The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Was The Bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 922 times Debate No: 78930
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Round 1: Just acknowledging the format of the debate.
Round 2: Introducing statements
Round 3: First arguments and retorts.
Round 3: Second arguments and retorts
Round 4: Final statements and retorts.

Anyway, just wanted to state thank you to whoever I am debating. :)


I think I can argue both sides of this debate. I will quickly define some of the terms that need defining for this debate.

Justified - having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.
Hiroshima - a seaport on SW Honshu, in SW Japan: first military use of atomic bomb August 6, 1945.
Nagasaki - a seaport on W Kyushu, in SW Japan: second military use of the atomic bomb August 9, 1945.

I accept the debate and I await Con's introductory statements.

Debate Round No. 1


Hello. Firstly, I would like to thank Balacafa, the one that is arguing that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified for entering this debate. This is my first debate on this site, but it is not my first debate online, or in real lie. I am very happy, and excited to debate this very controversial topic.

Firstly, despite my opponent arguing for the usage of nuclear weapons in 1945, I think we can both agree by stating that nuclear weapons are an abomination to this world, and have the potential of killing hundreds, if not billions of people on this planet.

The reason I am arguing for the con side is because I don"t believe a country should have to go having bombs dropping on them. I was once someone that supported the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki until I continued to research more into the topic, and I discovered that what I was told wasn"t true, and I will explain that in Round 3 in my first arguments. This is not me attempting to state that my opponent has not done research or does not possess knowledge on the topic, because such a statement would be absurd and rude.

I look forward to the fun debate, and I am eager to hear what my opponent has to state on this topic.


I would also like to thank Con for holding the interesting debate. I haven't debated about this topic before but I have written a lot of essays both for and against whether this was justified. I did write them a while ago so my brain is a bit rusty on the topic but I am confident that I can debate this about this topic still.

Indeed, we do both agree that nuclear weapons are wrong and have killed millions of people (not billions). My role in this debate is not to prove that nuclear weapons are right and should be used. My role is to simply demonstrate how the bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified and the reasons behind the bombings was enough to consider and use nuclear weapons.

The reason that I am arguing the Pro side of this debate is because after analyzing the reasons behind why America decided to bomb both Hiroshima and Nagasaki it makes sense that they came to the conclusion that they should bomb them. I will elaborate on this in the next round.

I await my opponent's argument and I hope that this will be a fun and enjoyable debate.
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to state firstly that I never stated that nuclear weapons have killed billions, I had stated before in my introductory statement that they have the potential to kill hundreds of millions, if not billions of people. Now, let us begin with the debate.

Firstly, let me start by stating that various military officials did not support the bombing of Japan. This include General of the Army and Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, Douglas MacArthur, Admiral William D, and Brigadier General Carter [1]. Others included people such as Dwight Eisenhower.[2]. The fact that various top military officials didn’t support this idea shows how unnecessary it is. Furthermore, considering the fact that this military officials had access to much more information, one can argue that the bombing did not need to occur. Even some prominent scientists for the Manhattan Project objected the usage of the bombing [3]

Now, the definition that my opponent provided for justified shows how unjustified the bombing is. While I do acknowledge that there was a planned invasion for Japan, and that the casualties would be high for both sides, Japan had already made attempts to peace as early as 1943.

“The National Archives in Washington contain US government documents that chart Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US dispels any doubt that the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including "capitulation even if the terms were hard". Instead, the US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was "fearful" that the US air force would have Japan so "bombed out" that the new weapon would not be able "to show its strength". He later admitted that "no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb". His foreign policy colleagues were eager "to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip". General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: "There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis." The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the "overwhelming success" of "the experiment.” [4]

The above quotation clearly shows that the primary motive for the bombing of the Japan was to scare the Soviet Union, and to demonstrate American military power. The quotation clearly displays that top officials of the Truman administration wanted to show what power America had acquired, not the primary motive that many that support the bombing state it was for, which was to end the war

Secondly, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey stated that it did not believe that the bombing of Japan could have occurred. [5]Considering the fact that most of the Survey members were part of the military [6], it goes to show that a lot of military officials considered the bombing unnecessary.

Thirdly, one can also argue that the reason why Japan surrendered was because the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. Japan had a treaty with the Soviet Union that would last until 1946. Japan had a plan to get better surrender terms. They had sent their Foreign Minister to meet Stalin with the hope that they could convince him to mediate a settlement between him and the United States. One needs to think about how this affected the situation. When Hiroshima was bombed, Japan could have still attempted to convince Stalin, and a diary from a top Japanese official confirms that some Japanese officials were thinking about doing such a thing. Additionally, on August 8th, the USSR declared war on Japan and at 04:00 on August 9th, Tokyo had been told the USSR invaded Manchuria. [7]

Fourthly, one can argue if the dropping of the bombs made a difference to the overall situation. The United States of America had conducted a bombing campaign on Japan in order for them to surrender. When Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, only nine cities with at least a population of over 100,000 was left. In fact, 80% of Japan’s cities had already been burned, or bombed. Furthermore, 68 cities were either partially, or completely destroyed with an estimate of 1.7 million people being made homeless, 300,000 being killed, and 750,000 being wounded [8] If you were a leader, and most of your cities had been bombed, you certainly may think that two cities being bombed with two new weapons might not make a difference to the overall situation, considering that you had already survived a bombing campaign that had been conducted. In addition to that, considering the fact that some top Japanese officials knew what nuclear weapons were, and yet it had taken a while for them to surrender, one can argue the effectiveness of the bombing.

Fifthly, and lastly, one needs to look at another reason why Japan’s leaders stated that the bomb was the reason why the bomb was the reason why the surrendered. Japan had lost the war, its military power decimated. In addition to that, they were at the mercy of the United States. According to Wikipedia, “"for eighty months following its surrender in 1945, Japan was at the mercy of an army of occupation, its people subject to foreign military control."[9] This made Japan arguably at the mercy of the Americans, so it would be natural for the Japanese government to state what they could state in order to please the Americans. In addition to that, as in Germany, the allied powers had the power to send the Japanese officials to trial for war crimes. Therefore, it is legitimate to question the legitimacy of what the Japanese military officials had stated.

I look forward to my opponent’s response.

1, 5.





7. and





Before I begin I wil like to quote what Con actually said about how many people have died to nuclear weapons:

"nuclear weapons are an abomination to this world, and have the potential of killing hundreds, if not billions of people on this planet."

With that cleared up, I will now begin with my arguments :

What happened?

What did happen was that the Enola Gay, an American B-29 SuperFortress bomber from the intentionally obscure 509th Composite Group (a U.S. Army Air Force unit tasked with deploying nuclear weapons), dropped Little Boy, a uranium-based atomic bomb, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. That dramatic act hastened the end of World War II, which concluded within a week after the August 9 detonation of Fat Man, a plutonium-based bomb, over Nagasaki. These are the only two nuclear weapons ever used in warfare.

Why was it justified?

Approximately 66,000 died in Hiroshima from the acute effects of the Little Boy bomb and about 35,000 more in Nagasaki from the Fat Man device. (The subsequent short-term death toll rose precipitously due to the effects of radiation and wounds.)

About a year after the war ended, the “was it necessary?” Monday-morning quarterbacks emerged and began to question the military necessity and morality of the use of nuclear weapons on Japanese cities. Since then, there have been periodic eruptions of revisionism, uninformed speculation and political correctness on this subject, perhaps the most offensive of which was the Smithsonian Institution’s plan for an exhibition of the Enola Gay for the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. In a particularly repugnant exercise of political correctness, the exhibit was planned to emphasize the “victimization” of the Japanese, mentioning the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor only as the motivation for the “vengeance” sought by the United States. (The exhibit as originally conceived was eventually canceled.)

The historical context and military realities of 1945 are often forgotten in judging whether it was “necessary” for the United States to use nuclear weapons. The Japanese had been the aggressors, launching the war with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and subsequently systematically and flagrantly violating various international agreements and norms by employing biological and chemical warfare, torturing and murdering prisoners of war, and brutalizing civilians and forcing them to perform slave labor and prostitution.

As a result of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what did not need to happen was “Operation Downfall,” a massive Allied (largely American) invasion of the Japanese home islands that was being actively planned. As Allied forces closed in on the home islands, the intentions of Japan’s senior military leaders ranged from “fighting to the last man” to inflicting sufficiently heavy losses on invading American ground forces that the United States would agree to a conditional peace. As U.S. strategists knew from having broken the Japanese military and diplomatic codes, there was virtually no inclination to surrender unconditionally.

Finally, because the Allied military planners assumed that “operations in this area will be opposed not only by the available organized military forces of the Empire [of Japan], but also by a fanatically hostile population,” astronomical casualties were thought to be inevitable The losses between February and June 1945 just from the Allied invasions of the Japanese-held islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were staggering: 18,000 dead and 78,000 wounded.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that an invasion of Japan’s home islands would result in approximately 1.2 million total American casualties, with 267,000 killed. A study performed by physicist (and future Nobel Laureate) William Shockley for the staff of Secretary of War Henry Stimson estimated that the invasion of Japan would cost 1.7-4 million American casualties, including 400,000-800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese deaths.

These fatality estimates were in addition to the members of the military who had already perished during four long years of war; American deaths were already about 292,000. In other words, the invasion of Japan could have resulted in the death of twice as many Americans as had already been killed in the European and Pacific theaters of WWII up to that time!

A critical element of Shockley’s analysis was the assumption of large-scale participation by civilians in repelling invading forces. This assumption is supported by the research described in, “The Most Controversial Decision,” by the Rev. Wilson Miscamble, professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, who blames “the twisted neo-samurai who led the Japanese military geared up with true banzai spirit to engage the whole population in a kind of kamikaze campaign.” He admonished, “Their stupidity and perfidy in perpetuating and prolonging the struggle should not be ignored.”

Much has been made of the moral line that supposedly was crossed by the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but many historians regard as far more significant the decisions earlier in the war to adopt widespread urban bombing of civilians–initially by Hitler in attacking English cities and later by the Allied devastation of major cities such as Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo.

Historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson has called attention to two factors that for both tactical and ethical reasons argued for the use of America’s nuclear weapons against Japan. First, “thousands of Asians and allied prisoners were dying daily throughout the still-occupied Japanese Empire, and would do so as long as Japan was able to pursue the war. (Gideon Rose, the editor of the journal Foreign Affairs, estimated that during every month of 1945 in which the war continued, Japanese forces were causing the deaths of between 100,000 and 250,000 noncombatants.)

Second, according to Hanson, “Major General Curtis LeMay planned to move forces from the Marianas to newly conquered and much closer Okinawa, and the B-29 bombers, likely augmented by European bomber transfers after V-E Day, would have created a gargantuan fire-bombing air force that, with short-distance missions, would have done far more damage than the two nuclear bombs.”

The nighttime fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 9–10, 1945, was, in fact, the most destructive bombing raid of the war, and in the history of warfare. In a three-hour period, the main bombing force dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs, which caused a firestorm that killed some 100,000 civilians, destroyed a quarter of a million buildings and incinerated 16 square miles of the city. Tokyo was not the only target: For months, from the Marianas, LeMay’s bombers went out night after night, fire-bombing Japanese cities; by the end of the war, the fires had totally or partially consumed 63 Japanese cities, killing half a million people and leaving eight million homeless.

During World War I, Europe lost most of an entire generation of young men. Combatant fatalities alone were approximately 13 million. Memories of that era were still fresh three decades later. In 1945, Allied military planners and political leaders were correct, both tactically and morally, in not wanting to repeat history. It was their duty to weigh carefully the costs and benefits for the American people, present and future. Had they been less wise or less courageous, the American post-war “baby boomer” generation would have been much smaller.


Since my opponent had nothing to refute in this round I will not make my rebuttals until the next round. I await my opponents rebuttals and my opponents case. I would also like to point out that my opponent has used Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia is an unreliable source so in future rounds I would like to request that my opponent refrains from using this as a source. This can result in faulty and sometimes incorrect information being used in the debate.


Debate Round No. 3


LoverofDebates forfeited this round.


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Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by LoverofDebates 2 years ago
Firstly, let me start by stating that Wikipidea is a completely reliable source. The notion that it is not reliable is completely absurd, considering the fact that it is one of the most visited websites in the world [1], and numerous studies have been conducted that show that it is reliable. [2] I think that my opponent can agree that all sources could be biased, or could be interpreted that way. I will therefore continue to be using wikipidea, and other reliable sources.

1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by hellywon 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: ff