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Was it morally right to use the atomic bomb in WWII?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/25/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,972 times Debate No: 25767
Debate Rounds (4)
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Round 1 is for acceptance only. This debate is based on wether or not it was morally right to use the atomic bomb against Japan in WWII. Thanks and good luck.


Challenge accepted. ;)
Debate Round No. 1


1) How can you justify killing that many?

We killed many more of the Japanese with the atomic bombs than the amount of Americans killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 2,402 people were killed [1], and many were injured. Comparatively, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings killed over 240,000 people. [2] Mathematically, that is about 100 times the amount of people killed at Pearl Harbor.

2) So it's ok if it happened to someone else?

As Winston Churchill said, "History is written by the victors." We view Pearl Harbor as an evil act (which it was), but yet don't do the same for the atomic bomb. Quite a few are proud of it. "When the American people were asked in a Gallup Poll taken from 10-15 August 1945 whether or not they approved or disapproved of the use of atomic bombs on Japanese cities, 85 percent approved, ten percent disapproved and five had no opinion." [4] This is honestly appalling. Americans (and many others, not just us) tend to have an "as long as it wasn't an American" point of view when it comes to things such as this. Apparently if we do it, it is ok since w did it and the "enemy" was on the other end. But, it can't be denied that if the roles had been reversed, we would not view the atomic bomb as such a "life saver" and "gift."

3) Die now or later?
The bombs themselves and debris caused by them killed an extremely large amount of people. But what about the survivors? "Even now, after over half a century later, many aftereffects remain: leukemia,
A-bomb cataracts, and cancers of thyroid, breast, lungs, salivary glands, birth defects, including mental retardation, and fears of birth defects in their children, plus, of course, the disfiguring keloid scars." [5] If you look at the pictures on [5], its sickening. The amount of people going through this is high and I honestly can not comprehend how people can be proud of causing this.

4) Just because they are the enemy, are they not people all the same?

While many justify dropping the atomic bomb by saying "They were the enemy", are they not people too? Just because someone is your enemy or a different race, does not mean that they are not a person. They are the same as you and I, your friends and family. Put yourself in their position. Terrible after affects from those who survived, family members dead, some of their bodies so burnt that they are unrecognizable. What people in America felt when Pearl Harbor occurred, the Japanese were feeling as well.

5) It's alright to kill civilians?

Pearl Harbor was a military base and according to [6], " 68 civilians were killed and 35 others wounded. There were some 40 explosions in the city of Honolulu, but all except one were caused by U.S. antiaircraft fire." The Americans bombed cities where so many civilians and completely innocent children lived. The majority of the deaths were civilian. "It is estimated that out of every 6 deaths in the bombings, 5 were civilians and 1 was military." [7]

Clarification on my perspective: Let me be clear when I say that I am not disregarding the attack on Pearl Harbor in any way. I believe that it was a horrendous event and mourn for all who were lost. I am just stating the differences between Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombings.

Some extra photos of the effects of the bomb and how some were killed: (some may be graphic. Look if you are sure of your stomach I'd put it at a 7-8 out of 10



Thank you con. I will start with a definition:
Moral - Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.
A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
World War ll was a long war. Many suffered, many died. The war is marked by its notorious civilian casualties (not just in Japan and the US, but in many other areas of the United States.) This is just a horribly quick glaze of WWll (just in case you don't know what that is. I suggest you search it up :)

I will provide reasonable moral justifications to the use of the atomic bomb in Japan:
The United States were not the only ones to harbor the atomic bomb. The USSR had the same weaponry. By using the atomic bomb, the world was taught the lesson of its destructive aftermath. Never again will the world use an Atomic bomb on civilians. The bombings were moral in that they were perfect in exemplifying the possible consequences of nuclear war. Today, most of society (including just about every single political entity), would agree that the use of the atomic bomb should not occur in nearly all circumstances. Fear of a larger scaled Nagasaki-Hiroshima has inhibited its use. Ever since that day (around 70 years ago). any and all war has been a-bomb free. Society has been taught a lesson. The bombings are therefore moral.
Japan has also benefited in that the government has been given back to the people. Standards of living improved drastically and Japan has developed into one of the best industrial nations in the world (economically powerful). Japan now no longer has to waste economic resources on the military because the US provides military protection for it (The US consumes around six hundred and eighty million dollars in this field).

On to Japan:
Japan was under the rule of an authoritarian military government. The Civilian government was cowed (many civilian officials who expressed the people's dissent against the plans of the military were assassinated). The emperor was a puppet to the military. Under these conditions, the people of Japan had no voice. They were fed propaganda and were either to believe it or disbelieve it (they would face dire consequences if they were noticeable enough).
After successfully capturing islands, the Allied forces gave many warnings to the Japanese; they warned them of the consequences of ignoring the order to surrender. The Supreme Council to the Direction of War publicly made statements to 'fight to the bitter end.' What does this mean? The millions of Japanese soldier (and let's not forget the citizens) were prepared to give an all-out battle, regardless of the casualties. The Japanese Army was already in preparations to militarize Japan, essentially making it a huge military base.
Let's look at this statistically:
Initial bombing casualties (includes immediate death, radiation sickness, fallout): roughly 150,000 - 246,000 deaths.
Deaths from the aftermath of bombing (long-term disease from radiation and other factors): Nearly 10,000 confirmed deaths
The total is around 256,000 maximum. I know my opponent would like to blow this number out of proportions so I will be lenient and increase this number to include those indirectly affected (as in irregular births and deformities), just to show how menial it really is compared to what most probably would have happened: There is 256,000 maximum number who died directly/indirectly from the Bombs. There is theoretically another several hundred thousand indirectly affected (as in deformities in figure and health).
Recall that Japan stubbornly resisted surrender and was prepared to have the entire island become a battle ground. How many people lived in Japan at the time? There were 71,998,104 documented.
If the atomic bomb had not been dropped, the entire island of Japan would be put under siege. The people of Japan would also be forced into battle because they have no choice. Propaganda would also have served to brainwash many unknowing civilians to the cause of the military. Even if many civilians wanted to surrender, the choice was not theirs.
How many do you think would die when the entire island of Japan becomes a war battleground?
A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson's staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7-4 million American casualties, including 400,000"800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities.

(US casualties only) In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April, the figures of 7.45 casualties/1,000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities/1,000 man-days were developed. This implied that a 90-day Olympic campaign would cost 456,000 casualties, including 109,000 dead or missing. If Coronet took another 90 days, the combined cost would be 1,200,000 casualties, with 267,000 fatalities.

President Truman: "I asked General Marshall what it would cost in lives to land on the Tokio plain and other places in Japan," Truman said later. "It was his opinion that such an invasion would cost at minimum one quarter of a million casualties, and might cost as much as a million, on the American side alone, with an equal number of the enemy. The other military and naval men present agreed." (Again, US only)

Fact: More people died the 'flame-bomb' attacks on Tokyo city in March 9-10 earlier in that year rivaled that of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. (around 120,000 casualties in Tokyo). Multiply this with every single city in Japan. Imagine the sheer numbers.

Instead of posting more statistical estimates from multiple sources, I leave you to ponder the probable outcome of a bombing of the Japanese mainland.

Were the bombings moral? Since moral means pertains a sense of right, then without a doubt., yes. It was right to drop those bombs. Early end to war, less casualties, less suffering, many economic benefits (from not continuing to eat up money to pay for the war, Japan also benefited immensely in the end). The ends justified the means.

Debate Round No. 2


Luna90 forfeited this round.


My opponent concedes .____.
Points dropped:
1. Using the atomic bomb was moral
2. the use of the atomic bomb resulted in much lighter consequences than if it had not been used
3. The use of the bomb prevented further a drain on lives and the economy
I have successfully justified the use of the atomic bomb in WWII
Con fails to make a substantial case for her resolution against this justification. Pro wins.
Debate Round No. 3


Luna90 forfeited this round.


Thank you Luna for this interesting topic of debate...
Voters please vote :)
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Sheppard250 2 years ago
is it morally right to use the atomic bomb? answer is no

but thing is if you were the US President at the time and you had to choose between killing thousands of people or killing of millions of both military and civilians on both sides i.e both American and Japanese Militaries, because the Japanese were prideful and honorable ppl that were under military dictatorship and through a maybe misintrepetion of the stance of the Japanese by the American Government, in thinking that the japanese was still defiant, and you wanted to end the war, what would you choose?

For me I would drop it just to end it once and for all, my opinion is when ppl say that Trueman shouldn't have dropped it, to me they wanted to keep the war going and kill more ppl
Posted by Beginner 4 years ago
It's alright...I did want to hear the kind of arguments you might have made though...oh well.
I wish good fortune upon you (:
Posted by Luna90 4 years ago
Sorry. Too much to do not enough time. Again sorry for not being very active in this debate.
Posted by Luna90 4 years ago
Couldn't get on in time T.T
Posted by Beginner 4 years ago
I hate when I notice grammatical and diction errors in my arguments...sadface!!
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