The Instigator
revic
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Oromagi
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The use of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: a war crime that can't be justified?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Oromagi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,134 times Debate No: 55394
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

revic

Pro

Although this is a historical debate, there shouldn't be sourcing on this one.
My opponent will simply use internet sources which are completely unreliable.

I have held such a debate earlier, and faced off against someone who completely misinterpreted the debate and ignored all my arguments - please, don't do that either.

However it is hard since we will most likely end up with contradicting "historical facts" so my opponent must agree upon the following things:

1) I have read a great deal of books but I'm not eager to look up the page for any of them - but I am trustworthy and promise not to tell any lies. What I say will be found on the internet, so should my opponent doubt what I say, at least google it before nullifying my fact as has been done to me before.

2) My opponent must also agree that he will be defending a pro-american stance so he will find alot of information on the internet to his liking. I must remind him/her to criticise all facts found on the internet. Wikipedia is trustworthy, but all the rest (unless research by actual historians) will be ignored. And yes, I'm talking about that "invasion-page" with a huge american flag as background.

3) I will mainly use reasoning when it comes to things like "the japanese would fight to the death". That is a lie well-spread after the war although it contradicts human nature itself.

First round is for acceptance, my opponents view on my rules, and my opponent should set out his arguments point by point without going into detail. I will do the same, without replying to his (unless it is actually an argument to nullify a certain thought). After that, my opponent can defend the traditional view of history.
Oromagi

Con



I'll accept that debate and thank Pro for the opportunity to discuss a history topic. I was often involved in anti-nuke activism in the 1980s, so my advocacy here will contradict my personal views in some ways.

War Crimes should refer to the modern definition established by the Nuremberg Charter, as opposed to the Hague Convention of 1907. We should agree that use of the Hague Conventions would define every major combatant nation since 1907 as guilty, since many of the fundamentals of 20th century war, including aerial bombardment, mines, submarines, etc were prohibited but also ignored by most signatories by the close of the First World War.

Justification can sometimes be tricky to define, but Wikipedia offers the following:

"Justification in jurisprudence is an exception to the prohibition of committing certain offenses. Justification can be a defense in a prosecution for a criminal offense. When an act is justified, a person is not criminally liable even though their act would otherwise constitute an offense. For example, to intentionally commit a homicide would be considered murder. However, it is not considered a crime if committed in self-defense."



RE: I have read a great deal of books but I'm not eager to look up the page for any of them - but I am trustworthy and promise not to tell any lies.

Keep in mind that RELIABILITY of SOURCES is a judgement made by voters. I have no doubt that Pro is trustworthy, but will reserve the right to challenge any statistics or statements that are not in keeping with the historical record.

RE: Wikipedia is trustworthy, but all the rest (unless research by actual historians) will be ignored.

Again, the voters can decide. Although I am Wikipedia editor/contributor myself, I would argue that even Wikipedia must be treated with some skepticism. I'll agree with Pro that any claim, no matter how preposterous, seems to have a supporting link somewhere on the internet, so just throwing down a bunch of links does not improve an argument's strength. Fortunately, most judges on DDO will evaluate any supporting links with some skepticism.

RE: "The Japanese would fight to the death" is a lie well-spread after the war although it contradicts human nature itself.

Interesting perspective. Do you likewise discount Masada, the Alamo, and Stalingrad as well-spread lies? I'll look forward your argument in this regard.


I'll also voice my resistance to Pro's request for outline: Pro gets the advantage of instigation and also demands the opportunity to review Con's arguments before composing his own? Pro is stacking the deck in his favor but leaves Con with little choice but to comply. I'll reserve the right to edit or adjust these arguments in response to Pro's claims and to offer new arguments in the third or fourth round.

*****Rough Outline for Con***********************


I. Dispute the application of war crime language to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

II. Evaluate legal justifications for murder.

A. Evaluate Japanese mindset prior to Aug 9th
1. Executive deadlock
2. Bushido
B. Evaluate US mindset prior to Aug 9th
1. Discuss scope of defensive measures permissible while under attack

III. Civilian protection as academic, diplomatic fantasy.

IV. Casualty projections for invasion vs. unconditional surrender

A. Japanese
1. Military
2. Civilian
B. Allied
1. US
2. UK

V. Cold War advantage

A. Churchill and the Third World War
B. Nuclear threat vs. nuclear demonstration
1. Korea, Vietnam
2. Cuban Missile Crisis
C. US Cold War victory vs. USSR Cold War victory

**************************

Thanks again to Pro for providing to opportunity to discuss this interesting topic. I look forward to his arguments.



Debate Round No. 1
revic

Pro

Thanks to Con for his interesting points! After the debate, I would still like to maintain contact so he could tell me about his anti-nuke activism period!

And, you are right, I did give myself some favors so I will not reply to your statements just yet. I did neet your rough outlines just so I could know where this was going!

1) War crimes

I fully agree with your choice of definition. We shall debate it like that.
Am I correct that this includes crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and crimes in violation of transnational obligations embodied in treaties and other agreements?

2) Sourcing

You are right, but I just hope my arguments will not be refuted by "didn't source". You may have the sourcing points for all I care, I am way more interested in talking to you about this subject.

3) The Japanese wouldn't fight to the death.

This is mainly based on the facts that the Japanese internally were already looking for peace as they could not win the war. Secondly, "the Japanese" includes civilians. By some logic, they think that just because there were mandatory training camps the Japanese would actually die and let their children die for an emperor they had never seen. I doubt this would have happened, as the situation wasn't comparable to that in Okinawa/other suicide islands. Those people had received a direct order from Hirohito promising them "equal status to that of a soldier". The number of people actually committing suicide was relatively small, even after such promise.

I must remind con here that the idea that the Japanese civilians would fight to the death was an assumption, and not something that was proven. The Japanese showed a strong spirit, but by then they were starving and most were homeless due to firebombing. I think they looked forward to the war ending, and not to death.

4) My argumentation

Most of it falls within Con's outlines, but I will be honest and admit that I couldn't possibly be a debater as good as him. Even his outlines are so well-written that I must remain humble. English is not my native language either, so whatever I say might sound simplistic.

I. Would Japan have surrendered without the use of Fat man and/or Little boy?

Historian Hasegawa has argued in my favor here. One must attempt to weigh out the amount of influence the use of A-bombs had, and the influence the Sovjet invasion of Manchuria had.
Hasegawa has said that it was Manchuria that brought the cabinet to change their minds, while the A-bombs had a huge influence on the emperor. However, this is debatable but only by those who actually posess the same documents Hasegawa and his opponents have. I simply bring him up to show that it is not certain what the influence of the bombs actually was.

Here, I must already do what my opponent has mentioned in his outlines. Luckily, we are in for debating the exact same thing: We must debate the Japanese mindset prior to august 9.

Prime minister and Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Hideki Tojo had been forced to resign on July 18, 1944. He had lost the battle for Saipan/Okinawa. Now, Kuniaki Koiso became Prime minister. He did not remain prime minister for long as he (an army general) was not popular with government ministers who favored making peace, but neither with those who wished to prosecute the war until the bitter end. This meant a change in mindset for Japan, as they now appointed Kantar!3; Suzuki. This man is said to have had distant desires for peace. It is under him that a surrender became possible, but they were going to try to surrender on terms very favourable to them. In May, the Big Six first seriously discussed ending the war. Sat!3;, a Japanese diplomat, was sent to try and seek peace with the Allies in Moscow. They were still trying to achieve a more favourable surrender at the time the bombs were dropped.

Lastly, it has to be mentioned that firebombing had already done major damage. It seems almost as if there was no need to destroy more cities, since the blockade prevented any ships from setting sail and the plane production was already reduced to half of what it was before the bombings.

II. America's options to end the war

My opponent is very intelligent as he has clearly had this debate before. I have no doubt he has debated against the use of nuclear weapons strongly, but there is another important fact that is often overlooked when debating this: America could know every diplomatic message sent by codes as they had successfuly cracked the Japanese codes.
The first question we should ask here is "why didn't America consider using their intel to manipulate the Japanese cabinet into surrender?". The answer is quite obvious: they were eager to use the bomb both because of the already spent fortune on its research, but also because of Truman's anti-russian policy. Truman must have wanted to impress the Russians as he also bothered himself with things like wanting to defeat Japan before Russia interfered.

Oromagi has made clear in his outlines he would consider the invasion a major argument, but as I have just shown, that was not the only option. I would argue that of the three possible options, negotiation was better than the use of A-bombs, and the use of A bombs better than an invasion.
I will not dig into this as it is one of my opponent's points. He would have to show that the use of A bombs was better than negotiating though.

A last option - but perhaps one that not matters as much - is the fact that no clear warning was given to the Japanese.

I will admit that negotiation might not have turned out well, but since there wasn't even the slightest attempt to negotiate from America's side I believe it should be taken into consideration.

III. The consequences of the chosen option: nuking not one, but two cities.

It is quite clear that there were some communication problems within America. Truman ordered the first bomb to be dropped, but 3 days later the military had already arranged for a second one to be dropped while Truman was still not certain if that should be done.

Now, on to the consequences. Many of you must already be aware of these facts but I shall still list them as they are very important to actually define why this weapon had consequences unheard of.

Although it could be argued if Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets (they most certainly held some military significance, but apperently not enough to have been bombed before), we can all conclude that their population was mainly civilian. That's what would make this a war crime: the fact that civilians were killed unnecessarily (my opponent will argue the exact opposite - that it was necessary).

A: destructive effects on environment

Needless to say, practically the entire city laid in ashes. Fire everywhere, clouds making it seem night and black radioactive rain coming down. Aside from that, there was initial radiation and induced radiation. That last meant radioactive soil, which affected the people visiting the place even after the bomb had destroyed it.

B: effects on humans

"Over 90% of persons within 500 meters (1,600 ft.) of ground zero in both cities died.
"At 1.5 km (almost one mile), over 2/3 were casualties, and 1/3 died.
"Of those at a distance of 2 km (1.2 mi.), half were casualties, 10% of whom died.
"Casualties dropped to 10% at distances over 4 km (2.4 mi.).

These were initial effects. Afterwards, radiation killed many more, left most survivors with permanent scars and on the long term the following diseases occured in the given number:
Around 1,900 cancer deaths can be attributed to the after-effects of the bombs. An epidemiology study by the RERF states that from 1950 to 2000, 46% of leukemia deaths and 11% of solid cancer deaths among the bomb survivors were due to radiation from the bombs, the statistical excess being estimated at 200 leukemia and 1700 solid cancers. Around 1,900 cancer deaths can be attributed to the after-effects of the bombs. An epidemiology study by the RERF states that from 1950 to 2000, 46% of leukemia deaths and 11% of solid cancer deaths among the bomb survivors were due to radiation from the bombs, the statistical excess being estimated at 200 leukemia and 1700 solid cancers.

The numbers are irrelevant in showing what a disaster this was for the civilians and what they had to endure. it is literally something we wouldn't wish for even our worst enemy.

IV. What justification could possibly exist for harming civilians anyways?

As my opponent has shown, according to the Hague conventions all parties would have been found guilty. I fully agree with that opinion: all parties were guilty in my book. By dropping the bombs, you take away each individual in that city's chances. You make the options for him.
Even if there would have been a necessity for an invasion, the civilians' choice to either die for their country or to surrender would be taken away. America has made the choice for them.
It did not occur to America that the civilians in Japan were both the victims of all bombings, but also of their own government. To see the government and the people as one, was obviously what lead them to believe that all civilians would follow the Bushido way and die for their country. Nobody realized that just like in nazi Germany, those in favor of surrender would be eliminated and the civilians listening to the allies radio broadcast, or reading the allies' leaflets, were arrested.
Neither can those civilians possibly be held in account for what their leaders ordered: slaughter of Nanking, not accepting the Potsdam declaration, ... these were all enforced decisions of which some did not even reach the public.

I really look forward to my opponent's points. This should become very interesting!

You are allowed to start counterarguing since this is the second round. However, I have not counterargued your points as you have not yet had the chance to elaborate about what they actually are.
Oromagi

Con




RESOLVED: The Use of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: a war crime that can't be justified.


THESIS: Con will stand in the NEGATIVE in regards to two aspects of the resolution:
  • The use of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagaski does not meet any legal definition of war crime, and
  • The use of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is exempt from any international criminal liability and thereby justified by any ordinary application of international law

I. WAR CRIME

A. What constitutes a war crime?

1. War crimes are those violations of the international laws or customs of war for which individuals are held legally liable.

Wikipedia provides the following examples of war crimes:
  • murdering, mistreating, or deporting civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps
  • murdering or mistreating prisoners of war or civilian internees
  • forcing protected persons to serve in the forces of a hostile power
  • killing hostages
  • killing or punishing spies or other persons convicted of war crimes without a fair trial
  • wantonly destroying cities, towns, villages, or any object not warranted by military necessity[1]

2. None of these apply to Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Wanton destruction is defined as unprovoked which can't be said to apply to the US, a nation which worked hard to remain out of the Second World War until Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941. Both cities were properly assessed as military targets. Hiroshima was the headquarters for the 2nd General Army and the Army Marines, had large depots of military supplies, and was a vital shipping center.[2] Nagasaki was a center of heavy industry: Mitsubishi built much of the Imperial Navy there and was home to Sasebo Naval base. Therefore the term "war crime" does not apply. [3]

B. The Modern definition of "War Crime" was not in effect at the time of the bombings.

1. We agreed to recognize the Nuremberg Charter as the modern instrument by which war crimes are evaluated and brought to justice, a document that the US signed the document almost simultaneously with the second atomic bomb drop at Nagasaki. [4] Although the timing was probably not intentional, we must recognize that Nuremberg could not have yet foreseen the use of atomic weapons in war and USAF personnel in Japan would not be aware of these new conventions until after Japan's surrender.

2. In 1962, the Japanese government acknowledged that there was no international law prohibiting the use of atomic bombs.

C. Besides which, victors define what is a "war crime" and what is not.

1. It may be a cynical statement, but at its most pragmatic war crime proceedings are an instrument used by the victors of war to assign fault, punish and then reconcile with the governments of defeated nations. Losers never get to decide what makes a war crime.

II. JUSTIFIED ACT

A. Legal Justifications for Murder

1.Wikipedia defines the ordinary exemptions from legal liability that apply to justifiable homicide. I'll summarize them here.

a. A soldier may kill a soldier of an opposing state during legitimate states of war.
b. States may enforce capital punishment according to the law.
c. Individuals defending themselves .
d. Individuals defending their property.
e. Individuals who lose control of their actions in response to extreme duress or provocation.
f. The doctrine of necessity. i.e., a surgeon saves one conjoined twin by killing the weaker twin.
g. Abortion of the unborn.
h. Right to die euthanasia
i. Law enforcement officers may kill to prevent harm to others [5]

2. In the use of the A-bomb, exemptions a, c, d, e, and i can be seen as applicable.

a. Since both targets were primary military manufacturing zones and primary military bases, the bombings certainly qualify as soldiers killing soldiers.
c. US Citizens were defending themselves from an unprovoked attack (Pearl Harbor).
d. US Citizens were defending their property from invasion and destruction.
e. Duress and extreme provocation apply. US Citizens were suffering from horrendous casualty rates, surpassing even the number of combat deaths incurred by both sides during the American Civil. [6] Except for the Civil War, the US had experienced no more significant threat to her well-being than the War with Japan.
i. The US was certainly acting in a decisive manner to prevent future harm not just to US citizens, but also British, Russian, Chinese, Korean, etc.

3. Since multiple ordinary exemptions for murder apply, the A-bombs may be viewed as a case of justifiable homicide, albeit on the spectacular scales seen only during the Second World War.



B. Casualty Projections

1. We should acknowledge that justifications e and i listed in II.A.2 above are rather more controversial than the first three. However, much of that controversy must be seen as impelled by the advantages of hindsight and the distance of time. We do better to see the decision from the perspective of President Harry Truman, the single man who bore the burden of responsibility.

2. Allied Casualty estimates [7]

a. By August 1945, the US had lost 400,000 soldiers. The majority of those had been lost in the preceding year.
b. Of the US's ten all-time most costly battles, seven had taken place in the previous 400 days.
c. Casualty rates in the Pacific escalated alarmingly as the US drew nearer to the Japanese mainland.
1. 6800 soldiers had been killed at Iwo Jima in the spring and 12,500 had been lost taking Okinawa.
d. The US military's casualty estimates for an invasion of the Japanese homeland ranged from 250,000 to one million
1. British military estimates were one million US dead, 250,000 UK dead.
2. In expectation of a Japanese Invasion the government had already manufactured 500,000 Purple Hearts, the medal awarded to wounded or killed soldiers. The US Military still uses the Purple Hearts from this 1945 stockpile today.
3. More rational projections of 40-150,000 US dead were submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but Truman later would cite the 250-1,000,000 number.
e. Projected losses would also be expected for a continued war on the Chinese and (anticipated) Russian fronts.
f. Codename Purple intelligence reported to Truman that Japanese prisoner of war camps had orders to execute POWs in the event of an invasion.


3. Japanese Casualty Estimates [7]

a. Gen. MacAuthur estimated a 22:1 Japanese to American casualty ratio during the Battle of Okinawa.
b. The most common Dept of Defense projections for Japanese casualties during an mainland invasion were 5-10 million.
1. Whether these numbers included citizens of subjected nations where forced labor and starvation were killing tens of thousands each month is uncertain.
c. By way of contrast, the March 9th firebombing of Tokyo destroyed a much wider area than anticipated by an A-bomb drop and killed an estimated 100,000 people.

4. Japanese Deadlock

a. We might also do well to remember that Japan's defeat had been a relative certainty for much of the year, but Japan had ignored every demand for surrender. The Potsdam Declaration outlined the relatively reasonable conditions for Japanese Surrender and Truman had declared that the only alternative to surrender was "utter destruction."
b. The Japanese warrior code - Bushido had been deeply ingrained in the Japanese character during the era of Japan's increased miltantism. For many of Japan's most important decision-makers, death was preferable to the dishonor of Japanese occupation.
c. Certainly in first week of August, Japan continued to mobilize for a desperate defense- the military draft was expanded to include men 15-60 years old and women 17-45, adding an additional 28 million.

5. Japanese Atomic bomb

a. Significantly, Japan also had a nuclear program underway. Although US intelligence had estimated slow progress in the early months of the war, the US knew that Japan had received a substantial of assistance from the more advanced German program in the months before the Fall of Berlin. Truman could not rule out the possibility that Japan might be able to achieve the psychological advantage of deploying an atomic weapon if the US delayed.


C. Total War

1. By 1945, the entire Japanese nation was engaged in total war- that is, virtually every citizens was a part of the military mobilization and the entire nation's production was engaged in war-making.

2. Total War extended to use of slave labour- an estimated 18 million east Asians had been forced to serve the Japanese war effort by 1945.

3. In the absence of any important distinction or segregation between military and civilian populations, nearly every Japanese citizen considered themselves enemy combatants of the US and so was viewed as such by the US military as a matter of necessity.

D. Cold War Advantage

1. When we consider that some conventional bombings, especially Tokyo, produced higher casualty rates and caused more destruction than Hiroshima, we soon realize that the A-bomb's most devastating effect was psychological- a single bomb of spectacular effect at the end of 7 years when millions of bombs fell.

2. However impossible to prove, consider how different the Cold War might have played out if Russia or China never had the demonstration of Nagasaki. A weapon never tested in war may explode just as effectively, but can never evoke the dread, the terrorist effect of mustard gas or U-boats or V-2 rockets. Certain weapons, often irrationally, are at least as potent as threats as they are deathmakers. How more likely would a different (or perhaps an enemy) A-bomb demonstration have been if the US hadn't gotten there first?



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...



Debate Round No. 2
revic

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for setting out definitions and for taking his time. I agree to all these definitions, and will attempt to prove why they are not applying/are applying according to the historical event in my opponent's favor.

I. WAR CRIME

A. What constitutes a war crime?

1. Agreed on the definition of a war crime as stated by my opponent.

2. These do apply to Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

The ones applying to Hiroshima and Nagasaki are:

"wantonly destroying cities, towns, villages, or any object not warranted by military necessity"
and
"murdering or mistreating prisoners of war or civilian internees"

To prove this, I must first show that it was not a military necessity to destroy those cities. This is easily proven by the fact that both cities were never attacked before (while many other cities even twice in a row) and by the general fact that Japan was at already on the way to surrender (as I have already shown in my previous round). My opponent has shown what significance the cities did show how important the cities were through military eyes, I have shown that they were apperently not important enough to be attacked unless to end the war as soon as possible, rather than doing actual military damage.
Besides, it must be noted that any ship leaving the Japanese docks at that time were sunk almost immediately by the American blockade. So Mitsubishi had no significant importance to turn the tide in any way.

The second one is a generally known fact that there were a total of 20 POW deaths, albeit that they were allied POW's.

B. Should the Modern definition of a War Crime not count for this debate, then this debate would be useless

My opponent would have to further show that the modern interpretation of a war crime does not enlist the use of A-bombing Japan as a war crime, rather than saying it is not in effect at the time of the bombings.
I left the choice to him to pick a definition of a "war crime" for him to defend. To now say he has picked one that does not apply to this case because it was signed at the same time as the dropping of the bomb.

This is not about the debate, as we are simply questioning if this particular event would be considered a war crime according to the definition of a war crime. That definition was my opponent's to choose.

We are holding this debate, so neither should we look at what the Japanese government acknowledged based on the international law back then: we are asking ourselves if it is a war crime according to the Nuremberg Charter, based on historical evidence rather than on international laws.

C. Victors define what a war crime is and what not.

That is absolutely true and that is why I ignited the life in this debate: to attempt to convince my opponent/the voters that we should now objectively make those moral decisions again as we now will not be able to blame anyone alive, and as there are no longer "victors" and "losers". There are only those who paid for their crimes, and those who got away with it.

II. JUSTIFIED ACT

A. Legal Justifications for Murder

1. Agreed with the exemptions found on wikipedia.

2. The exemptions c, d, e and i do not apply.

First, I do not know what you mean by citizens. I believe you mean soldiers.

c: Pearl Harbor was not an unprovoked attack, as the US Secretary of State Cordell Hull had seemingly blackmailed Japan during the negotiations. It is a known fact that the embargo resulted directly in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Cordell Hull did not wish to negotiate America's terms and asked complete retreat out of China: terms he was well aware to be unacceptable for the Japanese. He made war inevitable.

d: By summer 1945, even the Japanese Cabinet was well-aware that their troops would never leave the Japanese mainland. They would either surrender, or lose. That drops this point entirely as America was even more aware of the fact that their naval blockade would stop any Japanese ship from ever invading American land, or harming American property.

e: Unless my opponent would speak of the invasion again, it is again well-known that the war had become static. Japan was preparing for an invasion, and the US had all options open to either negotiate, drop atomic bombs, keep the blockade up or invade the Japanese mainland.

i: It cannot be proven that the amount killed by the A-bomb surpasses the amount of people killed should the US have began negotiating immediately.

By the first justification, justification "a": soldiers killing soldiers, one must realize that for each Japanese soldier killed, 10 Japanese civilians died.

3. My conclusion is that only one exemption barely makes it through, my opponent only managed to justify the killings of the soldiers - not that of the Japanese civilians.

B. casualty projections.

Comparing allied losses to Japanese losses seems quite useless, knowing that Truman dropped the bomb for 2 sole reasons: to end the war as quickly as possible, and to intimidate Russia.
His point of view was rather simplistic.
I will only go into the 4th point here, as the first 3 seem to simply be a listing of casualties throughout the Pacific war.
And, this comparison would only count should my opponent prove that an invasion (operation Downfall) was the ONLY legitimate alternative. He has yet to reply to my arguments about the invasion.

4. Japanese deadlock

a. Japan ignored America's demands for surrender - at least while seeking better terms with the Sovjets.
Prime Minister Suzuki had taken the Potsdam terms into serious consideration, whilst his military leaders had not. Also, you must remember that 3 of the Big Six were already pro-peace before the bomb was dropped. Had America made a move towards Japan to negotiate, it would have most certainly be accepted. Japan simply wished to keep its emperor, as shown in the Togo-Sato cables.
b. The bushido-code only applied to a few military leaders. As shown by the Kyujo-incident, they got very little support when they actually attempted a coup.
c. The naming of 28 million is ridiculous as Japan did not even posess enough ammunition to arm their own troops. There were no uniforms, or soldiers to fully mobilise all the named people. The simple evidence of this can be found in the fact that most men still carried out their regular profession rather than preparing for a defense.

5. Japanese atomic bomb.

My opponent must be well-aware that should Japan have dropped an atomic bomb, I would have condemned that as well. But, Truman was aware that Japan would never have such a weapon any time soon. It wasn't even in laboratory state yet.
Besides, should they have actually ever finished the bomb, America would have known it well-in time thanks to the cracked codes.

C. Total War

1. All Japanese citizens taking part in the military mobilisation

Like stated earlier, not all civilians took part in this. The most simple proof I can think of, is also the most famous one: Barefoot Gen. His father refused to take part, and didn't have to. His brothers did not participate either, except for one that did it by his own will. I can only conclude from this that nobody was actually forced to join the mobilisation.
The general mobilisation was indeed ordered, but never was a reality due to the fact that over 8.5 million Japanese were already homeless and barely had enough food to survive.

2. Slave labour was one of the sad facts and crimes comitted by the Japanese leaders. I don't see how that matters, though? Jump to conclusion if you want to read why.

3. As said before, there were a lot of distinctions: civilians did not wear uniforms, civilians did not have any sort of weaponry except for bamboo sticks, and civilians were starving to death so not capable of fighting at all.
Most of all - the set of mind for the civilians was a desire for an end to the war, rather than an end to their own lives.

conclusion: It is clear that my opponent tries to show how much of a fight the Japanese could put up here - although this is all based on the assumption that there would be an invasion. The large numbers of civilians were unarmed though, and even if they were willing to die (which I highly doubt as such desires are against the human desire to live), American soldiers could have easily forced them into surrender as long as such order came from the cabinet or the emperor. The proof of this lies within the fact that close to zero incidents of Japanese civilians dying for the Bushido code occurred once Japan was being occupied.

D. Cold War Advantage

1. Agreed, A-bombs made more of an impression than conventional bombing.

2. I must remind you here that it was America's choice not to inform Russia about the new weapon, and that Truman's anti-Russian policy was what partly caused the cold war. I agree that a testing during the cold war would have been more devestating - but as an anti-nuclear weapon activist you would most certainly agree that no nuclear weapons is better than just 2. Also, this does not provide an excuse for Nagasaki as one A-bomb would have delivered an equally as potent "message" to the world not to use these weapons.

Here, I would argue that America should have sent CLEAR WARNINGS so that the Japanese would at least have been warned to leave their cities. They did not make use of their radio stations, their dropped leaflets did not specify of nuclear weapons and instead they chose the element of surprise - very unfortunate.

Sorry to my opponent if I seem rude at times. I'm very much enjoying this debate, you are clearly skilled and know a lot about this particular topic. Really looking forward to your next round!
Oromagi

Con

I. Would Japan have surrendered without A-bombs?

Pro and Con concur that Russia's entry was the primary consideration prompting the Japanese surrender.

Japan correctly estimated that the US could not have more a few A-bombs assembled. Atomic destruction was far less than conventional destruction in Tokyo so scale alone did not compel Japan.

However, when considering the question of justifiable homicide, the mindset of the victim is far less significant than the mindset of the one who kills.

Let's take for example a woman who kills a man who has kicked down the front door to her house. There's no question that the woman has murdered. The question is whether or not the legal system would consider that homicide exempt from prosecution. In the eyes of most any judge or jury, the woman had a right to defend her life and her home. She is not required to first determine if the intruder's gun is loaded. She is not required to learn whether threat alone would serve. By kicking down the door, the intruder has promised potentially lethal violence and we'd expect that woman would be exempt from prosecution or at least acquitted.

Lastly, it has to be mentioned that firebombing had already done major damage. ....production was already reduced to half of what it was before the bombings.

Although the War in the Pacific was murder on the scale of millions, the same basic principle of justice holds true.
Whether or not the Japanese might have surrendered without the use of atomic weapons is irrelevant to the question of liability. US intelligence, while impressive, could not help but provide only the sketchiest details of parliamentary deadlock and indecision. Even today, the secret dynamics between the Emperor and his generals are mysterious to western military analysis. Truman and Lemay, MacAuthur and Halsey could not reasonably have been expected to study the principles of bushido and mokusatsu before moving to defuse the enemy threat.

At Pearl Harbor, Japan had in effect kicked down America's front door.

The US Military should not and cannot be faulted for using every lethal expediency to control the attacker. So long as Japanese generals remained in charge, so long as Japanese torpedoes and bombs were still manufactured, so long as Japanese armies continued to expand and mobilize, Japan was a lethal threat against which the US military was obligated to control with violence.

II. America's options to end the war

Why didn't America consider using their intel to manipulate the Japanese cabinet into surrender?

We can agree that US decryption of Japanese communications was impressive and possibly unsurpassed in the game of wartime intelligence. But- by what means could the US have used that intelligence to achieve surrender? The US had no operatives at that level of government. Everything that we know about deadlock and lack of Imperial leadership was learned after the war. Even if the US knew most of the Japanese government's instruction to her armies, those communiques could not relate the minutes of meetings, the negotiations between doves and hawks.

They were eager to use the bomb both because of the already spent fortune on its research, but also because of Truman's anti-Russian policy.

Again, we agree but so what?

There's no doubt that the A-bomb's use was primarily to achieve a psychological advantage: advantage not just over the stalwart Japanese, but also against the emerging rival that was Russia.

We know now what few knew in 1945- Churchill was already considering "Operation Unthinkable," a sneak attack to impose Western will on the unreliable Stalin and repel Russia's advances into Eastern Europe.

Was Athens eager to discover the phalanx's usefulness against Persian Armies? Was the Pentagon eager to deploy drones in Afghanistan? Every military innovation carries with it a potential edge, not just technological but psychological. But that potential is only fulfilled by the proof of combat. Mustard gas was a known potential weapon for a century before WW1, but no army feared its effects until German deployment.


the fact that no clear warning was given to the Japanese.

Here we will disagree. In every respect, the US treated the warning of Japanese citizens more ethically than the Japanese offered in reverse.

From Potsdam to surrender, the US warned Japanese citizens daily by radio and by leaflet that they faced "utter destruction" and must evacuate the cities. The US dropped leaflets on both cities like the one below, promising bombs. That the leaflets did not specify an atomic weapon is irrelevant. Most would had no idea how the adjective "atomic" might distinguish a bomb. Also, atomic warnings might have reduced the important psychological impact of the bomb and may have even had a counter-effect if one or both of the bombs had failed.

Consider as well the utter lack of warning when Japan ambushed Pearl Harbor and Manila. No, the US bombing program provided a more generous warning to the Japanese people than any other bombing campaign of World War II.

III. The consequences of the chosen option: nuking not one, but two cities.

3 days later the military had already arranged for a second one to be dropped while Truman was still not certain

Not true. The order authorizing Hiroshima specifically authorized additional bombs. Truman countermanded those orders only after Nagasaki:




it could be argued if Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets

As I have already done in Round 2, Argument I.A.2- "Hiroshima was the headquarters for the 2nd General Army and the Army Marines, had large depots of military supplies, and was a vital shipping center. Nagasaki was a center of heavy industry: Mitsubishi built much of the Imperial Navy there and was home to Sasebo Naval base.

That's what would make this a war crime: the fact that civilians were killed unnecessarily (my opponent will argue the exact opposite - that it was necessary).

In fact, my argument was a bit more nuanced than "any unnecessary civilian death makes a war crime." By Pro's standard, every US President of the since McKinley, with the exception of Carter, would be guilty of War Crimes.

In Round 2, we examined two counter-arguments, on which we will now expand:

By August 1945, the Japanese state of total war erased all lines between citizen and soldier. Virtually every field and factory, virtually every Japanese man and woman was devoted to the defense of the mainland. Remember both sides had the example of Stalingrad before them: the most highly trained army in the world took on a million untrained, unequipped men, women, children armed only with the will to die for Motherland. The citizens died in their hundreds of thousands but they outlasted and overwhelmed Hitler's finest and by that sacrifice won the war. At Stalingrad, every Russian was a weapon, every citizen a soldier. There can be little doubt that the Japanese were capable of sacrifice on the scale of Stalingrad, so all Japanese were potential soldiers, potential weapons.

and

WANTON means "unprovoked." Is there any way of viewing any US attack on Japan as unprovoked? As I argued, Japan's industrial capacity, her national militancy, her potential atomic program made Japan's sneak attack in 1941 an existential threat to the United States. Until those forces were contained, no US action against Japan could be defined as unprovoked.

A: destructive effects on environment

and

B: effects on humans

Yes, horrible and more horrible. Pro offers vivid details, but fails to explain why this horror makes a war crime while other horrors do not. How does one compare death by fire to death by gas chamber? or sinking to the bottom of the Pacific? Why is burning many with nukes a war crime when burning many, many more with conventional bombs not a war crime? Exotic details can't be permitted to alter the rule of law. Look at the Memphis Three, how innocents were wrongly convicted only because the grisly details were used to imply increased guilt. A justified murder is not made less justified because the death was ugly. Soldiers may kill soldiers in war, provoked individuals may defend their lives and home, governments may use lethal force to protect the peace. Those are the principles that apply.

it is literally something we wouldn't wish for even our worst enemy.

False again. Before Iwo Jima and Okinawa, an US pollster reported that 13% of Americans favored exterminating the Japanese as a race of people from the face of the Earth. How much higher was that number after the worst year of military loss in US history? At least one in seven Americans wished for a far worse fate for Japan than atomic bombs.

IV. What justification could possibly exist for harming civilians anyways?

As my opponent has shown, according to the Hague conventions all parties would have been found guilty. I fully agree with that opinion: all parties were guilty in my book.

So every citizen and soldier since 1907 who dropped a bomb or launched a torpedo laid a mine or threw a grenade merits war crime conviction in your book? That's quite the indictment. What law can be upheld that no citizen respects? What crime should be convicted for which every man is guilty?

If the Hague convention applies then every bomb dropped or torpedo launched since 1907 is a war crime. If the Nuremberg Charter is applied (as we agreed in Round 1) then atomic weapons were not considered and the bombing of citizens was certainly justified, since nobody at Nuremberg was convicted for bombing cities. Even the Geneva convention does not single out nuclear weapons as crime or call for convictions for past bombing campaigns. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996 might have been retroactively relevant except that the US has not yet ratified that agreement.

Sometimes, murder can be justified. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however horrible, are just as exempt from war crime conviction as any other bombing campaign of World War II.
Debate Round No. 3
revic

Pro

I guess my opponent has spent the last round refuting my arguments, and I shall now defend my initial arguments in detail again. He will probably use the next round like I used this one.
I must say I am impressed by his findings, but perhaps I should have been more detailed when initially giving my arguments.

I. Would Japan have surrendered without A-bombs?

My opponent talks about the mindset of America, which is indeed more important than that of Japan. However, instead of debating that America wished for a quick end of the war and that such intention would justify the act, he brings up Pearl Harbor as a metaphore comparing this case to "a woman defending herself (A-bomb) against a man kicking in her front door".
I must not forget to mention that Japan had been doing nothing but lose the war for 3 years. IF we are to go into this metaphore, that would mean the woman has been kicking him in the face for 3 hours only to then kick the man off the stairs: most certainly, judges would consider that homicide.

By saying that the US could use any means to control the attacker, that is the logic and mindset by which America dropped the bomb. They did it to control both Japan, and intimidate Russia. Apperently, we agree upon the mindset of America.
However, as judges we disagree because I believe that should it come to the choice between two "means to control the attacker", one should always seek out the lesser one.
America did not do that, as they saw no time: the urge to defeat Japan before Russia, was bigger than the urge to seek out the lesser evil of the means.

II. America's options to end the war

My opponent does not believe America could use the intel to manipulate the Japanese government.
I will attempt to convince him by referring to the -to America known- translated cables between Togo and Sato, two leading figures in the Japanese government.
In these cables, Sato urged that the Japanese would surrender with one condition: retaining the emperial household. Togo rejected that, as he hoped for better terms.
Truman heard about this the same day, but only paid attention to Togo's reply: "it would be impossible and undesirable to list them (the conditions for surrender) at once.

What I believe is, should America have diplomatically approached Japan offering them to retain their emperial household, perhaps they would surrender or at least bring fruitful further negotiations. If not, it seems like it was still worth trying to do so as it is morally the correct decision.

The next point my opponent talks about are the US warnings. While I have said that there was no clear warning of the use of nuclear weapons, my opponent shows that there were indeed warnings of the use of conventional weapons and that (I agree) they provided more of a warning than the Japanese did.

Here is my main question considering warnings to my opponent: had the Japanese any chance of surviving, if they were only prepared to go to their shelter bunkers? They were indeed prepared for conventional bombing. They did not understand that the US would come up with a new weapon to achieve this "prompt and utter destruction", so these warnings did not improve their chances of surviving. Besides, why "evacuate the cities" when they were perfectly prepared for firebombing and had not yet experienced even that type of bombing?

You must be aware that this particular question of "warning" is solely moral, and not strategic. The US did not have anything to lose: their bomb had enormous odds of being effective, and even if it didn't, they would still win the war. I am pointing out that dropping this bomb was NOT a guess. Especially Fat Man on nagasaki.
As for reducing to the psychological effect - wouldn't that just make America seem more morally correct?

III. The consequences of the chosen option: nuking not one, but two cities.

I apologize about my mistake concerning the dropping of the second bomb.

"As I have already done in Round 2, Argument I.A.2- "Hiroshima was the headquarters for the 2nd General Army and the Army Marines, had large depots of military supplies, and was a vital shipping center. Nagasaki was a center of heavy industry: Mitsubishi built much of the Imperial Navy there and was home to Sasebo Naval base."

My opponent replied that to my comment that "it could be argued if it held military significance."
Apperently, we will argue about this too.
First, I must ask again as my opponent has not replied to that: why weren't these cities attacked before, if they were so significantly important?
Secondly, was using the A-bombs the correct way to damage a city accordingly to its military importance?
Digging into that second question, I cannot but conclude that both cities were more of a civilian city rather than a military base. Looking at the amounts of deaths, you will literally see that for each soldier at least 5 civilians were present.
And, in case I hadn't said that yet: whatever Japan produced at naval bases, would be destroyed by the blockade.
It would occur to me that they have missed their actual target: Kure, also in Hiroshima prefecture, was a target already firebombed and of significantly more military importance.

The reason these cities were picked, is easy to determine: they had some military significance, but not enough to have been attacked before. Because they were "clean", America would be able to determine exactly what damage they did with the bombs. It benefited both this scientific purpose and, as Con said, a psychological impact due to the large amount of civilian casualties.

"By Pro's standard, every US President of the since McKinley, with the exception of Carter, would be guilty of War Crimes."

That could be, but I'm here only to debate about this particular event.

"By August 1945, the Japanese state of total war erased all lines between citizen and soldier. Virtually every field and factory, virtually every Japanese man and woman was devoted to the defense of the mainland. Remember both sides had the example of Stalingrad before them: the most highly trained army in the world took on a million untrained, unequipped men, women, children armed only with the will to die for Motherland. The citizens died in their hundreds of thousands but they outlasted and overwhelmed Hitler's finest and by that sacrifice won the war. At Stalingrad, every Russian was a weapon, every citizen a soldier. There can be little doubt that the Japanese were capable of sacrifice on the scale of Stalingrad, so all Japanese were potential soldiers, potential weapons. "

I have previously agreed that Japan's government indeed had a desire for such a state of total war, like in Russia. However, can Pro in any way prove that this was succesfull by showing statistic of actual enlisted civilians - if possible, even in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Here, I would not argue the Japanese government's mindset, but rather the fact that Russian civilians willingly wanted to die for their country whereas Japanese civilians had never been harmed by America personally: the only grudge they held against America, was that imposed to them by their government through propaganda. So, can the civilians really be seen as soldiers if they were forced to die for their country? And does that justify taking away that very choice from the people, whether or not to die for your country?
The choice was apperently made for them: they would be seen as soldiers, and die like soldiers. I doubt a single mother would ever willingly let her child die for the cause of their government.
I hope Con can provide prove showing that all regular Japanese professions were terminated by 1945 and that millions were effectively enlisted as soldiers.

My opponent also argues that Japan was a threat - however, by that summer, Japan was no longer a threat. Even if America would sail back home, Russia would still do the job for them.

I would also like to ask Con where he got that picture of the women armed with rifles. I can only find it with a bunch of Japanese signs, but not with english context.

A: destructive effects on environment

and

B: effects on humans

I agree that this was not meant to determine it as a war crime, but rather to show its cruelty and why it compares to gas chambers, be it on a way smaller scale.
It is what makes this more than just murder, as clearly torture by the A-bomb disease is involved. This is what makes it a crime against humanity.

"False again. Before Iwo Jima and Okinawa, an US pollster reported that 13% of Americans favored exterminating the Japanese as a race of people from the face of the Earth. How much higher was that number after the worst year of military loss in US history? At least one in seven Americans wished for a far worse fate for Japan than atomic bombs."

That is very similar to what polls would show now, as many Americans are pleading for a straight-up war against Russia. The public was not morally correct, and again you have to agree with that. Any person who would think this through and have the slightest bit of intelligence and compassion, would not be so cruel. Should Japan have held similar polls, the results would be the same: hatred is subjective, but cannot be used when objectively trying to judge moral correctness.
If you would be objective and overthink this, wouldn't you have problems to nuke your worst enemy?

IV. What justification could possibly exist for harming civilians anyways?

"As my opponent has shown, according to the Hague conventions all parties would have been found guilty. I fully agree with that opinion: all parties were guilty in my book."
My opponent makers fun of this statement, however by "all parties" I mean all men making the decisions and not the soldiers who just followed orders.

But then my opponent throws this back at the original BoP: according to the Nuremberg Charter.
He will have to reply to my counterargumentation as to why this would be a war crime according to the Nuremberg charter.
Oromagi

Con

I. WAR CRIME

A.

2.

The ones applying to Hiroshima and Nagasaki are:

"wantonly destroying cities, towns, villages, or any object not warranted by military necessity"
"murdering or mistreating prisoners of war or civilian internees"

To prove this, I must first show...the fact that both cities were never attacked before

Irrelevant. Many Japanese cities remained unbombed by August 1945. Kyoto, the historic capital and Japan's second largest city remained virtually untouched. There simply was not yet enough firepower to level every military target.

Keep in mind that all of Japan's production in 1945 was geared to warmaking. Training for war, mobilizing for war, making weapons, fuel, food for Japan's military: that was all that any Japanese city was doing in 1945. There were no peaceful communities standing on the sidelines waiting for the war to be over. Nearly every adult man and woman trained in some way to fight the American invasion. Nearly every adult man and woman was armed to some degree.
Every city's population was by that summer a powerhouse of enemy violence, bracing for the American assault. Japanese citizens were Japanese soldiers by any definition. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not exceptions.





it must be noted that any ship leaving the Japanese docks at that time were sunk almost immediately by the American blockade. So Mitsubishi had no significant importance to turn the tide in any way.

And yet those ships were still being built and sometimes launched against Americans. Why would any American expect Japan's surrender while she still built bombs and submarines? Why would any American not have the obligation to defend against those boats and bombs by destroying their production?

The second one is a generally known fact that there were a total of 20 POW deaths, albeit that they were allied POW's.

And therefore would never be misconstrued as a war crime by any sensible lawyer.

B.

Should the Modern definition of a War Crime not count for this debate, then this debate would be useless

Then Pro concedes?

My opponent would have to further show that the modern interpretation of a war crime does not enlist the use of A-bombing Japan as a war crime, rather than saying it is not in effect at the time of the bombings.

I have done so in Round 3- the use of atomic weapons is not defined as a war crime (in International law, that is Unsurprisingly, Japanese courts and legislatures have defined the use of atomic weapons war crimes but those same courts have admitted that their definition does not stand internationally.)

I left the choice to him to pick a definition of a "war crime" for him to defend. To now say he has picked one that does not apply to this case because it was signed at the same time as the dropping of the bomb.

Pick any international standard then, for none apply exclusively to the use of atomic weapons except 1907 Hague conventions and as I've pointed out, all bombs dropped from all planes were considered war crimes by that document.
Any ordinary soldier fighting in Afghanistan today would be guilty of 1907 war crimes as soon as he entered into combat. If all combat is a war crime ( a nice idea) than how does one distinguish war from crime?

We are holding this debate, so neither should we look at what the Japanese government acknowledged based on the international law back then: we are asking ourselves if it is a war crime according to the Nuremberg Charter, based on historical evidence rather than on international laws.

Yes, that's the question at hand and no, Nuremberg does not make atomic war a crime. Nuremberg considers an unprovoked attack on non-military populations a war crime. So do we all. Hiroshima was not unprovoked. No Japanese city was non-military in 1945.

C.

That is absolutely true and that is why I ignited the life in this debate: to attempt to convince my opponent/the voters that we should now objectively make those moral decisions again as we now will not be able to blame anyone alive, and as there are no longer "victors" and "losers". There are only those who paid for their crimes, and those who got away with it.

If my esteemed opponent wishes to make any atomic warfare illegal going forward, I will be the first to sign his petition. But if the plan is go back and punish the US Navy, Air Force, American politicians and scientists and generals for those acts of violence, then I think he will stand in a minority of the mistaken, looking back instead of forward.

II. JUSTIFIED ACT

A.

1.

2. The exemptions c, d, e and i do not apply.

US Secretary of State Cordell Hull had seemingly blackmailed Japan during the negotiations. It is a known fact that the embargo resulted directly in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Cordell Hull did not wish to negotiate America's terms and asked complete retreat out of China: terms he was well aware to be unacceptable for the Japanese. He made war inevitable.

Inevitable only because Japan felt committed to the violent expansion of her Asian empire. Was America in any way obligated to trade with an acquisitive and violent empire? No. Was refusing to trade with greedy expansionists blackmail? A shocking characterization. Japan always had the option to halt their waves of invasion or even to go home, choices that would have benefited Japan in the long term and allowed continued friendship with the West. America had no moral obligation to help Japan enslave China and Korea, so refusing trade can not be seen as provocation.

By summer 1945, even the Japanese Cabinet was well-aware that their troops would never leave the Japanese mainland. They would either surrender, or lose. That drops this point entirely as America was even more aware of the fact that their naval blockade would stop any Japanese ship from ever invading American land, or harming American property.

The Battle of Sagami Bay took place on July 23rd, just two weeks before Hiroshima. The Japanese Navy was still launching warships on suicidal missions against the US, even in the final weeks of the war. American property was at constant risk until the end.

e: Unless my opponent would speak of the invasion again, it is again well-known that the war had become static. Japan was preparing for an invasion, and the US had all options open to either negotiate, drop atomic bombs, keep the blockade up or invade the Japanese mainland.

Static for days, maybe weeks. The Battle of Okinawa and the devastating losses for both sides there only ended on June 21st. The A-bomb fell 45 days later. Was America really expected to change its mind about the mortal threat Japan posed in the span of weeks?

i: It cannot be proven that the amount killed by the A-bomb surpasses the amount of people killed should the US have began negotiating immediately.

America had no obligation to negotiate. As victors, the US offered terms of surrender which Japan refused for months. The obligation to negotiate belonged entirely to the stubborn Japanese Govt.

By the first justification, justification "a": soldiers killing soldiers, one must realize that for each Japanese soldier killed, 10 Japanese civilians died.

As stated before, the Japanese population had deliberately erased the line between soldier and civilian on the mainland.
The bombing of cities, however horrible, may correctly be characterized as justifiable homicide in wartime.

B.

Comparing allied losses to Japanese losses seems quite useless, knowing that Truman dropped the bomb for 2 sole reasons: to end the war as quickly as possible, and to intimidate Russia.

I don't know how Pro can separate the horrifying casualty estimates Truman was receiving from his urgency to end the war as quickly as possible. Truman's memoirs confirm that any tactic that prevented a long siege and invasion and the potential deaths of million seemed preferable.

4.

a.

Prime Minister Suzuki had taken the Potsdam terms into serious consideration, whilst his military leaders had not, etc.

America wouldn't have known this and besides which the internal conflicts of the Japanese Govt were not the US's problem. After Okinawa, Japan's refusal to surrender was exclusively a failure of Japanese leadership.




The naming of 28 million is ridiculous as Japan did not even possess enough ammunition to arm their own troops. There were no uniforms, or soldiers to fully mobilise all the named people.

Uniforms and ammo are not the only weapons of total war resistance. The population of Okinawa was 500,000 before the US invasion. 110,000 combatants were thought to have died including tens of thousands of non-uniformed conscripts, boys as young as 13 fought, men in their 60s fought. An estimated additional 100,000 civilians died during the invasion.

The mainland of Japan in 1945 had more than 80 million inhabitants. So no, 28 million may or may not have been accurate but those numbers certainly weren't "ridiculous."


Besides, should they have actually ever finished the bomb, America would have known it well-in time thanks to the cracked codes.

Pro is here arguing that the US should have gambled its cities and shores on the accuracy of Japanese code-breaking. We have already agreed that US intelligence was unmatched in the Pacific Campaign. No, US Generals have an obligation to neutralize uncertain threats to Americans rather than depend on the estimates of spies.

C.

1.

Like stated earlier, not all civilians took part in this. The most simple proof I can think of, is also the most famous one: Barefoot Gen.

Barefoot Gen? I had to look it up, but shouldn't we agree that fictional manga from the 1970s, two generations after the Japanese embraced peace, offers little or no insight into the Japanese population's potential for resistance in 1945?



















I am again too long-winded. We can pick Cold War & final refutations in Round 5.

Debate Round No. 4
revic

Pro

I feel a strong urge to reply to my opponent's points again, but this is the final round, so I'll try to review the debate.
My opponent can draw conclusions in his final rounds, and alter the review should he find faults in it.

All points we discussed:

I. WAR CRIMES

>Argued that these 2 of the terms to make a war crime are (not?) fulfilled:
"wantonly destroying cities, towns, villages, or any object not warranted by military necessity"
"murdering or mistreating prisoners of war or civilian internees"

--> Military NECESSARY if it was never attacked before?
Con argued that other cities were not bombed before either (but names Kyoto which was a possible target as well?)

--> POW deaths, albeit non-Japanese POW's?
Con replied that killing your own POW's, or those of an allied country, would not be considered a war crime.

>Argued about how military active Japanese civilians were in WWII.

Pro: Not active due to no weaponry, not forming a real threat, and psychologically impossible to let children or oneself die for an emperor you have never seen. Barefoot gen was my simplistic example, because it is not fictional: Nakazawa has said that most of what he wrote in the book is based off his memories. Various accounts exist of hibakusha who were not actively participating in the war at that moment.

Con: Showed various photographs, showed that Japanese leaders were still ordering total war and concludes that civilians willingly took part in this.

II. JUSTIFIED ACT (?)

>argued about the following exemptions that justify murder:
c. Individuals defending themselves .
d. Individuals defending their property.
e. Individuals who lose control of their actions in response to extreme duress or provocation.
i. Law enforcement officers may kill to prevent harm to others

Pro argued that attacking Japan with A-bombs was not an act of self-defense or defense of property, that there was no duress or provocation to individual soldiers and definately not to the leaders deciding to drop the bomb, and that most civilians killed by the bomb did not desire to harm others.

We somehow got mixed up here, as we must have mixed up the letters with those from the terms of a war crime.

Con argued that civilians were defending theirselves (see above), that American property was still at risk due to the launching of Japanese attacks, and that the war had only recently become static after the Battle of Okinawa. He also stated that the US had no obligation to negotiate with Japan, as the full responsibility for opening negotiations would lie with the Japanese Govt.

>argued if casualty estimates matter here

Pro said they do not matter, even though they were the reason for Truman to drop the bomb, they do not justify the act.

Con said that these casualty estimates do matter, as Truman saw an invasion as the only other option.

III. JAPANESE STATE OF MIND

> Pro states that some Japanese in the cabinet were willingly working towards peace, but simply took their time as they sought the best possible terms in Moscow. The failure to surrender unconditionally, is because America did not manipulate the Japanese govt.

--> Con replies that the Japanese were not seeking out peace and that America would not be aware of this. Con blames everything on the failure of Japanese leadership.

> Con shows that the Japanese were still mobilising en masse and that they were all trained and equipped in some way. Compares to Okinawa, and again brings pictures as proof.

--> Pro replies that although these camps were not mandatory, not all Japanese participated as common professions still existed and that there was no weaponry or uniforms to succeed in this mobilisation. Repeats statements made above about civilians being a threat or not.

IV. COLD WAR

> Con brings up the fact that the A-bombs had an influence on the cold war, and that because we had already seen the effects of the A-bomb, it prevented further use of those weapons. They would have been tested during another war, possibly resulting in more casualties. Must note that Con has not had a chance to reply to my counterarguments here: he may do so in his next round!

--> Pro says that Nagasaki was an unnecessary second message, and that there should have been more clear warnings. They had the possibility to warn the Japanese via radio as little as a few hours prior to the attack, yet did not do so. Proven that there were only warnings for conventional bombings, which they were prepared for and saw as less of a threat.

-CONCLUSION-

It is not up to me to draw conclusions here. I left that to Con and he will most certainly conclude in his advantage, as are the rules for debates on this site.

I know I have left out some of the minor things in my review, but I attempted to stay objective so that the reader can now make up his clear mind and have a structured overview of the most important discussed topics as well as a chance to judge more easily. Must remind the voters that Con automatically deserves the sourcing points.

Message to Con:
I very much enjoyed debating with you, and although I might seem like a fool to you, I'd like to hear about your experiences in the anti-nuclear activism groups. And, you still owe me a link to where you got those very beautiful photographs from!
Hopefully we'll meet again on this site. I hold you in high esteem for your invested time and strong arguments.
I literally cannot say thank you enough for this wonderful experience - my best on this site so far!
Oromagi

Con

CONCLUSION

I'm afraid if I continue to answer each rebuttal with a rebuttal in kind, the readers of this debate will get lost in the back and forth and lose sight of the overall. So for my final round, I shall make an effort to address Pro's resolution as directly as possible.

Hindsight is a valuable tool. Hindsight allows us to judge our enemies with deeper compassion and understanding, judge ourselves with sharper critique. Our tendency to look back at humanity's worst moments of violence with denunciation and deep prejudice is altogether proper and seemly. Indeed our survival as a species depends upon our evolution towards harmony and away from the unchecked aggressions of ancestors.

As events succumb to layers of revaluation by succeeding generations, we apply new ideals and new insights by which the past is judged anew. Seventy years after Hiroshima, the wise, compassionate American looks back at that mushroom cloud with a certain self-reproach and wishes that US had not stained her greatest victory with a spasm of destruction.

We can admire Pro's distaste for the burning of cities. We can empathize with Pro when he critiques the realpolitik of atomic demonstration. If Pro's resolution had only decried the wisdom or necessity of Nagasaki, most might take his side. However, the resolution before us here calls the A-bomb a WAR CRIME and flatly finds no JUSTIFICATION for its use.

The question here is not A-bomb: good or bad? A-bomb:right or wrong? The question is A-bomb: exempt from legal prosecution or liable? The question here is whether a new Nuremberg shall be re-instated to round up and hold old soldiers and sailors before an international court, then found guilty of crimes to rival those of Goring or Kony, then sentenced to live out their final years behind bars? Was the A-bomb terrorism or did the US commit justifiable homicide in a time of war?

Pro has made four major arguments in the affirmative.



My opponent has argued that Japan would have surrendered without the use of the A-bomb. Hindsight tells us that this is so: Japan was holding out for a better negotiating position and correctly assumed that the US could not have more than two or three A-bombs. In 1945, however, US Commanders had virtually no insight regarding the intentions of the Japanese Cabinet. They'd been expecting surrender for weeks without any sign of progress. The US could only clearly see a nation mobilizing for a desperate, suicidal defense of the homeland. Those commanders were compelled to continue to deploy every weapon that might weaken or neutralize the threats against an Allied invasion.

The expediency of Japan's surrender is of little consequence. The bombs were dropped while Japan remained in as state of total war, as bombs have been dropped on a thousand cities during war before and since Hiroshima. If the Battle of Britain, Dresden and Pearl Harbor were not war crimes than neither was Nagasaki. If all of these are war crimes, then Pro is arguing that most bombs that fall upon civilians might qualify as war crime, and has failed to explain why he holds the atomic bombs as an injustice aside from the others.

If voters acknowledge that Japanese intentions were unknowable and irrelevant to the American commanders who authorized the A-bomb, then Pro's first argument must be set aside.


My opponent has argued that the US should have halted any bombing or invasion plans and only rely on negotiation to end the war. I have argued that the US commanders believed that an invasion of Tokyo was the only way to force negotiation. Reasonable terms of surrender were offered at Potsdam, to which Japan had not replied. If the US held back their air power, Japan's commanders were just as likely to reinforce their defenses while dragging out peace talks; weakening the US siege and increasing the cost of invasion. America had no incentive to cast aside military advantage so artlessly and Japan knew it. After Iwo Jima, any negotiation had to begin with Japan crying uncle and both sides must have understood this.

If voters acknowledge that the US commanders' first imperative was to maintain that military superiority gained only by terrible sacrifice of American lives, then Pro's second argument must be rejected. We'd be naive to condemn a general for pressing the American advantage. In truth, squandering that stranglehold before Japan was ready to give in would have been a graver injustice.


My opponent has argued that atomic weapons are unjust because they cause mass destruction of life and property. I have countered by pointing out again that many other mass bombings were more destructive: Tokyo, Stalingrad, Dresden. Why is killing thousands with one bomb war crime, but killing with a thousand bombs not? As with Pro's first argument, if Pro is arguing that most bombs that fall are war crimes, then he again has failed to explain why he holds the atomic bombs as an injustice aside from others.

If voters acknowledge that the damage done to Hiroshima and Nagaski was no more than many other bombings and far less than the damage done by conventional weapons to some, then Pro's third argument fails. Every World War II bombing of every civilian center was horrific, why then are A-bombs war crime beyond any other bombing?

Likewise and lastly, my opponent argues that the death of civilians makes Hiroshima a war crime. Again, I wonder how Hiroshima is distinct. 50 million civilians died in World War II, the equivalent of a Nagasaki every day for nearly two years. Twice as many civilians died as soldiers. The death of innocents was perhaps the war's most defining characteristic. Why were the A-bombs special?

One important reason for the civilian death toll was that the distinction between citizen and soldier blurred in World War II and often disappeared. Think of the French Resistance or the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Were they citizens or soldiers? The future Queen Elizabeth helped repair military vehicles during the war: was she a legitimate military target? Soviet conscripts pressed into Red Army divisions sometimes charged enemy lines without training, uniform, or weapons, waiting for a more equipped comrade to fall. Citizen or soldier? In 1945 Japan, the line between combatants and civilians was indistinct. All production was bent exclusively to the war effort. All adult men and women were expected to receive some military training. More than a third of the population belonged to the Volunteer Fighting Corps. To call these populations untouchable civilians is to misunderstand the nature of total war. O

If voters acknowledge that the customary exemptions for civilians in wartime does not extend to masses arming for combat, then Pro's argument is hard to credit. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were no less legitimate military targets then most cities bombed during the war, and in fact, far more militarized and mobilized than any other nation's civilians, excepting perhaps Russia.

I have made two major arguments in the negative.

The first argument is that, strictly speaking, no definition of war crime applies. Of the three major documents defining war crimes, one is hopelessly archaic and the other two do not define the bombing of cities or the use of atomics as necessarily war crimes.

My opponent has argued that the "wanton destruction of city not warranted by military necessity" is considered a war crime. I showed that both cities were significant military supply and command centers, to which I added the mass mobilization arguments made above. Additionally, the word "wanton" brings an important distinction to the definition. Wanton mean unprovoked but US entry into the Pacific War was in response to a devastating sneak attack. Pro responds that US embargoes against the Japanese Empire should be seen as the cause for war, but nations should always have the right to trade or not trade as they please without expectation of attack.

If voters acknowledge that neither atomic weapons nor the bombing of cities are in and of themselves war crimes then half of Pro's resolution must be rejected. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate targets in a justified response to Japanese aggression.

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE The Intelligent Use of Deadly Force
My second argument considers the commonplace understanding of justifiable homicide on a personal scale and posits that the principle also applies when expanded to the scale of nations. If a person is attacked in her own home, that person has the right to defend herself with lethal force until that threat is controlled. If a nation is attacked, that nation may defend itself with lethal force until that threat is controlled. Japan's ambush at Pearl Harbor justified each violent US response, including bombing cities, including using new technologies like atomic weapons, up to and until Japan surrendered. Further murders exempt from prosecution include a soldier in wartime or a policemen protecting the peace. Both cases apply too at the national scale. That the US proved indeed to be a "sleeping giant" who, once roused, outmatched and overwhelmed Japan does not suggest that the response was unjust. That an attacker is slow to acknowledge defeat does not encumber the defender with an increased burden of mercy.

If voters acknowledge that some murders are justified and agree that the US in 1945 was defending homeland and neutralizing an aggressor, then the dropping of A-bombs can be justified and the second half of Pro's resolution falls apart.

If voters find either of these arguments compelling then the resolution stands disproved and voters should find in the negative. Hiroshima was not a war crime. Nagasaki can be justified for many of the same reasons individual murders can be justified. The commanders who ordered the A-bomb, the soldiers who dropped the A-bomb are and of a right should be exempt from prosecution.

My thanks again to Pro for an excellent topic and a vigorous clash of perspective.

Please vote CON





Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by revic 2 years ago
revic
phwew, only 2 characters remaining.
Posted by revic 2 years ago
revic
Thanks alot... I still haven't figured how to do the bold/italic thing, so my response will be as unstructured as always... sorry!
Posted by Oromagi 2 years ago
Oromagi
phew! I had to re-format everything and I had to go find all graphics again, but I think I've reconstructed it. Here's hoping I didn't leave out a chunk- character count was lower than original.
Posted by Oromagi 2 years ago
Oromagi
big technical problems on DDO just now. I can't get my argument posted.
Posted by revic 2 years ago
revic
Thanks alot!

I look forward to your next round!
Posted by Oromagi 2 years ago
Oromagi
Hi Revic- If you make sure your text box is set to " rich text," you should see a limited set of ms word buttons including underline, bold, font size, etc. You can drag & drop graphics from other windows into text, but it can be tricky. Be sure you have a copy if your text and you have left yourself plenty of time to submit.
Posted by revic 2 years ago
revic
Would like to ask my opponent how he uses underlining and inserts pictures in his debates. I don't know how, and the classic "CTRL + U" and "CTRL + V" don't seem to work...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
revicOromagiTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro has failed to uphold his BOP that the A-bomb's use is a "war crime." How is the A-bomb unique in terms of licit war-making methods such as bombs, which also kill innocents? Con makes a compelling argument that within a state of total war, the whole population is engaged in waging the war, and therefore it is not impermissible for them to be targeted. Ultimately, I don't think Pro has done enough to show that the use of a-bombs constitute a war crime, and so I must default Con.