The Instigator
ConceptEagle
Con (against)
Winning
2 Points
The Contender
Phenenas
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Was Dropping the Atomic Bombs on the Japanese Cities Necessary?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
ConceptEagle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,240 times Debate No: 75012
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
Votes (2)

 

ConceptEagle

Con

I will be arguing that detonating the atomic bombs on Japan during the Second World War was not necessary - from both an ethical and a military perspective.
Phenenas

Pro

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
ConceptEagle

Con

I will preserve my military arguments for later while for Round 2, I will start with ethics.


1. Killing of Innocent Lives

There was a military presence in neither Hiroshima and Nagasaki - mostly innocent Japanese civilians.

As most people understand through common sense, you do not win wars through killing civilians.


The cities were targeted because they were the last remaining major cities of Japan that had not been smothered in Napalm flames. However, Hiroshima and Nagasaki residents were not the only victims of the detonations; the other deaths include Koreans forced to labour in Japan, and American POWs.


The idea that the killing of civilians(ones that did not actively participate) can be necessary to save lives, is something declared an international military crime, something also used as an excuse by modern-day terrorist groups.



2. Inhumane

The blast in Hiroshima instantly vaporized 60,000-80,000 people due to the immense heat while those that were farther away were baked and those that were even farther away suffered and died slowly from exposure to the radiation. The total death toll stands as 135,000 people, and this is just Hiroshima alone.


The total amount of deaths from the nuclear weapons stands as around 175,000-200,000.


Here is how bad radiation disease is(The Japanese civilians received massive doses):

http://www.mayoclinic.org...


http://www.independent.co.uk...


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...


“Admiral William Leahy, President Truman's Chief of Staff, later called the bomb a "barbarous weapon" that was unnecessary. Leahy wrote, "The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. . . . In being the first to use it, we . . . adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.’” -New York Times Scholastic

http://teacher.scholastic.com...




Sources for Reasons 1 & 2:

http://www.bbc.co.uk...


http://www.thenation.com...#

Hence, the US could have simply bombed military installments in Asia to the West. Afterall, the Japanese had nothing but harmless and exposed human beings in the mainland. Therefore, ethically, the nuclear bombings were not necessary.


As a reminder, I will later debate the nuclear bombings unnecessary from a military perspective.

Phenenas

Pro

Very well, I will stick with the ethics for now. I will begin by refuting each of the points you have made.

1. Killing of Innocent Lives

I will not argue that many innocent civilians were not killed. They were. But what must be understood is that the Japanese refused to surrender, and would choose death first. Due to Emperor Hirohito's demonization of the American enemy led to kamikaze suicide-bombing American ships, and a thousand civilians committing suicide at the Battle of Saipan. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) By mid-1945, Japan had, for all purposes, already lost the war. The only thing that prevented surrender was a great sense of honor and refusal to bow down to the monstrous Americans. How does one end a war when the enemy will choose suicide over surrender?

It was horrible, I will make no argument against that, but it was necessary. Sometimes difficult decisions must be made. But in war, one of your own soldiers should be worth more than a million of the enemy. If a superweapon was created that could end a war in days, why would it not be used? It was a purely tactical decision, not one of malice. It seems barbaric, but when wartime ends, that is the time for nurturing and healing, for helping them recover. Hence why Japanese-American relations were excellent after the war.

2. Inhumane

I disagree that the dropping of the bomb was a somehow "inhumane" thing to do. It was wartime, and the leaders of Japan (who, as I have said, already lost) were looking for a way to surrender with honor. Showing such great technological might brought an excuse: How could they fight against such a weapon? Americans wanted revenge for Pearl Harbor at the time. It seems like disproportionate retribution, yes, but it at least brought the sentiment of "That's enough, they have suffered enough." to the population. Imagine how enraged America would have been if millions of soldiers had been lost in a land invasion of the Japanese islands. It would have been an empty victory, and only more killing would result.

I know that a lot of Japanese people died, and there was a bunch of radiation disease. Truman's Chief of Staff underestimated the situation, thinking they could starve the Japanese into surrender with a blockade, but President Truman and General Marshall could not accept these optimistic forecasts. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) It is not a "heartless" or "evil" thing to say that sometimes civilian lives must be taken to end a war. If it can be avoided, then don't do it, of course. But there was simply no alternative that wouldn't end in twice the death that the atomic bomb brought.

And finally, you are mistaken in believing that killing civilians is a war crime. (http://www.icc-cpi.int...) It is warranted in the case of something called "military necessity". (http://en.wikipedia.org...) It is a crime when civilians are intentionally attacked without intent of gaining military advantage. Though is is a more military argument, Hiroshima was a major army base that housed the headquarters of the Japanese 5th Division and the 2nd Army Headquarters. Nagasaki was one of the most important sea ports in southern Japan. Therefore, both cities had military and industrial values. ((http://ww2db.com...)

SOURCES:
http://www.ushistory.org...
http://teacher.scholastic.com...
http://ww2db.com...
Ambrose, Stephen E., and Douglas Brinkley. "The War in Asia." Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938. New York: Penguin, 2011. N. pag. Print.
Debate Round No. 2
ConceptEagle

Con

Military perspective plays a massive role in determining whether or not the detonations were ethically necessary because it is unethical to kill civilians without it being a military necessity. Hence, we shall now blend the ethics and military arguments together.


  1. Innocent Deaths


My opponent concedes that innocent lives were lost because of the detonations but declares that it was the civilians’ fault anyways for not surrendering and choosing death over submission. However, he also says that Hirohito was responsible for those citizens’ choices because of his military propaganda.


Hence, that also means that Hirohito is to blame for it and the superweapon being used on his victims (the civilians) is unjust and misdirected retribution. Why not just defeat the last of the Japanese Imperial reign instead of killing their civilians?


“By mid-1945, Japan had, for all purposes, already lost the war. The only thing that prevented surrender was a great sense of honor and refusal to bow down to the monstrous Americans. How does one end a war when the enemy will choose suicide over surrender?”


Since they would rather die than submit due to their special code of honor, then the mass deaths from the nuclear detonations are not to be held responsible for V-J Day.


Not only does a simple conclusion support this, but there is hard evidence too.

According to The Learning Network[1], the Potsdam Declaration threatened Japan with “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan did not surrender, but Japan refused to surrender still. After the first atomic bomb was dropped, on Hiroshima, Japan still refused to surrender. The Allied Powers continued their promise and Stalin declared war on Japan in Aug 9., and the US dropped the second atomic bomb on the same day, which was on Nagasaki.

Soon afterwards, Japan unconditionally surrendered on Aug 14 (The signing would be much later).


Based on this information, it is safe to conclude that the nuclear detonations are not to be held responsible for Japan to give up, because Japan witnessed and understood the power of the atomic bomb yet refused to surrender after the first nuclear detonation. Japan could not have surrendered because they noticed that the US had another atomic bomb that was even more devastating, because the detonation in Nagasaki killed less lives and infrastructure. They also could not have surrendered because they realized the US had more than one, because Japan had already witnessed the endless American production capacity.


Therefore, the detonations were unnecessary because they did not result in the surrender of Japan.


And because the detonations baked civilians without military necessity and without the approval of [2]Eisenhower, MacArthur, and [3]many other Allied commanders, they were futhermore unnecessary.








[1] http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com...


[2]

http://teacher.scholastic.com...


[3]

http://www.colorado.edu...

Phenenas

Pro

Phenenas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Phenenas

Pro

I apologize for running out of time, and hope that the debate was not diminished too much because of this. I chose a poor time to start this debate (right before exams), so I will try not to be forced into a forfeit again.

Innocent Deaths

The atomic bomb was necessary because the goal of the United States was to end the war with Japan at the earliest possible moment. My opponent misconstrues the argument I make: that the civilians of Japan were not necessarily to blame, and the dropping of the bomb was a purely tactical decision. Starting a land invasion against Japan would have caused far more deaths, and though it is a tragedy and a moral dilemma that so many innocent lives were taken, it was necessary to prevent the loss of more lives, the difference being that they are soldiers. I ask my opponent: do you think the United States should have invaded Japan's mainland? If not, what do you think they should have done?

"Based on this information, it is safe to conclude that the nuclear detonations are not to be held responsible for Japan to give up, because Japan witnessed and understood the power of the atomic bomb yet refused to surrender after the first nuclear detonation."

My opponent has jumped to conclusions in this argument. Though it is true that Japan surrendered only after Nagasaki was bombed, it seems like a stretch to assume that Japan's surrender has no correlation with the atomic bomb. My opponent claims that "They also could not have surrendered because they realized the US had more than one, because Japan had already witnessed the endless American production capacity". Japan had been doing atomic research of their own at the time [https://sites.google.com...] and they had gotten nowhere. Even with the great industry that Japan knew the United States had, it was entirely possible that they did not develop this new technology yet. The short span of time between bombings as well as Allied threats were made to give the impression that the US already had a stockpile of the weapons, when in actuality it only had the two. While it is true that the Soviet Union had recently declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria, this was simply a factor that spread the Japanese armed forces thin and forced them to surrender to a more "direct" threat like the atomic bomb.

President Harry S. Truman considered either intensifying the already heavy bombing of Japanese cities or starting an American land invasion of Japan. The first option was uncertain to compel a Japanese surrender quickly, and posed serious military and political risks. As over 55,000 Americans already died fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, an invasion would be very costly in lives. When the atomic bomb became available in July 1945, it appeared to be the most promising way to end the war as soon as possible and without the drawbacks of the alternatives.

Public reaction to the surrender varied - many Japanese simply listened to the Emperor's speech and went on with their lives as best they could, while some Army and Navy officers chose suicide first. At a base north of Nagasaki, some Japanese Army officers, enraged at the prospect of surrender, pulled some 16 captured American airmen out of the base prison and hacked them to death with swords. A large, weeping crowd gathered in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as military officers present committed suicide. Japan was dealing with many hardships at the time, but the bombing of two major cities within three days gave the higher-ups, who were looking for a way to surrender with their honor intact, a solid excuse.

SOURCES:

http://www.reddit.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://teacher.scholastic.com...
Debate Round No. 4
ConceptEagle

Con

My opponent asks me to explain the alternative to the atomic bombings.
However, I have made it clear that all the US had to do was wait and watch for results as the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.


"According to The Learning Network[1], the Potsdam Declaration threatened Japan with “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan did not surrender, but Japan refused to surrender still. After the first atomic bomb was dropped, on Hiroshima, Japan still refused to surrender. The Allied Powers continued their promise and Stalin declared war on Japan in Aug 9., and the US dropped the second atomic bomb on the same day, which was on Nagasaki.

Soon afterwards, Japan unconditionally surrendered on Aug 14 (The signing would be much later)." -Me

Also, the Soviet Union entering the war against Japan shocked Japan's war council far more than the atomic bomb because Japan depended on neutrality with Stalin in order to survive[2].
The Soviets started with Manchuria and it ended there[4].
[5]The Soviet invasion caused Hirohito to even plead to end the war since the Japanese garrisons there were annihilated so quickly.


"Even with the great industry that Japan knew the United States had, it was entirely possible that they did not develop this new technology yet. The short span of time between bombings as well as Allied threats were made to give the impression that the US already had a stockpile of the weapons, when in actuality it only had the two."


Although plutonium and other chemical contents of the nuclear weapons of the time were rare and there were no assembly lines for them, the US was preparing a solid production for many more atomic bombs[3].

[1]

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com...


[2]

http://www2.css.edu...

[3]

http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com...

[4]

http://www.history.com...

[5]

http://ww2db.com...


Phenenas

Pro

Phenenas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
That better not have been you ConceptEagle...I've been very clear.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==================================================
>Vote report: varrack // Moderate decision: sufficient

Vote report: "RFD makes no sense, the atlernative was to simply not commit bombings"

[*Rationale*] We don't moderate when someone chooses *not* to award points. I can't force Varrack to award argument points. His conduct point is sufficient for the forfeits. It he chooses not to vote on arguments, that's his business. I'm not going to examine his rationale. If I determined his reasoning was flawed, what would the remedy even be? I can't force him to vote Pro...
====================================================
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
I'll PM you Con.
Posted by ConceptEagle 2 years ago
ConceptEagle
@Varrack, war crime one was not dropped and what about the alternative was unclear?
Posted by ConceptEagle 2 years ago
ConceptEagle
I do not care which side you take, but to vote saying that the other arguments were unrefuted by me is illogical because I used just one rebuttal to counter them all, because Pro based those arguments on necessary killing of human lives.
Posted by ConceptEagle 2 years ago
ConceptEagle
Post it on the forums; I want to see it.
Posted by Phenenas 2 years ago
Phenenas
Crap, I had an argument prepared and everything...oh well, my fault for doing this before exams.
Posted by ConceptEagle 2 years ago
ConceptEagle
Look at the debate -I was referring to the forfeit.
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
You can't penalize someone for taking longer to post.

Also I'll challenge you in the near future Con
Posted by ConceptEagle 2 years ago
ConceptEagle
Voting request: No penalty to Pro for a late argument; it is not that big of a deal and I believe he managed his priorities well.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
ConceptEaglePhenenasTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Con for Pro's double forfeit. This debate revolved around the question of whether there was any good alternative to the atomic bombings, of which both the innocent lives and military arguments rely on. Con argued that innocent lives were taken and thus it was immoral. Pro countered that lives would have been taken either way and that the bombings prevented further loss of life and led to the defeat of a very challenging and suicidal Japan. Con responded with the USSR's declaration of war on Japan as the factor behind its surrender, and Pro says that we cannot jump to conclusions. Con did however show that Japan's surrender was likely because of Stalin, not the bombings, and Pro could not respond to this because of the forfeit. While I am tempted to give arguments to Con, he did drop a couple points such as the "war crime" one, and needed to show that an alternative to the bombings was preferable, which he didn't really do. Thus, arguments are tied. Good job to both.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Midnight1131
ConceptEaglePhenenasTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: I can only give conduct points, due to Pro's forfeits. But arguments are tied, because in the last round, Con dropped the innocent deaths argument, and did not refute anything Pro said in the previous round about innocent deaths. Pro, on the other hand, did not refute the argument of Con's, which stated that Japan would most likely have surrendered after the USSR declared war on them. So, I give conduct to Con, and everything else is tied.