The Instigator
Valkyrie
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RyuuKyuzo
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The Bombing of Japan was the best option

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
RyuuKyuzo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,473 times Debate No: 25075
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

Valkyrie

Pro

Last time I attempted this one due to unforeseen events I was unable to give a well planned argument and wound up running out of time. Basically my position is the dropping the nuclear bomb on Japan was the best and most efficient method to end WWII the first round is for acceptance
RyuuKyuzo

Con

I accept.

I intend to fully dispute all of Pro's arguments and show that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were neither the best nor the most efficient methods available to end WWII.

I look forward to your opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Valkyrie

Pro

1. The Atomic Bomb meant an immediate end to the war.

While it may not have been pretty dropping the atomic bomb forced Japan to surrender within less than a week. Japan was not willing to stop fighting and would have continued a war in the Pacific. With over one million members in the Japanese army they had more than enough insurgents to attempt a new attempt of taking over the midway islands and the Philippines. As had been proven by the numerous kamikaze pilots the Japanese warriors were far from surrender. The attack on Hiroshima was the only thing the Allies could do sending a powerful enough message to force a surrender.

2. The Bomb actually resulted in less deaths.

The Japanese government had been given many chances for a surrender but they refused. It was obvious to the Allies that the only other way to bring about an end to the war would have been an actual mainland assault on Japan. In the final two battles Iwo Jima and Okinawa the results were incredibly bloody and every Japanese soldier on the islands refused to retreat and instead fought to their deaths which is what would have happened on Japan except on a much larger scale. By even the most conservative of estimates say that an inland attack if it ended in a surrender would have cost the Americans at least 100,000 deaths and over 1,000,000 Japanese that is including soldiers and the civilians who would no doubt try to fight off the Allies advance. However in the bombing the deaths were counted at 90,000–166,000 people. This is a much more preferable number even if they were civilian deaths.

3. Civilian deaths were unavoidable.

Operation Olympic (aka the alternate to a bombing ) would have involved an attack on Japanese soil. This would be unavoidable because of Japans absolute resistance to lose the war. Can you imagine how hard you and every American would fight if the Japanese were attacking us here on our own soil. Then you can imagine how unendingly the Japanese would battle to protect their homes and families in the event of a ground invasion. The civilians would of course fight us and so civilian deaths were unavoidable under any circumstances. Also even the civilians that lived in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been in dire danger because both of those cities were major targets in Operation Olympic. With or without bombings civilians would not have been able to not be harmed.

4. Soviets needed to be fended off.

In the Final days a battle with Soviet Russia would have been disastrous. It seemed that to the other Allies that Russia would have caused a confrontation. Russia continued to build up its army and navy with the intent of causing another fight. The American government had to assure that Russia would have been kept from a battle and that they realized we were not going to back down from a fight so they would back off. This worked well as the Soviets and the Americans never did go to war. If we had not dropped the atomic bomb and had instead fought the Japanese on their own land we would have lost 100,000 Americans a large chunk of our military. This would have weakened our resolve killed many of our soldier and used tons of funds in the battle. This would have made us prime targets for the Soviets.
President Harry S. Truman dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima for one reason: not to end the war with Japan, but to intimidate Stalin, keep him out of the Pacific war, deny him a share of the peace that we were going to impose on Japan.

5. The other options were even more brutal.

I have already reviewed the flaws in a mainland attacks but many have argued about blockading Japan in until they quit. This would not have ended the battle as many people would have died trying to escape the blockade and it would also not have intimidated Russia. However let me ask you this. Which would you rather choose. A quick and painless death or starvation to death. If we blockaded them many civilians would have died as all the remaining supplies would be given to the military in an attempt to break the blockade. The average non military Japanese person was only living on 1,000 calories a day. If we blockaded them in hundreds of thousands would people would starve to death and many people still would have opposed a surrender

http://www.americanheritage.com...
http://wiki.answers.com...
RyuuKyuzo

Con

1. Immediate End -- Not so Immediate

My opponent argues that the use of the atomic bomb forced Japan to surrender in under a week. This isn't actually what happened at all. Japan refused unconditional surrender because they wanted to keep their emperor. After the first bombing they still refused unconditional surrender. Already it's clear that this wasn't an immediate end. After the second bombing they still refused unconditional surrender and so the USA granted them their condition of keeping their emperor. Therefore, the bombings didn't really force Japan to do anything other than that which they were already willing to do before the bombings. The war would have ended even earlier had America decided to grant them their condition initially. The argument is negated.

2. The Bombings Resulted in Less Deaths -- A False Dichotomy

My opponent is either ignorant of the actual circumstances of Japan's surrender or he is deliberately leaving out facts integral to the situation. Japan did not refuse to surrender, they actually agreed to accept the Potsdam declaration, just not completely without condition [1]. Their only real condition was to keep their emperor. Japan actually wanted to surrender. Consider this quote from Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō;

"With regard to unconditional surrender we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever. ... It is in order to avoid such a state of affairs that we are seeking a peace..." [2]

Clearly Japan was no longer interested in warring. All they wanted was surrender negotiations followed by the end of the war.

Before continuing, it should be pointed out that Pro stating that 90,000-166,000 Japanese died isn't entirely correct. This only takes into account the Bombing of Hiroshima. Nagasaki added another 60-80 thousand deaths [3].

Moving on to my opponent's main argument in this point, he states that bombing Japan saved the lives of American soldiers/Japanese soldiers and civilians that would have surely died had a main-land invasion taken place. This is a false dichotomy. There were other options. Firstly, let's consider the finalized terms of Japan's surrender. Japan was allowed to keep its emperor, but the emperor was to be subject to allied forces.
This begs the question, why wasn't this option brought up initially as a response to Japan's counter offer? In fact, why weren't there any surrender negotiations at all? The Potsdam declaration was released, calling for Japan's unconditional surrender, Japan agreed to surrender but wanted to keep their emperor, so the U.S. went straight to atomizing 200,000 Japanese civilians (there were some soldiers admittedly)? That sounds more like the actions of someone looking for an excuse to test a weapon, not someone actually interested in peace.
Japan wasn't even made aware of the A-bomb's existence. Surely if we had at least shown video of a test bombing to the Japanese, they would reconsider their position on the matter, but by bombing them so hastily America had unwittingly assured that Japan could not back down from their proposed conditions.
Consider the implications of agreeing to unconditional surrender after the first bombing. It would send the message to the Japanese public that the people who died in Hiroshima had died for nothing. By bombing Japan a second time, we only strengthened their resolve.

Perhaps Japan would not have surrendered unconditionally even if America had warned them about the A-bomb. That's a different matter. If we had given Japan fair warning and they had said, "bring it!" THEN Pro might have an argument here, but that's not what happened, so he doesn't. The argument is negated.

Civilian Deaths were Unavoidable -- Because Nobody Tried to Avoid Them

Once again, Japan did NOT have absolute resistance to losing the war. Even Eisenhower recognized this fact by saying;

"The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." [4]

Japan agreed to surrender so long as they could keep their emperor as I've already shown. The typical justification for bombing Japan is that invading them would result in more deaths, but the truth of the matter is no deaths had to happen whatsoever. All that was needed was surrender negotiations, followed by the end of the war. The only refusal to Japan's counter-offer given was the A-bomb. This is an absurd level to jump to. Does Pro contend that Japan's desire to keep their emperor was worth atomizing roughly 200,000 Japanese civilians? Not to mention all those who died later as a result of the mass radiation the spread throughout Japan?

It's intellectually dishonest to claim that civilian deaths were unavoidable when the only alternative even considered to the A-bombs also involved civilian deaths. The argument is negated.

4. Soviets Needed to be Fended off -- What!??

My opponent claims that the bombing was justified because the resulting loss of soldiers caused by an invasion of Japan would have made us easier for Russia to attack and because America wanted to keep Stalin out of the Pacific war. This doesn't make any sense at all when you consider that Russia had signed an agreement with America for Russia to join the Pacific war and invade Japan once Russia's neutrality pact with Japan expired. In fact this agreement allowed Russia to take control over several of Japan's islands, many of which Russia still controls today [5]. Also, Stalin had already known about the A-bombs existence long before the Japan bombings. Truman even made it a point to drop hints about their new super-weapon to Stalin during the Potsdam Conference. [6]

There's really nothing else to say here; The argument is negated.

5. The Other Options Were Even More Brutal -- But Not This One

My opponent argues that a blockade would have been more cruel than bombing them. This is clearly not the case. A blockade is a long-term strategy that allows plenty of time for the blocked off country to reconsider its position. Enacting a blockade would only result in as many deaths as the Japanese government allowed. In this way it is far more likely that less people would have died, but even if more people would have died, it would have been the fault of Japan's own government, thereby relieving America of the blame. Therefore, by handing over control of how badly Japan is punished over to the Japanese, America would have both exercised far more compassion and reason by enacting a blockade, rather than simply blowing Japan's cities to bits. However, enacting a blockade wasn't even necessary. America could have threatened to blockade Japan if they refuse to back down from their condition and then if Japan had still refused a blockade could be put in place. Then it would be justified, but not before that point. Some sort of discourse was needed for any military action on America's part to be justified, let alone using the atomic bomb twice.
The argument is negated.

Conclusion

Japan was clearly willing to surrender. It's not unreasonable by any means whatsoever to actually sit down with them and discuss the conditions of their surrender, but it is unreasonable to immediately jump to nuking 200,000 Japanese civilians, or any other alternative my opponent has mentioned thus far as a response to their counter-offer to the Potsdam declaration. The Japanese desire to keep their emperor is not valid justification to atomize 200,000 Japanese civilians, nor is atomizing 200,000 Japanese civilians an effective method of solving this problem as history has proven.

I look forward to your response.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://www.doug-long.com...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://en.wikipedia.org...


Debate Round No. 2
Valkyrie

Pro

Valkyrie forfeited this round.
RyuuKyuzo

Con

Extending my arguments
Debate Round No. 3
Valkyrie

Pro

Valkyrie forfeited this round.
RyuuKyuzo

Con

My opponent has forfeited the debate. I extend my arguments and urge the voters to vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
"Con, next time continue arguing a few of the strong points of contention and tell us why we should vote for you."

Normally this is what I would do, as seen in this debate >> http://www.debate.org... (Which still hasn't been voted on by anybody. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge), but Pro didn't just FF this debate, he actually closed his account mid-debate. After realizing there was no chance of him coming back in the later rounds I pretty much checked-out of this one.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
I did feel like debating this topic right after it ended, but now that some time has past I'm pretty much over it. If one comes up in the challenge periods I may take it, but for now I'd rather take on a new issue.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
You can send out a challenge if you feel like debating this topic more :)
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Apparently my opponent's account is no longer active. Did my arguments chase him off the site? ;)
That's too bad, I wanted to debate this topic more.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
I went waaaaaay over the character limit in round 2 and had to take a bunch out, but one thing I feel I should (and ethically could) mention here is why I used the 200,000 number. The death count of Hiroshima + Nagasaki was 150,000 - 250,000. I split the difference and used 200,000.

Just in case anyone was wondering/confused by that =)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
ValkyrieRyuuKyuzoTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
ValkyrieRyuuKyuzoTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. Con, next time continue arguing a few of the strong points of contention and tell us why we should vote for you.