The Instigator
HURR21
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Philocat
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Should we have dropped the bombs on Japan?

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Philocat
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 490 times Debate No: 78382
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

HURR21

Pro

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a good call by Harry Truman. If we didn't drop the bombs, we would have had to try to invade Japanese Islands and try to get to Japan. They were ready for our coastal invasion, so Japan would have lost 2 times the people lost in the bombing, and boat loads of soldiers would be wiped out for the U.S. So dropping the bomb caused most of the Japanese soldiers to surrender, even though the last soldier didn't even surrender until the late 1970's.
Philocat

Con

I will argue that we should not have dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because:

1. It was unnecessary for achieving surrender.

2. It was a morally reprehensible act of war.

Necessity?

Were the bombings necessary in order to achieve surrender? Analysis of the Japanese political atmosphere of summer 1945 suggests otherwise.

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 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.

Secondly, we have good reason to believe that Japan would have surrendered without the atomic bombings. This is because Emperor Hirohito, who had total autocratic authority, desired an end to the war well before the atomic bombs were dropped. On the 22nd of June 1945, before the atomic bombings, Hirohito told his ministers:

"I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts be made to implement them." (3)

Therefore, the atomic bombs did not change the Emperor's mind from a state of wanting to fight on to a state of seeking armistice, he wanted to and was able to sue for peace before the bombs were dropped. This suggests that there was never a substantial risk of a costly Invasion of Japan, since it is highly likely that Japan would have surrendered before such an operation became necessary to implement.

Furthermore, the only way in which the atomic bomb could be rationalised to have encouraged Japanese surrender is that it was so indescribably destructive as to render the Japanese war effort futile. But this argument falls flat because in 1945, regular fire-bombing of cities such as Tokyo inflicted more damage than both the atomic bombs put together (4). Hence if a mass infliction of human casualties was needed to convince Japan to surrender, the atomic bombs weren't necessary in order to serve as the means to that end. In other words, the atomic bombings were unnecessary.

If, as it could be argued, a demonstration of the power of the atomic bomb was needed, this reason would only justify the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. There was no need to drop a second bomb on Nagasaki, because the bomb's destructiveness was already demonstrated at Hiroshima. Since my opponent is arguing that both the Hiroshima and the Nagasaki bombs were a 'good call' by Truman, he needs to justify both bomb-drops, not just one.

Immorality

Now we have established that the bombings were unnecessary, we can move on to consider the grave immorality of the use of the atomic bomb. There are two main reasons why I am justified in saying that the atomic bombings were immoral, given that they were unnecessary:

1. They contravene Just War theory, namely the criterion that all attacks must be exclusively targeted at combatants (not civilians) and the criterion that the attack must have military necessity. (5)

2. The use of atomic weapons caused horrendous birth defects to Japanese babies (6), who weren't even born during the war! It is one thing to target civilians that may be assisting in the enemy war effort, but it's another thing altogether to cause immense suffering to people in the future who are completely innocent. The effects also led to increases in cancerous tumours (7).

I would like to raise a point made by American Colonel and Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara:

'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?' (8)

Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-American physicist involved in the development of nuclear technology in the 1930s, wrote:

'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?' (9)

So we can see that the moral issue of the atomic bombings has been largely swept under the carpet simply because it achieved American victory, but would we not be denouncing it as a horrific war crime if it was used by the losing side? Surely, the immorality of an act is dependent on the act itself, not whether it was used by the winning side?




Finally, I think most of my argument addresses my opponent's points, but he does say one thing I would like to specifically respond to:

'So dropping the bomb caused most of the Japanese soldiers to surrender, even though the last soldier didn't even surrender until the late 1970's.'

Iit is the Japanese politicians, namely the Emperor, who decide to surrender. The military just obey their decisions and have no say in whether or not their country surrenders.


Debate Round No. 1
HURR21

Pro

HURR21 forfeited this round.
Philocat

Con

I extend all my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
HURR21

Pro

HURR21 forfeited this round.
Philocat

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Berend 1 year ago
Berend
They were ready to surrender, but under conditions that could not or would not be accepted. One bei g the Emperor.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
21MolonLabe
HURR21PhilocatTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con had better conduct as he did not forfeit any rounds of the debate, whereas pro forfeit two rounds. S&G: Both had decent spelling and grammar, I could not find anything wrong with either's S&G when I skimmed over their arguments. Arguments: Although I disagree with Con, He was able to effectively dismantle his opponents arguments while his own went uncontested. Sources: Con was the only one that cited any sources, so sources would go to him by default.
Vote Placed by hellywon 1 year ago
hellywon
HURR21PhilocatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The instigator completely ignored this whole debate, where as the contender tried very hard to argue in his/her position. I give all points to con
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
Midnight1131
HURR21PhilocatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
HURR21PhilocatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.