The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. They were both military targets.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 423 times Debate No: 94328
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Forty-thousand military personnel were stationed in Hiroshima, Japan prior to the atomic bombing on August 6th, 1945. Hiroshima was home to the headquarters of both the Japanese second army, and fifth division as well as the Japanese naval academy. Hiroshima is a port city and was home port to many ships that attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. Twenty-thousand military personnel were killed in the atomic bombing on Hiroshima, a quarter of the eighty-thousand estimated total immediate fatalities.
Twenty-thousand military personnel were stationed in Nagasaki, Japan prior to the atomic bombing on August 9th, 1945. Nagasaki is also a port city that was integral to warship building in 1945. The ships were built by Mitsubishi steel and arms works which was located in Nagasaki. Torpedoes were developed and built by Mitsubishi-Urakami ordinance works, also located in Nagasaki. Nine-thousand military personnel were killed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, almost one quarter of the total forty-thousand estimated immediate fatalities.
Approximately 14,276,800 allied soldiers died as a direct result of combat including 407,300 Americans. Military leadership in 1945 estimated between 500,000 and one-million allied casualties during an invasion of the Japanese home islands, as well as one to two million Japanese military and civilian casualties. In a worst case scenario, which would be preferable? The 120,000 estimated fatalities caused by the atomic bombs, followed quickly by the end of the war, or three-million dead after a long arduous invasion of Japan? Even with my public school education, that math seems pretty easy to me.
There is a taboo with atomic and nuclear weapons. The radiation factor. Radiation sickness, burns, and cancer that can (and did) happen after the use of the atomic bombs is tragic. Consider this however. The atom bombs weren't individually the deadliest bombing of Japan. In Operation Meetinghouse on March 9-10, 1945 Tokyo was firebombed. One-hundred-thousand Japanese burned to death in the firestorm. Tokyo, unlike Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political target with no military value except that it may have decapitated it's civilian leadership.



There were about 48,000 soldiers in Hiroshima and 300,000 civilians. 118,000 civilians were estimated to have died as well as 12,000 solders. And that was just Hiroshima. [1] Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen because they aided Japan's military is often the excuse provided when the question as to why the two cities were chosen comes up. Let me remind everyone that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were cities populated by civilians. Let me remind everyone that the target where the bomb was dropped was the centre of the city. Yes, Hiroshima aided the military but the military base wasn't right in the heart of the city. America wasn't aiming for the military base, it was aiming for the maximum destruction of the whole city. Civilians and all. There was absolutely no excuse for dropping the bomb.

Then my opponent states some very muddy stats.
14, 276, 800 soldiers died
I will clarify that, that was part of the whole of World War 2, not just the Pacific War. May I again remind you that 10,000,000 of those deaths were Russian's and Russia only join into the Pacific War the day before the war ended. [2] Therefore most Russian deaths were because of Germany. The US lost about 111,000 soldiers in the Pacific War. [3] Japan lost about 1,700,000 soldiers and 393,000 civilians. These are an estimation.

Then my opponent gives a very big exaggeration. The fact is, is that Japan had already been defeated. There was no need for the atomic bomb and nor was there the need to invade Japan to finish the war. America could literally have pulled all its military forces and starved Japan to surrender. There is no "the atomic bomb saved millions" because there was no need to invade Japan when Japan was already defeated. Many of the major American generals even stated this.

President Truman tried to justify the dropping of the atomic bombs by saying, they saved American lives and that they had chosen Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they were military bases. Then he goes so far as to state that they had done that to limit the amount of civilians killed. Considering that most of the deaths were civilians, I think that statement was pretty absurd. Japan had already been defeated and had reached out multiple times before the two bombs were dropped for surrender. America prolonged the war only because America wanted to show off how powerful they were to the Russians. [4]

All in all, America has no justification of dropping the atomic bomb upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan had already been defeated and the US was just prolonging the war until they could use the atomic bombs. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed purely out of spite and to show off how powerful America was. Those bombs were aiming towards the centre of the city, not the military bases.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Con for accepting my challenge for my first debate on, and also for your arguments.
"Then my opponent gives a very big exaggeration. The fact is, is that Japan had already been defeated." Con makes the statement Japan had been defeated three times in her opening argument. That is an opinion not a fact. Cite your source if im wrong. "Japan reached out several times for surrender..." is untrue as well. Once again, please cite your source.
After the test of the atomic bomb July 16th, 1945 and eleven days before the bombing of Hiroshima, the allied leaders including President Truman signed the Potsdam declaration, demanding Japan "surrender unconditionally, or face prompt and utter destruction." [1] Japan did not surrender. Japan was not defeated.
August 6th, 1945 the same day of the Hiroshima attack, the U.S. dropped millions of pamphlets on Japanese cities telling the people the specific destructive nature of the atomic bomb, that it had been used on Hiroshima, it would be used again, and to immediately evacuate. [2] Japan did not surrender. Japan was not defeated.
Three days elapsed between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Japan did not surrender. Japan was not defeated.
I dismiss the idea that the allies could have blockaded Japan and starved them into surrender. Millions of civilians would have starved to death before Japanese leadership capitulated. That's my opinion, but it's based on the fact that the Japanese were willing to kamikaze themselves rather than surrender. The Japanese leadership weren't willing to meet the terms of the Potsdam declaration before the atomic bombs ended the war.
Con focuses on the aiming point of the bombs being the city centre. Although that is factual, it was not to maximize civilian casualties. It was to ensure the target was hit. There were no smart bombs in 1945. No laser or GPS guidance. Bombs didn't fly in specific windows like today. They couldn't hit a given city block, much less a specific building, much less land right on top of a military base. They were dumb gravity weapons, completely unguided. In fact, the reason the much more powerful 22 kiloton Nagasaki bomb killed half as many people as the 12.5 kiloton Hiroshima bomb was it was dropped two miles off target [3].
Target selection is also telling. As cited, there were two bases and the Japan naval academy in Hiroshima, home to 40,000 troops (my source) or 48,000 troops (Cons source). It was also a military port. Nagasaki wasn't the primary target, the much more valuable military target Kokura was. Kokura was covered by clouds and the crew moved on to the secondary target, Nagasaki.[4]


My opponent states numerous times that Japan had not surrendered, Japan was not defeated. My opponent seems to think that defeat and surrender are two of the same things which is a very large misunderstanding that many people make. Surrender by definition is "Stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority:" [1] The definition of defeat is "Win a victory over (someone) in a battle or other contest; overcome or beat:" [2] Those are not the same thing, am I right? To defeat someone is to beat them in a battle in our context. To surrender to someone is to submit to their authority. Those are not the same thing. Japan was already militarily defeated on the June of 1945. [4] Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945.

As for the Potsdam conference. Stalin passed on a message that they had received from the Peace feelers of Japan. "It was the personal desire of the Emperor, to avoid further bloodshed... Our answer of course is negative." Stalin said. [3] To that, President Truman practically ignored it and went on with the conference. The only condition Japan was asking for was if the royal family could be safe. President Truman ignored that and insisted on unconditional surrender. Japan had already tried to surrender and America refused. The way Japan tried to surrender were explicit and obvious. There was no justification in dropping the two bombs when Japan was already defeated and ready to surrender.

Then my opponent says that the LeMay leaflets justified the use of the two bombs. Let me ask you something, if a terrorist warned New York City that it was going to be nuked, would the terrorist be let off the hook? If I warned you that I was going to punch you, would I be let off the hook? No. Just because you give a warning doesn't justify the act. If America had lost the war, those who dropped the two atomic bombs and those who planned the bombings of Tokyo and other cities would have been tried for war crimes. Just because you give a warning does not mean you're off the hook. The warnings did not justify the act.

Then my opponent dismisses the fact that America could have starved Japan into surrender based upon opinion. Opinion is subjective. America could have starved Japan into surrender. [4] And let me add, America couldn't have cared less if the Japanese civilians died of starvation. The hatred America had of Japan at that time was immense. To the point where they were so paranoid that they sent all American-Japanese people to camps in America, the equivalent of concentration camps. All because they were Japanese.

Then my opponent states that the middle of the city was targeted because bombs could not aim where they were dropped. That makes no sense at all. Why not aim for the military base then? Those two bombs were aiming for maximum damage of all Japanese civilians. Just because the bombs themselves couldn't aim doesn't justify the attack. That's like stating that all because I threw a grenade into the restaurant and it couldn't aim itself, suddenly I'm let off the hook for my action.

Now I will clear up the myth that many people mistakenly believe. Japanese people were not blood thirsty savages. I have no idea why people believe this but they do. There were some Japanese extremists out there but lets put this into perspective. There are a lot of christians out in the world and then there are some extremist christians. Just because the extremist christians did something bad does not mean that all christians do that. Same with muslims, and any other religious, or ethnic group. Yet most of the world likes believes that certain ethnic or religious groups are all like the extremists. Let me tell you one thing, Japanese soldiers were afraid of dying. Does that surprise you? American soldiers were afraid of dying, did that surprise you? Probably not, so I don't get how it surprises people that Japanese soldiers were afraid of dying. Yes, Japanese people were loyal to their country, just like an American would be loyal to America. Why does it surprise people that Japanese people would be sharpening bamboo sticks into spears? Wouldn't you do the same if you knew your country had already lost the war and that your enemy was preparing to slaughter all of you? The Japanese were very aware of the fact that their country had already lost the war. They were also very aware of the fact that America was preparing a mass invasion of Japan that would probably slaughter most of the Japanese civilians. So why do people think its odd that Japanese civilians would want to defend themselves against this threat? Wouldn't you do the same? The myth that Japanese people are blood thirsty savages is totally fake and based off of a couple of extremists.

Debate Round No. 2


"The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. They were both military targets." Respectfully, Con strays from the entire point of the debate in round 2. The previously sourced fact is 40,000 military personnel were in Hiroshima and 20,000 military personnel in Nagasaki when the atomic bombs were dropped. I grew up in a town of 27,000 people. It wasn't a metropolis, but seemed like a lot of people to me. I'm a United States navy veteran. I don't know if Con has either volunteered or been conscripted to serve in her military, but to this veteran if 20,000 or 40,000 military personnel are concentrated in one area, it is a legitimate military target.
There were two factions in Japanese government at the end of world war two. The military faction, who were willing to fight to the last person, and the Emperor's "Peace Feelers" coalition who wanted a negotiated peace. Unfortunately for the people of Japan, and tragically for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese military was in complete, utter control of Japan. There is a difference between "defeat" and "surrender" as Con correctly cites. The Japanese military was in fact defeated, and no longer an effective force. The Japanese military still did not surrender until after Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been attacked with atomic bombs.
There were several targets discussed for a possible atomic bombing. Among them, the Emperor's palace in Tokyo. Kokura. Kyoto. Yokahama. Niigita.
If as Con argues, the whole point of the atomic bombings was to kill civilians and show off to the Soviet Union, why was the most populous city, and modern capital Tokyo not bombed? Why was the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto, the city of 10,000 shrines, a culturally rich, heavily populated, and militarily worthless target not bombed? Because the US wanted to kill soldiers. 29,000 soldiers as previously cited were killed. Mission accomplished.
Finally, if the US just wanted to murder civilians and pay Japan back for Pearl Harbor, why did they accept Japans surrender in the first place? The Potsdam declaration demanded an "unconditional surrender". President Truman accepted Japan's surrender with one condition. Japan got to keep the Emperor. Truman broke the Potsdam declaration to end the war.
The scientists who built the atomic bomb could build one every two weeks. If Truman wanted to murder Japanese civilians he would not have accepted a conditional surrender. He would simply have made another Japanese city disappear every two weeks.
The US dropped two atomic bombs on two cities and killed 29,000 military personnel. Japan surrendered. World war two was over.
"War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is the sooner it will be over."
-General William Tecumseh Sherman, Union Army, U.S. civil war


My opponent has this misconception that the whole point of the atomic bombing was because the two cities were military targets and suddenly that justifies the act.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. They were both military targets.

My opponent is for that and I am against that, therefore I am allowed to use other evidence.

There was all in all, about 348,000 people in Hiroshima. Of the 130,000 to die, only 12,000 were soldiers. That means 118,000 civilians died in Hiroshima. [1]

About 60,000 military personnel were between the two cities. 118,000 civilians died in Hiroshima, and that was only Hiroshima. I don't really think it matters what kind of town you lived in, that's subjective. It is obvious that these were cities, not strictly military bases. If you are trying to belittle the fact that America was actually aiming for two cities, it's not working. There was 40,000 military personnel in Hiroshima, and there was about 300,000 civilians. Try and tell me that Hiroshima wasn't a city.

Then my opponent tries to say that the emperor of a 2600 year old dynasty, had absolutely no power even though he was revered like a god to all his people. I highly doubt that. My opponent doesn't even offer any sources. My opponent even admits that Japan tried to surrender.

America had already broken the Japanese codes and the Japanese knew that. America already knew Japan wanted to surrender. Click on the article and read the telegrams under the heading "Japan Seeks Peace". [2] On January 20, 1945 President Truman received 5 different peace surrenders from high-level Japanese officials. The only condition was that the emperor would be safe. Japan also tried three attempts through neutral countries and tried to plea with Russia as well as the 5 peace surrenders. Japan was not only explicit and obvious about surrender but it was also official. There was absolutely no reason to drop the two atomic bombs when Japan had already been militarily defeated and had already tried to surrender. President Truman had five peace treaties that he could have signed. This is obvious evidence that America prolonged the war.

Then my opponent tries to deflect the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were civilian populated cities by asking why wasn't Tokyo bombed. This does not at all defend his cause, nor is that an actual point. But I will answer to aid my own point.

Tokyo if you didn't already know was destroyed mostly by the greatest airstrike in the whole history of the Pacific War. 520 B-29's dropped 4500 tons of explosive upon Tokyo. Then 502 B-29's dropped 4000 tons of explosives on Tokyo. This destroyed 56 square miles of Tokyo, and Tokyo is Japan's capital. To put that in perspective, that would be about 27,104 football fields. [3] And before that, another air strike of 200 bombers destroyed 16 square miles. So essentially that's 34,848 football fields. So why did Tokyo not get picked? Maybe because it had already been destroyed. Like I said before, if America had lost the war, the bombing of Tokyo would have been considered a war crime. Kyoto was considered as a third area to drop another atomic bomb.

Then my opponent says Hiroshima and Nagasaki were picked out because America wanted to kill soldiers. Firstly I would like to point out that killing just for the same of killing does not justify killing. Japan was already defeated. Secondly I would like to point out how absurd that statement is. Are you joking me? Let me state the stats. [1] [4]
Hiroshima-348,000 [1]
-300,000 civilians
-48,000 military personnel
-118,000 civilians died
-12,000 military personnel died
Nagasaki-263,000 [4]
-254,000 civilians
-9,000 military personnel
-estimated 70,000 civilians died
-doesn't state that any of the military personnel died
From my sources it states that 12,000 military personnel died and 188,000 civilians died. So no, America wasn't bombing the two cities just for the sake of killing some soldiers.

Then my opponent asks me more questions which isn't actually a refute. America didn't accept Japan's surrender treaty, Japan accepted America's unconditional surrender. There is a big difference. For a person who's served in the military, my opponent should know. Secondly it wasn't as if America graciously let the emperor keep the throne. Remember that Japan accepted unconditional surrender which meant that they weren't sure whether the emperor would be safe. America only let the emperor stay because that helped with occupying Japan. The irony of that, is that America could have ended the war on the 20, of January 1945 when president Truman had received those 5 different peace treaties. There was absolutely no need or justification of the use of the bombs.

America only used the bombs to show off to Russia that America was powerful. There was going to be a Cold War and America wanted to be on the top. Japan was merely the stage as to which America showed off to the world how powerful they were. There was no justification or need to use the bombs. Japan had already been militarily defeated, Japan was already trying to surrender. That proves that America prolonged the war just so that it could drop its newest weapon just so that it could show off.

"The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war."
-General Curtis LeMay [2]

"The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing ... I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon,"
-General Dwight Eisenhower [2]

Brig. General Bonnie Fellers summed up in a memo for General MacArthur:

"Neither the atomic bombing nor the entry of the Soviet Union into the war forced Japan's unconditional surrender. She was defeated before either these events took place."
-General Bonnie Fellers [2]

And last but not least. This is an excerpt from a 12 year old school girl that survived.

"Then I realized that my face, hands, and legs had been burned, and were swollen with the skin peeled off and hanging down in shreds. I was bleeding and some areas had turned yellow. Terror struck me, and I felt that I had to go home. And the next moment, I frantically started running away from the scene forgetting all about the heat and pain." [5]

If you think that it was justified to bring innocent civilians into a war the way America did by using the atomic bombs then vote pro. If you think it was justified to kill pre-schoolers while they sat at school learning then vote pro. If you think that it was ok to kill normal everyday people who had little to no say in the outcome of the war then vote pro. If you don't agree with that then vote for me.

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 months ago
>Reported vote: SchinkBR// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Pro (Conduct, Arguments), 2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con used new sources and new arguments in the final round. This is poor conduct in my mind as Pro never got a chance to refute. Sp/Gr: No errors noted, tie Sources: Pro used numerous reliable sources but gets a strike for using wikipedia Arguments: Con loses the argument concerning the death totals. While civilian casualties are important, Pro succeeds in defending his point that the military assets and personnel make them targets. In R3, Con also tries to turn Pro's argument from R1 about Toyko in Con's favor but the logic doesn't follow through to me. Pro's point was that there were worse things done earlier in the war, not that they should have bombed Toyko with the atom bombs.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Sources are insufficiently explained. The voter appears to vote solely on the basis that one side used Wikipedia as a source. Not only does this require explanation (you can't just say "wikipedia deserves a strike", you have to explain why it does), but the voter cannot just cherry-pick sources they dislike and vote to the other side on that basis. Nor can the voter just state that one side had reliable sources, then award sources to the other without any evaluation of his sources. The voter must establish why certain sources were reliable or not reliable and then compare the whole of them between the two sides if they wish to award these points. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. While the voter does specifically assess at least one point for each side, it's not clear how those points affected the voter's view of the overall debate. Assessing a couple of arguments does explain how the voter perceived these points, but it does not explain whether or not the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified.
Posted by Foxian 2 months ago
Good job Con! You didn't plagiarize this time, you even sourced the article you plagiarized in your last debate regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SchinkBR 2 months ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Source Pro used wikipedia which is a reliability foul. It's ok to use them to start research, but you should never site them. It even says so on their site: "Wikipedia articles (and Wikipedia mirrors) are not reliable sources for any purpose." Conduct: Con used new sources and new arguments in the final round. This is poor conduct as Pro never got a chance to refute. Arguments: Con loses the argument concerning the death totals. While civilian casualties are important, Pro succeeds in defending his point that the military assets and personnel make them targets. In R2, Con missed the point that the bombs were aimed at military targets and missed. In R3, Con tries to turn Pro's argument from R1 about Toyko in Con's favor but again he misses the point. Pro's said that there were worse things done earlier, not that they should have nuked Toyko. Con repeatedly misses Pro's points and thus does not refute them.