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The United States was morally wrong to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to end WW2.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 435 times Debate No: 83652
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




To open I would ask that any opponent uses credible sources, and provides a website, like I have done as to where they found their information. Thank you, and goodluck!

Morality- concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character

Morality has only to do with the people harmed, not the technology used

Estimated totals of deaths, on impact, and from radiation within 10 years down the road, according to
Hiroshema- 65,000
Nagasaki- 35,000
For a total of 100,000 deaths give or take 5,000

General MacArthur estimated that to continue the war, it would take at least 50,000 more American lives, 30,000 more British lives, and 100,000 (60,000 Military, 40,000 Civilian lives) Japanese lives.
This estimate was found also on, from a meeting between the USA, and Great Britain on their next acts in the impending war

The problem was, the Japanese were beat, yes. However they were not out of fight, they were going to continue to fight, and continue to commit suicide taking out both Americans and themselves in the process. The problem is that the average ratio of Japanese suicide bombers to POW"s is 50:1 Most of the suicidal acts were committed by Japanese soldiers who were wounded, who would pull the pin on a grenade, wait for a corpsman to roll them over and blow the themselves, with the corpsman, up.

If we continued the war then we, as an American people would"ve lost more lives, something we, as red-blooded Americans should despise. Yet we would lose more lives overall. We would"ve lost an estimated 80,000 More lives than if we had dropped the bombs.

Also, these two bombings were NOT the most devastating bombings of WW2 on Japan, led by the US. We bombed multiple factories in, and around Tokyo with a flurry of B-29 Bombers, the deadliest of these raids had an estimated 129,000 deaths.

Nevertheless, we ended the war in a way that disabled the Japanese so they would not simply rise again a few years later to attack the US again. If we had left them with an unconditional surrender, a "you surrender or we drop bombs on you" there is a large chance, they would do one of two things:
Surrender and rise again a mere months or few years later to try to take on the US stronger than they originally were.
Think that we are bluffing and not surrender, in which we end up bombing them anyways

Dropping these bombs was the most clear cut way to end the war with the fewest casualties, ensuring that Japan would be crippled enough to know to not try anything for a long period of time, as well as loose the least amount of American lives as possible. Although there may not be a correct answer this is the least of the necessary evils.


The crux of this argument and others rests on the notion of the dichotomy between two available military actions, and the definitive link between one action and resultant casualties. The way you have framed this issue would indicate that the U.S. Strategic Command could loose the power of the atom and inflict x casualties, or execute a campaign of mass amphibious assault and incur y casualties, x being fewer than y.

However, the fundamental premise of your argument is false. It was not merely a decision betwixt two actions. By historical and journalistic accounts, the Japanese had engaged in negotiations with the United States, and Japanese hierarchy had verbalized a motion of compliance- the Japanese were willing to surrender to the Americans, provided Emperor Hirohito would be permitted to stay in power and would not be tried for war crimes. This was the sole condition in Japanese negotiations, and this request was made known to President Truman as early as May, 1945, four months prior to Japanese surrender on September 2nd.

Now, the argument hereafter might resemble something to the effect of, "the dual nuclear strike on Japan remained requisite to peace, because the Japanese were unwilling to accept *unconditional* surrender." This statement is correct; the Japanese negotiation was strictly conditional. The disruption of their established leadership would cause a considerable degree of politico-social duress, as the government scrambled to assemble a new leader and a new model of rule. Their anticipation of these consequences made such a condition objectionable to them, for the deposing of the emperor would be a symbolic defeat of Japanese culture. Since before the Sengoku period, Japan had construed its leadership after Shoguns and Emperors, and such a political system was central to Japanese cultural legacy. This, in the author's opinion, is why the Japanese were more hesitant to accept political upheaval than they were to accept massive war reparations reminiscent of WWI and the economic devastation of Germany.

Now, it is important to note that the conclusion of American-Japanese conflict was not unconditional. Hirohito retained his seat as Emperor until his death in 1989. He was not put on trial, and he never attained status as a war criminal. The "unconditional victory" against Japan had not been unconditional at all; it had been strictly conditional. So I ask my opponent, what necessitated nuclear warfare? The simple answer is that nothing did. The Japanese were willing to surrender to American command, and were willing to submit under the same terms as were accepted in the historical treaty. The atomic bombs served no greater purpose other than to add more civilian casualties to a thoroughly bloody war.

I await my opponent's reply.

"Great Mistakes of the War" ~Hanson Baldwin writer for the NYT covering WWII
Debate Round No. 1


The problem is that while the Emperor may have been Willing to surrender, their Generals were not willing to surrender, and even after the dropping of the first bomb were still militarizing forces.

The Japanese Emperor, did not have the authotrity to, by himself, end the war. He was about as useful as the Queen of England. He had high regard, yet military decisions were left primarily up to their high ranking leaders. For the same reason they had kamikaze bombers, Japanese held the Ideals of defending their mainland. The Generals just hours after the first bomb hit had started mobilizing cities and towns of people to "defend the mainland" for an impending attack. In that culture, suicide is praised as a honorable way to die, therefore the kamikaze bombers, and soldiers who were willing to commit suicide just to take one American life. The Japanese Generals, did NOT care about ANY lives, they cared less about the sanctity of human lives than those who commit abortions (although that is a debate for another day). The Generals sent out orders that POWs would be killed when they were returned, for their treasonistic acts.

It was not until we dropped the SECOND atomic bomb, that the Japanese emperor had enough support by a few of generals (some of the generals STILL insisted to press on) to convince the people to drop their weapons and surrender to the US.

The Japanese had already lost the war. The war was won at Okinawa, that victory proved to the World that Japan would crumble, yet, it was still unsure how many more lives were going to be lost in the process. In the sense of defending their mainland. Invading Japan, would be like invading the USA. There would be an enemy under every blade of grass. A IED around every corner, the Japanese would commit suicide just to take out one US soldier, and taking the whole island every battle, for every hill would be like Okinawa. This is why a land invasion would have been incomprehensible, and would"ve lost millions more lives than the bombs.

The argument that states we were speaking of a treaty, well we may have been talking about a treaty, but the beginning stages of negotiations, are never pretty. The early negotiations wanted the allied blockade removed, the Emperor is restored more power than he had before the war. The US would also have to allow Japan to have rights to nuclear warfare if they could build it themselves, as well as lifting all trade embargo. This was what was offered by the Japan before we dropped the two bombs. They were completely unrealistic terms, and outrageous to allow Japan to poses these weapons of mass destruction. Also, in addition to the emperor not being treated for war crimes, they wanted all but one of their Generals pardoned(The general who led Pearl Harbor, they knew that was a loosing battle) Also they wanted all of their POWs released. They then wanted to seat General MacArthur on trail for war crimes, which would be an absolute insult to the American people, as well as our military.

The biggest problem is that the Japanese, while defeated were NOT ready to surrender. They were prepared to fight to the death, to defend their land, at all cost.

Going back to the initial prompt the question is of the Morality of the decision. The dropping of the bombs was the most Moral solution because it was the most sure way to end the war while loosing the least amount of lives. If we had chosen to pursue any other ways then both America, and Japan would have lost more lives. It is estimated that a land invasion would have lost a million lives (Japanese, British, American, and all POWs in Japan). If we had left the blockade in place and simply used it to pressure Japan into surrendering they would have lashed out, attacking out ships, causing loss on both sides, however, more Japanese lives would have been lost due to starvation, which is much more inhumane than dying instantly by a bomb.

I ran out of room to enter my references, so if you message me.


Autocracy: "government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch."
Dictatorship: "a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator."

This congruity between the English monarch and the Japanese emperor does not exist. One of the sources I cited in my previous argument actually displays the surviving notion of "divine right" as a relevant factor in analyzing the Japanese regime. I will state it plainly in this argument.

The role of Emperors was indeed a symbolic one preceding the Boshin War (1868-1869). In the previous centuries the administration of Japan was primarily headed by the Shoguns, a line of military leaders who served the chief executive function in the Japanese political system. It was during this period that the Emperors performed the less essential role that you describe. However, after the Imperialist victory in 1869 the Shogunate was dissolved. Following was the Meiji Restoration, a period of industrialization and political centralization. The trends toward autocracy were briefly curtailed during the Taisho period, during which greater power was relegated to the oligarchical ruling classes. Even so, the rise of Hirohito marked the beginning of the Showa period, during which groups advocating democratization and leftism disintegrated; it was at this time that momentum for ultra-conservatism, ultra-nationalism, and fascism congealed in the creation of a militarist, imperial dictatorship.

All this I relate for the demonstration of the unitary nature of Imperial Japan. This was an autocracy. There was no pluralism; Hirohito was the absolute authority in Japan in 1945. If he desired peace, none of his subordinates would be capable of stopping him.

It is also worth noting that his motion for peace was actually unchallenged. This is, again, stated in my previous references. The Emperor and Japanese military leaders had both pressed for peace, under near-identical circumstances to the peace accepted in the treaty. Compounding this disgrace is the fact that Japanese diplomats had acted as "peace-feelers" as early as 1944.

Your assertions regarding Japanese terms are nonfactual. Nowhere in Japanese deliberations was there a consensus on the allowance for a nuclear program, the pardoning of military officials, or the trial of Gen. MacArthur. Not only would it have been impossible for them to have deliberated over nuclear weapons on the basis of American arms proliferation (as the nuclear program was classified and unknown to the Japanese), but specific to the terms was the "Regulation of Japanese industry to halt production of any weapons and other tools of war." Suffice to say, this includes nuclear weaponry. While the release of POW's was included, this was in the context of a reciprocated prisoner exchange, and only constituted the release of specially designated Japanese POW's. Your other points do not appear in any documents I've seen in my research.

The Japanese were, indeed, willing to surrender. Hirohito was willing, the military leaders were willing. The only party deeming surrender unacceptable at the time was the United States. Let it also be known that knowledge of Japanese deliberations for peace were not made publicly known until weeks after their surrender. In fact, this secrecy was ensured through government censorship of media outlets and wartime classification. American nuclear proliferation was morally objectionable beyond reasonable doubt.

References (*=Repost of a previous citation)
* (Refer to individual articles on periods)
Debate Round No. 2


cptmcdowell forfeited this round.


I'd like to thank cptmcdowell for an enjoyable debate.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by xX_69Shrek69_Xx 8 months ago
I'd like to add, according to the history channel it was estimated that to invade Japan, the US would lose over 7,000,000 men
Posted by whiteflame 10 months ago
>Reported vote: Sdio// Mod action: Removed<

6 points to Pro (Conduct, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Pro is not very charismatic but took the debate.

[*Reason for removal*] Clear vote bomb. The voter doesn't explain any point allocations.
Posted by Bravo8675309 10 months ago
Thanks, I'm looking forward to it myself. Should be a good one.
Posted by cptmcdowell 10 months ago
I'm interested in your debate on 'satanism' Ill be watching that, good luck. You are a very good presenter!
Posted by Bravo8675309 10 months ago
Man, that sucks. This website does tend to get pretty glitchy... Regardless, I had a lot of fun researching for this debate, and I'm glad you posted it to begin with!
Posted by cptmcdowell 10 months ago
I know this is super, unusual, but to my opponent I apologize for not using the final round, I had my entire argument written out in my notes and "" kept giving me errors "http could not be found" when I was trying to post.

References that I ran out of room to post lol. -same that oppnenent used
Posted by Bravo8675309 10 months ago
Thank you for voting! I was just curious as to what you perceived as my lack of charisma? I actually am curious and I hope to correct poor methods to make my debating more effective in the future.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by NothingSpecial99 10 months ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit