The Instigator
Caine_M_L_Green
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TrueScotsman
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The atomic bombings in Japan were acts of terrorism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
TrueScotsman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,288 times Debate No: 39947
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

Caine_M_L_Green

Pro

In this debate I'd like to bring to light the events of World War II leading up to what I would call the ultimate act of terrorism. I do not find that the measures taken by the US were not at all necessary to ensure peace in Eastern Asia and the Pacific. I'd like to welcome anyone who thinks otherwise and would enjoy the discussion.
TrueScotsman

Con

Hello,

Hope you're having a great Monday morning/afternoon! Looking forward to a great debate!

My contention as Con is to demonstrate the following.

1. The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the ultimate acts of terrorism.
2. That the measures taken by the USA were seen by the military and governing officials as necessary based upon their knowledge at the time.


Terrorism?

Terrorism is an emotionally charged word, that frankly carries a lot of baggage in our society. It has become difficult to the degree that most people cannot draw a distinction between a military operation and terrorism, or perhaps they contend that they are one and the same. In many ways terrorism is a matter of perspective, to Al Qaeda the 9/11 attack was perhaps seen as a military operation, but what separates an attack like 9/11 and others like it and what the USA did in dropping bombs on Japan.

1. Is a terrorist attack established based off of the severity of the attack? The Allies of WW2 dropped thousands upon thousands of bombs upon Japan and Germany, but it is often not viewed that these mass bombings were "terrorist attacks," even though they totalled to far more damage overall. Therefore, it cannot be established on the overall severity of the attack.[1]

2. Is a terrorist attack established based off the use of fear and violence to coercse another? If one were to accept this definition, it would in effect describe all conflicts as being terrorist activity. Why do two nations go to war? Well, it is usually as a result of a foreign poltical or economic struggle (or of course desire for power) that fails in diplomacy and thus the two parties try to coerce their opponent through violence to concede to their demands. By this broad definition, all war is guilty of terrorism.

My contention is that terroism generally is designed to grant power through fear to a party that generally has none or little except through these means. Take for example, Al Qaeda, apart from their terrorist activities they have no means whatsoever for influencing foreign affairs. However, due to their global terrorist activities they have gained quite a bit of influence towards their political/religious ideologies.[2]

Therefore, considering this modern and appropriate definition of terrorism, the USA does not apply to this as I will contend in my next argument.

Military Operation, not Terrorism

The Allied Powers had just defeated the Third Reich in the European theater, and were now focusing in on obtaining a surrender from Japan. There were two completing this, should the Japanese fail to heed their terms for surrendering before action was taken.

1. Operation Downfall, the invasion of mainland Japan Honshu at the Kant!3; Plain, which was afforded by Japan's geography and was indeed predicted by the Japanese and would have been heavily defended.[3]

2. The other option was of course the route taken by the USA and it was the bombing of two Urban regions in Japan with important military objectives. Hiroshima was an important army depot and industrial center as well as port for Japan. Nagasaki was selected as it was one of the primary locations for ship building in Japan.

The Joint War Plans Commitee estimated that it there could be as high as 220,000 US casualties should we invade Japan with 500,000 of their own troops guarding their homeland to the last man. Due to this some historians have contended and quite reasonably that the decision to go with the atomic bomb to bring about a Japanese surrender was the better option.[4]

Even before this was to take place however, the Allied forces released the Potsdam Declaration detailing the terms of Japan's unconditional surrender. Within the declaration was this clause:

"We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."[5]

It is notable to mention the allusion to the atomic bomb which had been tested on the first day of this international conference. The terms were however set and agreed upon by the allied nations and not just America that Japan's refusal to agree to the terms of unconditional surrender would result in their "prompt and utter destruction."

The bombing was indeed prompt as the bombing of Hiroshima came just 4 days after Japan's refusal to adhere to the conditions set out in the Potsdam Declaration. The second bombing of Nagasaki was a strategic decision to convince the Japanese that the USA had more bombs that we were able to drop, as Japan having it's own atomic program understood the difficulty in producing such weapons might have expected the first to be the last of it.

Conclusion:

Truly it would have been preferrable for the Japanese to surrender to the Allies in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration before the bombs were ever dropped, but there were clearly no viable options for a peaceful conclusion to the war in the Pacific. Therefore, based upon the intelligence available and the development and success of the Manhattan project, the U.S. government and military forces opted to use the new weapon (largely not understood by the decision makers) against Japan and thus spare Allied ground, naval and air forces from another extended and bloddy conflict.

In 20/20 hindsight it's easy for us to criticize this decision, and we now know it was a bit like opening pandora's box against the people of Japan. However, it's destructive example has shaken the international community and perhaps kept the future conflict known as the Cold War from escalating to all out Nuclear war because it was demonstrated just how destructive these weapons were.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.nytimes.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] https://www.cia.gov...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Caine_M_L_Green

Pro

Caine_M_L_Green forfeited this round.
TrueScotsman

Con

Extension of arguments as my opponent forfeited the last round and did not of course address any of my points.

I too like my opponent would enjoy a fruitful discussion on the topic if he is available.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman
Debate Round No. 2
Caine_M_L_Green

Pro

Caine_M_L_Green forfeited this round.
TrueScotsman

Con

Extension of argument.
Debate Round No. 3
Caine_M_L_Green

Pro

Caine_M_L_Green forfeited this round.
TrueScotsman

Con

My opponent did not respond to any of my arguments that I presented.

Vote Con!

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
Caine_M_L_GreenTrueScotsmanTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Caine_M_L_GreenTrueScotsmanTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Ouch ouch ouch! Anyway full forfeit, plus con made a case.