targets, making it no more than a matter of opinion of if they were War Crimes."
"Fourth, your point about the consequences of an unconditional surrender on Japan is null. You are arguing that the Japanese should be able to fight for favorable terms of surrender, but that in turn justifies the US fighting for more favorable terms of Japanese surrender for itself."
A straw man argument as he does not explain why this justifies the US's demands for unconditional surrender, nor does he state why the consequences are null for unconditional surrender.


"Fifth, You argue that the US instigated the war by cutting off war goods to the Japanese, which may be true, but that would be saying that the US did not have the right to cut off its own trade to Japan. You also try to play-down the significance of the surprise attack by saying that the declaration of war simply arrived late, but this does not change the fact that it was in fact a surprise attack. Japan launched the first blow, and therefore they were in the wrong at the start of the war."

I have not down played the significance of the attack. However, I have refuted that the attack was a deliberate surprise attack. If it were truly a deliberate surprise attack then history would have shown that pearl harbor itself would not be useable. Instead history has shown the sinking of multiple ships, and the loss of approximately 2000-2500 people.

"You argued that the soviet declaration of war dashed all hopes of a conditional surrender, but if that is true, why did the Japanese continue to fight. If they really thought that an unconditional surrender was inevitable, then they brought the Atomic Bombings on themselves by not accepting their fate."
Strawman fallacy as my opponent doesn't explain why the Empire of Japan brought the atom bombs on themselves, in addition my opponent shows his ignorance by stating, "by not accepting their fate". My opponent does not seem to realize that communications between the front line and the Empire of Japan are not instantaneous. In addition deliberations take days not mere minutes which is why the IJA continued to fight as their last known orders were to fight to the last man against the enemy.

"Also, Just because something is opposed by high-ranking military officials does not mean it is unjustified. For example, Military leaders in Syria do not approve of the uprising, but are you calling the people who are revolting against an oppressive dictatorship unjustified in their cause?"
If what my opponent states is true then would my opponent care to explain why many high ranking Syrian military officers are defecting from the Syrian Regime.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com...)(http://www.aljazeera.com...)

My opponent's case shows a false dilemma, that only a land invasion or atom bomb would break the Japanese. Contrary to the false dilemma the Empire of Japan was already teetering as a result of heavy aerial bombardment and the suffocating blockade that prevented supplies from entering the resource poor nation."The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." -Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman. In addition the Soviet offensive would have rendered the use of the atom bomb unnecessary as the Soviet offensive shattered the Kwantung army, took the 4 northern islands (part of the Kuril island chains) and pushed the IJA from Korea past the 38th parallel.(http://en.wikipedia.org...(1945))


Because my contentions have still not been refuted I still forward all of my contentions.
Debate Round No. 4
tmar19652

Pro


My opponent has still not proven the validity of the Oshiro Masayasu. Why is his study credible if he is the one of the only ones making these accusations? I could write that Bin Laden had no hand in the 9-11 attacks, but am I credible because I wrote it? There are no pictures or video evidence of these alleged crimes, and Masayusa has nothing more than testimony to back his case up.


My opponent also states that the Allies performed war crimes that vacated the moral high ground that they had at the start of the war. While the allies may have massacred as many as 500 axis soldiers at the Dachau massacre, the Nazis killed 11 million innocents. I doubt this is ground for abandonment of the moral high ground. Also, at the alleged Canicatti massacre the crowd was told to disperse, and they did not. So it was not a war crime to use force against them as they resisted military orders (http://en.wikipedia.org...)


My opponent also states that I have not justified the US calling for unconditional surrender; however, they have not Justified the Japanese calling for a conditional surrender. Remember, the Japanese launched the first strike of the war, so why did they “deserve” conditional surrender.


My opponent also states that the surprise attack on pearl harbor was not deliberate, however it was an attack before a declaration of war was received, so it was both a “surprise” and an attack (http://en.wikipedia.org...).


Strawman fallacy as my opponent doesn't explain why the Empire of Japan brought the atom bombs on themselves, in addition my opponent shows his ignorance by stating, "by not accepting their fate". My opponent does not seem to realize that communications between the front line and the Empire of Japan are not instantaneous. In addition deliberations take days not mere minutes which is why the IJA continued to fight as their last known orders were to fight to the last man against the enemy.”



  • Actually, the Japanese were threatened with destruction on July 26 1945 with the Potsdam declaration (http://en.wikipedia.org...), so the Japanese had 2 weeks, not a few days, to consider surrender. The Japanese also took only 2 days to reject the Potsdam declaration, so obviously they were ready to keep fighting.

  • Also remember, For several months, the US had dropped more than 63 million leaflets across Japan warning civilians of air raids. The leaflets listed 35 cities targeted for destruction by bombing. These cities suffered terrible damage, some even 97% destruction. In general, the Japanese regarded the leaflet messages as truthful, however, anyone who was caught in possession of a leaflet was arrested by the Japanese government (http://en.wikipedia.org...), so the US government did take steps to reduce civilian casualties, and warn the Japanese. Did the Japanese drop leaflets on Pearl Harbor to warn the US?


I also did not say that all Syrian commanders stayed loyal to the regime, just as not all US military leaders did not object to the Atom Bomb, your military leaders argument is still null


“My opponent's case shows a false dilemma, that only a land invasion or atom bomb would break the Japanese. Contrary to the false dilemma the Empire of Japan was already teetering as a result of heavy aerial bombardment and the suffocating blockade that prevented supplies from entering the resource poor nation.”



  • Yet the Japanese continued to fight. Why should Americans have continued to risk their lives if they had a better option? You cannot prove that the Japanese would have surrendered without an invasion, because they had planned to defend against that invasion. The atom bombs were the lesser of two evils, and they saved hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives.


Rayze

Con

My opponent still has not refuted my contentions, and still persist in arguments sufficiently refuted. I will also not respond to irrelevant contentions that my opponent persists with.

"Actually, the Japanese were threatened with destruction on July 26 1945 with the Potsdam declaration
, so the Japanese had 2 weeks, not a few days, to consider surrender. The Japanese also took only 2 days to reject the Potsdam declaration, so obviously they were ready to keep fighting."
Already refuted in the previous round through Japan's attempts to get the USSR to mediate the conflict. The reason why it only took 2 days to reject the Potsdam declaration was that the wording of the Potsdam declaration was a rehash of the Cairo Declaration, which states the same points stated in the Potsdam declaration and was rejected by the previous regime. Considering how none of the concerns of the Empire of Japan was alleviated in the declaration it is logical that the declaration be rejected and plans by the Empire of Japan to implement two policies, 1. the Ketsugo Sakusen to force the allies to make favorable conditions for an armistice, and 2. Trying to get the USSR, the only Allied power who was not a signatory of the Potsdam declaration to mediate the war between Japan and the US.

"Yet the Japanese continued to fight. Why should Americans have continued to risk their lives if they had a better option? You cannot prove that the Japanese would have surrendered without an invasion, because they had planned to defend against that invasion. The atom bombs were the lesser of two evils, and they saved hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives."
The atom bomb was militarily irrelevant and was not relevant in saving the lives of American and Japanese lives. Chief of Staff to President Truman, Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy's Quote "The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." Sufficiently expresses the position of the Japanese defenses, and states how the atom bombs were unnecessary. In addition General MacArthur also stated that the bombs were unnecessary military, but General MacArthur seemed to understand where Japan was trying to accomplish through attempts at conditional surrender when Norman Cousins, author of the Pathology of Power, wrote, "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.". Conditional surrender to the Japanese meant the retention of the institution of the emperor. If the Potsdam declaration had included that the Emperor would remain in power, then essentially it would have been a conditional surrender favorable to the Empire as it alleviates military concerns of the fate of the Emperor who was loved by the Japanese people.

"For several months, the US had dropped more than 63 million leaflets across Japan warning civilians of air raids. The leaflets listed 35 cities targeted for destruction by bombing. These cities suffered terrible damage, some even 97% destruction. In general, the Japanese regarded the leaflet messages as truthful, however, anyone who was caught in possession of a leaflet was arrested by the Japanese government"
It seems that my opponent has now resorted to copy and pasting his contention from
http://en.wikipedia.org... to show how the US "attempted" to reduce civilian casualties. If the United States truly wanted to reduce civilian casualties then it would have accepted conditional surrender from the Empire of Japan. In fact if President Truman had consulted General MacArthur prior to dropping the atom bomb, then the war would have been over weeks before dropping the atom bombs as Japan would have surrendered knowing that it did not drag down the imperial family.

Since I have successfully shown that the United States was not Justified in dropping the atom bombs I strongly urge a con vote

Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
"The most significant point that was neglected to be mention by either side is one worth mentioning; the United States dropped the bomb to flex its military capabilities to the Soviet Union."

This was mentioned by PRO:

"The bomb's use impressed the Soviet Union and halted the war quickly enough that the USSR did not demand joint occupation of Japan."
Posted by lifebeyondselfnik 1 year ago
lifebeyondselfnik
The most significant point that was neglected to be mention by either side is one worth mentioning; the United States dropped the bomb to flex its military capabilities to the Soviet Union.

Both sides saw the up and coming cold war emerging even as early as the successful invasion of Normandy. The capitalist US and the Communist Soviet Union were opposing ideologies. Both sides knew that some sort standoff was inevitable. From the Yalta conference on, both sides knew there would be upheavals.

The atom bomb was political subliminal messaging by the United States to the Soviet Union not to do anything to destabilize Europe. The US knew they had a greater military land force, therefore they wanted to demonstrate their aerial superiority as well as technological superiority to deter any Soviet temptations.
Posted by Rayze 1 year ago
Rayze
So, thats what it was, a "tu quo que" fallacy. I thought it resembled a straw man fallacy based on the context.

If you would like I can debate the same topic, and I will refrain from the term ignorant or other conduct reducing points next time.
Posted by DeFool 1 year ago
DeFool
I came away from this debate with my mind unchanged on the matter. I felt - only judging this contest - that Con's argument could leave a gainsayer of the atomic attacks with quite a few talking points, and I scored accordingly.

From my view, the US atomic attacks were justified due to the relative humaneness when compared to a siege of Japan. The bestial rage that the Americans had for the Japanese was already demonic, I fear that genocidal actions would have occurred if our undisciplined nation had lost 2 million servicemen in an invasion. Choking off food, fuel and medicine to the Japanese population in a siege might have killed millions of Japanese - especially children. I cannot justify this as more ethical than the historical outcome. I wanted to see these arguments made in a more central way... the discussions of legalese and retribution were lost on me.
Posted by DeFool 1 year ago
DeFool
In R2, it was argued that "The Japanese committed war crimes, and were very aggressive. Therefore, it is justified for the US to commit war crimes."

I see this as a "tu quo que" fallacy, suggesting that "they did it too, so it"s ok." I disagree that this represents a straw man.
Posted by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
1) I find it odd that PRO specifically pointed out Wikipedia as a poor source, then repeatedly sourced Wikipedia himself.
2) I find PRO's equivocation on "undefended cities" to be rather unconvincing. Bottom line, a large civilian population was exterminated via a-bomb.
3) CON: "My opponent's comparison is inappropriate since he fails to separate the values of civilians killed by the KMT and CCP due to infighting, with civilians killed by the IJA." I wish CON had quantified this argument as PRO did with his. Without numbers and sources, this becomes nothing but a bald assertion.
4) CON: "Regardless of whether they were minor or not the United States still engaged in war crimes, violating international rules dictating warfare, and forfeiting the moral high ground that the allies initially had. " I deem this perspective to be the final word on the matter.
5) CON's round #3 did not contest PRO's ending justifications in round #3.
6) PRO: "The atom bombs were the lesser of two evils, and they saved hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives." At the end of round #5, PRO's contention still stands.
7) Surprisingly, PRO dropped the point about Chinese infighting being a significant source of his 10 million casualties. This substantially weakened his case regarding the maleficent Japanese.

I found this debate unsatisfying - only tertiary points were directly addressed by both sides. The primary arguments on both sides however stood. The question left in my mind: Is a war crime that saved potentially hundreds of thousands of lives justified? PRO left several significant points made by CON to stand uncontested - lack of moral high ground, ambiguity of Japanese atrocities, decision makers in Washington doubting the efficacy of the bomb, among others. CON also left PRO's points about saving lives uncontested, and gaining strategic ground vis a vis the USSR.

Arguments tie. Format was terrible on both sides. Conduct to PRO for "ignorant" comments by CON.
Posted by tmar19652 1 year ago
tmar19652
Shared. Because the status quo was that it was justified.
Posted by Rayze 1 year ago
Rayze
I forgot to add but pro will be assuming the burden of proof correct?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
tmar19652RayzeTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: This had to be a difficult debate. I don?t render an opinion on the debate subject, only an opinion on this particular debate performance. Con added two statements in R1 beyond what was necessary. Limiting R1 to something along the lines of ?I agree to the terms of the debate and believe that the US was not justified in use of the atomic bomb against Japan? would not have opened the door to opening round attacks from the Pro. As Contender, Con has the privilege of letting the other guy speak first. Use it and let the other person make arguments! Con made an argument in R2 about the morally bankrupt culture of the Japanese military during WW2. Con also based rebuttals on sources that were questioned by Pro. Pro also mentioned Japanese involvement in the Holocaust which was effective. Argument to Pro. Wikipedia is not a verifiable resource. Pro used it less and Pro provided sources from other more reliable places, so sources go to Pro. S&G was a tie. Conduct a tie. Nice efforts by bo
Vote Placed by DeFool 1 year ago
DeFool
tmar19652RayzeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: In R1, the contestants agreed to maintain a "courteous" debate, which I noted was not honored by Con. The arguments centered around whether or not Japan "deserved" to suffer the atomic attacks - a line of logic that I found almost irrelevant. A great deal of space was used in discussing whether or not the attacks were in keeping with international norms, which I found much more helpful. The strongest argument, in my view, was that "the atomic attacks prevented even greater Japanese loss of life through conventional siege and invasion." I would have liked to have seen this argument presented much more forcefully. In the end, I felt that the case made against the resolution was better presented, even though I could not agree.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
tmar19652RayzeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: see comments - please refrain from calling your opponent "ignorant".