The Instigator
PatriotPerson
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
XLAV
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were Justified.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
XLAV
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,053 times Debate No: 62204
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (3)

 

PatriotPerson

Pro

I believe that the US's decision of bombing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified. My opponent must argue against this, claiming that the bombings were not justified.

1st Round: Acceptance
2nd Round: Opening arguments
3rd Round: Second argument/First rebuttals
4th Round: Third argument/Second rebuttals
5th Round: Final rebuttals/Concluding statements

I had a debate on this same topic a while back, but since I just came back after a ridiculously long hiatus, I'm using it again.

Debate Requirements: Between the ages of 14 and 30, minimum of 15 completed debates and a maximum of 100, Five rounds, 72 Hours to argue, 9,000 Characters maximum in arguments.
XLAV

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
PatriotPerson

Pro

First, let's look at the situations of both sides of the war near the end:

The Allies
Was basically beating the Axis so hard they couldn't even count to three. The Allies consisted of most of the world and the Axis was just a few countris. Major countries like the US, UK, and USSR were Allies.

The Axis
After Hitler's suicide, Mussolini's assassination, and many other Axis countries switching sides or completely surrendering, the Axis was left mainly at just Japan and it's immediate, forced allies. Japan was not about going to surrender (maybe the Emperor was, but the military was very confident), so how could this deadly and extremely destructive war finally be ended? That's right. Take out the last enemy: Japan.

But why kill so many innocent Japanese civillians?
You're probably asking this question. But I ask you, why did the Japanese military kill so many innocent civillians in America, China, Korea, and other countries?

Yes, bombing is a bit of an intense war strategy. Even though it ended so many lives, it prevented the end of so many more.
XLAV

Con

Let's look at the casualties after the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hiroshima - 135,000
Nagasaki - 64,000
[1]


Arguments

1. Militarily Unnecessary and Alternatives
The US could have been patient and used other alternatives as a way to end the war. Such alternatives are,modifying their unconditional surrender demand by guaranteeing the maintenance of the emperor, awaiting for the Soviets to enter the war, pursuing heavy conventional bombing of the cities amid the strangling naval blockade.

The Nagasaki bombing was also very unnecessary. The American government ordered another strike three days after the Hiroshima bombing. The Japanese government did not have enough time to perceive what happened to Hiroshima and America though the silence from the Japanese was an act of arrogance - which lead to the Nagasaki bombing.


2. Civilian Casualties
There were innocent civilians present and the American government knows it. The civilians shouldn't be responsible for the action of the Japanese Elites. Killing a civilian Japanese to save an American soldier is not moral. Again, there were other alternatives that could either increase or decrease the casualties but lessen the civilian casualties. Soldiers fight in the war, not civilians.


3. The Emperor (and other government officials) Wanted Peace
Months before the end of the war, Japan's leaders recognized that defeat was inevitable. Evidence now available about developments in the Japanese government most notably the emperor's then-secret decision shortly before the Nagasaki bombing to seek peace makes it clear that the second bomb could undoubtedly have been avoided. At least 35,000 Japanese and possibly almost twice that number, as well as several thousand Koreans, died unnecessarily in Nagasaki. [2]



Sources

[1] http://www.atomicarchive.com...

[2] http://www.ihr.org...
Debate Round No. 2
PatriotPerson

Pro

Casualties caused by Japan
Yes, the atomic bombings caused the deaths of many innocent Japanese civillians. However, have you considered the death tolls of attacks Japan executed, such as Pearl Harbor and Nanking? Let's take a look at the death tolls of these two attacks (Pearl Harbor was on the USA and Nanking was on China):

Pearl Harbor
American Sailors: 2,008 dead, 710 wounded
American Soldiers and Airmen: 218 dead, 364 wounded
American Marines: 109 killed, 69 wounded
American Civillians: 68 killed, 35 wounded
Totals: 2,403 Americans dead, 1,178 others wounded.

Nanking
50,000-300,000 innocent Chinese men, women, and children. These numbers are everyone killed, not even including the wounded totals. And how horrible is it? Soldiers raiding into your country, killing everyone, and raping the women (killing them too). I imagine they also did some destruction to some Chinese buildings in Nanking.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

If we add up the death totals of these two attacks, we get up to 302, 403 killed. And keep in mind that this total does NOT include all the deaths caused in other various attacks done by the Japanese army, or however many soldiers from other countries the Japanese killed during battle.

The attacks on Pearl Harbor and Nanking together caused more casualties then the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did. It is possible that more innocents died in Nanking then in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
_____________________________________________

Who's to say these attacks were to stop? I've heard that in Japanese culture, surrender is very frowned upon. So they were most likely not yet about to give up.

People kept on dying and dying, all thanks to the actions of Japan. If the war wasn't stopped, these deaths would continue.

Yes, the bombings killed so many innocent people. But they prevented the deaths of many more.
XLAV

Con

Rebuttals

1. Casualties Caused by Japan (Pearl Harbor and Nanking)

"Yes, the atomic bombings caused the deaths of many innocent Japanese civilians. However, have you considered the death tolls of attacks Japan executed, such as Pearl Harbor and Nanking? Let's take a look at the death tolls of these two attacks (Pearl Harbor was on the USA and Nanking was on China)"

Yes, I have considered the death toll of attacks made by Japan. The real question us, why should the US also kill innocent civilians? We shouldn't use the immoral actions of the Japanese soldiers as an excuse to kill Japanese civilians. It like saying "That man killed my father, I will get revenge and kill him and all of his family and friends." Its the soldiers' fault, not the civilians. Don't drag the civilians into the pile of bodies.



2. Surrender & Round 1 Rebuttals

"Who's to say these attacks were to stop? I've heard that in Japanese culture, surrender is very frowned upon. So they were most likely not yet about to give up. "

Well they still surrendered after the bombs fell, didn't they? Anyway, to rebut this argument, read my third argument in round one about the Japanese government seeking for peace.

To add to this, Japan was already doomed. For months, its cities had been subjected to fire bombing on a vast scale. Its navy and most of its factories were in ruins. Fuel and food were scarce. They knew defeat was inevitable and the government was just planning on how surrender without humiliating themselves. [1]

"People kept on dying and dying, all thanks to the actions of Japan. If the war wasn't stopped, these deaths would continue.

Yes, the bombings killed so many innocent people. But they prevented the deaths of many more. "

"Yes, bombing is a bit of an intense war strategy. Even though it ended so many lives, it prevented the end of so many more."

Again, the Japanese government was about to surrender, when the bombs suddenly fell. [1]




*I'm running out of time so I'll post my new set of arguments in round three. On to Pro.




Sources

[1] http://www.theaustralian.com.au...


Debate Round No. 3
PatriotPerson

Pro

"Why should the US also kill innocent civillians?"
It's just a tragic part of warfare. No matter what war it is, people will die. And that includes civillians. Even in the American Revolution, there was the Boston Massacre. In the American Civil War, there was Bleeding Kansas. I'm just using these as examples.

"Well they still surrendered after the bombs fell, didn't they?"
They kind of had to.

"For months, its cities had been subjected to fire bombing on a vast scale. Its navy and most of its factories were in ruins. Fuel and food were scarce. They knew defeat was inevitable and the government was just planning on how surrender without humiliating themselves."
Same situation with Nazi Germany. However, they only threw up their arms and gave up the fight (Green Day reference sorry) because Hitler killed himself. Consider the Bombing of Berlin (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
XLAV

Con

XLAV forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
PatriotPerson

Pro

Con forfeited, so normally I would say "I extend my arguments until Con provides more of theirs", but it's the final round, so I'm going to make my concluding statements.
_______________________________________________________
The deadliest war in world history was coming to a close. Germany had been defeated upon Hitler's suicide, and Italy upon Mussolini's assassination. All the other axis countries had already switched to the Allies side or surrendered the fight altogether. That left one enemy keeping the war going: Japan.

The Imperial Japanese forces were not about to give up. Maybe the emperor was, but the military leaders certainly were not. This same army had ended the lives of thousands in pointless attacks such as Pearl Harbor and Nanking, among many others. With a confident army causing massive casualties, how can we stop them? We can't just go "please stop" and expect them to go "ok sorry". That's not how war works. If it was, trillions of lives would be saved throughout the course of human history.

So what's the answer? Unfortunately, it had to be force; the most justified and reasonable decision.
XLAV

Con

Sorry for forfeiting last round. I was sick.

Rebuttals

Round 4
Pointing out when soldiers killed innocent civilians in the past doesn't justify the bombings. The difference between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing from the Berlin bombing is, the Berlin bombing was necessary to end the war, the Germans were still able to fight and the Berlin bombings were a series of bombings. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were unnecessary, especially the bombing of Nagasaki and the bombings killed more civilians than soldiers.

Round 5

Lets look at the situation of the Japanese. All of their soldiers are already holed up in Japan, so they can't harm anymore civilians. The Allies already surrounded the Japanese and the Russians are attacking from the North. Defeat was inevitable for the Japanese.

Conclusion

Pro failed to rebut the alternative I gave to end the war and most of his arguments lack support and justifications. Saying Nanking had 300,000 casualties and Pearl Harbor had thousands of casualties is not a good justification. Pro also lacks sources to support his arguments and his only source is not even related to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by XLAV 2 years ago
XLAV
Thanks for voting.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 0/4:

(Sorry for the slight miscalculation on how many posts were needed)

An interesting debate on the ethics of a particular decision in war.

Conduct, obviously, for the forfeit.

As to arguments:

Pro used R1 to outline the situation. An overview of who the allies were, and the state of the Axis at the time of the bombing, with a bit of bias thrown in towards Pro's position (which isn't really a bad thing, it's just worth noting).

Pro notes right away the problem of the civilian casualties, but argues that the Japanese military was killing civilians, and that the bombing stopped that.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 1/4:

Con opens his round by noting the death toll from the bombings, and moving on to argue that there were alternatives. I don't think that the "accept less terms of surrender" was compelling at all. That said, Con's points about the USSR and conventional bombing coupled with a naval blockade did seem to have some merit. The biggest problem with this argument is that Con provides no contrast--what would the death toll have been in theory under the situation suggested of conventional bombing and naval blockade? We don't know--and that's a problem, since Con's suggesting it as an alternative to the nukes. After all, if the reasonable projected toll is HIGHER, then it's not really a better alternative.

Con claims that the second bombing was unnecessary, claiming first that the Japanese government did not have enough time to respond, and then admitting that their failure to respond "was an act of arrogance - which lead to the Nagasaki bombing." I didn't find this argument particularly compelling. You can't argue "It's not their fault, except that it was" and expect it to fly. They had 3 days to respond, and their silence was "arrogance". Con doesn't even say how many days he thinks *would* have been appropriate, or why, between the bombings.

Con argued next that the civilians should not be responsible for the actions of the military, and that saving soldier's lives by killing civilians is not moral. Good points--I'd like to have seen Pro address them more substantively.

The next point Con makes is that the bombings were unnecessary because Japan recognized defeat was inevitable. Con points out that "evidence now available" indicates that the emperor made a "then-secret decision" to move for peace. This argument falls on its face, since the motion is about whether the bombings were *justified*. If these things were secrets to the Allies/US, then it's not something that could have affected their justification.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 2/4:

Pro opens the next round talking about the death toll of various actions of the Japanese, with a focus on the civilian deaths. He brings up Nanking, which is a particularly damning bit of history. Pro argued that more innocents died in Nanking than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. This is a pretty compelling point, really, if Pro can establish that there weren't equally effective alternatives. Unfortunately, he doesn't address Con's alternatives. Though I wish Con had offered some contrast, they were at least offered as alterantives, and Pro really should have addressed them in some fashion, even if it was just to argue that without an estimation of the toll in contrast to the nukes, it's not a viable alternative. But he doesn't in this round.

Con opens the next round and argues that two wrongs don't make a right. Though a sound point, Pro's argument has been that these deaths were necessary to stop the war, and were the LESSER of two evils. Con argues that it was all the soldiers's fault, not the civilians. Though true, Con needs to address Pro's point regarding how it was Pro's contention that "...the bombings killed so many innocent people. But they prevented the deaths of many more."

Con's rebuttals regarding Japan's likelihood of surrender continue to be uncompelling to me, but that may be because Con said time was running out.

Round 4 is a brief one from Pro, and not a particularly strong one. There's a difference between recognizing collateral damage and targeting civilians--Pro seems to be saying "Well, no matter how hard we try, some civilians will die, therefore all civilian casualties are acceptable". I don't find that compelling, and Con addreses it in R5 (since Con forfeited R4).
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 3/4:

Pro brings up that the Nazis only surrendered after Hitler died--an interesting point, and I wish he'd connected it more strongly to the Allies perception of the Japanese's likelihood of surrender--what does that whole "Germany" point really mean? I mean, I think I know the point Pro was getting at, but he doesn't make it.

Con forfeited in R4, losing conduct, so the next round was R5.

Pro made his conclusion, arguing that Germany and Italy both required the death of their leaders before surrender happened, and that the last enemy was Japan. Pro claims that Japan was "not about to give up". He argued that thousands of civilians died at the hands of the Japanese, and closed with "So what's the answer? Unfortunately, it had to be force; the most justified and reasonable decision."

This closing misses the mark. Con wasn't advocating against ALL force, after all, so to close with a final defense of *force alone* was, in my opinion, a mistake on Pro's part. Force is essentially an accepted part of this debate. The question is about the SPECIFIC force. Pro can't win just by defending force, he has to defend as justified this specific use of overwhelming force against mostly civilian targets.

Con closes by noting that 'civilians sometimes die' (paraphrase) is not a compelling justification for targeting them. Con raises a point that the Berlin bombing was necessary and that in contrast "the [atomic] bombings killed more civilians than soldiers". This is a whole new line to take in the final round, and it's unsourced. I'm not sure how credible this difference Con points out is, and Con has conceded justified the bombing of an ostensibly civilian city. This point hurt his case.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 4/4:

Con says that defeat was inevitable. While probably true at that point, this doesn't really address the justification of the motion. Pro noted that the Japanese had no problems with killing civilians, and had argued that the bombings prevented the deaths of many more civilians. Con needs to rebut this, not just assert that defeat was inevitable.

Con raises a final point, that Pro never rebutted his alternative.

And here we reach the crux of the debate, to me, and the problem that resulted in Con losing the debate. Con's right, Pro should have addressed the alternative that was proposed. And I think Con's alternative probably has good support. *But Con didn't provide that support*. In the final analysis from my opinion, Con lost this debate because Con never offered a contrast, never supported the alternative as actually BETTER in any way. I think Con could have, and had Con done so I think this debate would have tipped the other way (though, obviously, that's just conjecture). Both sides seemed to concede the fundamental necessity of stopping the war and of stopping Japan. Pro argued that the bombs were necessary to do that (which is actually a stricter standard than merely justified). Con offered up some very good arguments against, but to win this needed to offer a *viable* alternative. An alternative was offered, but no talk about its *viability* happened. Though Pro can be faulted for not addressing it at all, that Con never gave us a means to differentiate the "conventional" alternative from the "nuclear" one means that I can't prefer the alternative.

I wish that Con had not had limited time in R3 and forfeited R4. Perhaps, had Con not done so, an expansion on the point would have happened. But we jduge the debate as it happened. So, Arguments, narrowly, to Pro.

As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Posted by XLAV 2 years ago
XLAV
Woops.
Posted by XLAV 2 years ago
XLAV
Woops.
Posted by dbushwacker 2 years ago
dbushwacker
They say it would have taken a million men to have taken japan, enough said.
Posted by dbushwacker 2 years ago
dbushwacker
So you'd rather the civilian's starve to death than have them disintegrated, terrible as either one is is duly noted but the bombs were a quicker solution; and what gives you the right to weigh the balance of an American life against that of a Japanese one. Understand that I can agree with both of you in some way but the bombs were a sooner solution that lead to a huge and evidently benifitial industrial and technological revolution in the island country. The incessant bombing wouldn't have made much difference anyways, Tokyo was already leveled long before that time and the toll would have been far more brutal would it have gone on any longer. So why draw it out, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the best choice we could have made for either side; though again, duly noted that we did not have the right to choose a country's entire fate, but it was justified.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Jingle_Bombs 2 years ago
Jingle_Bombs
PatriotPersonXLAVTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided no sourced evidence or discussion that the use of Atom Bombs on Japan would hasten the war or save lives - instead, Pro tried making an argument that nuking Japs was justified based on their criminal conduct for Nanking and the Pearl Harbor attacks. Without proving however, that civilian killing abides to military necessity and justification (which Pro could have done had he applied estimated death tolls for the invasion of Japan), I award my vote to Con.
Vote Placed by Daltonian 2 years ago
Daltonian
PatriotPersonXLAVTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD - https://docs.google.com/document/d/19pHWAPZOTVQHcQrBaNxvjhS5FZAVOtDcNTe_aiNodlc/edit
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
PatriotPersonXLAVTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.