Was the United States justified in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Debate Rounds (3)
Here is my argument as to why the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not justified:
The taking of human lives is wrong, unless the killing can be justified by some greater good, such as saving another life, or protecting oneself or one's nation. Surely, any lesser cause is ought-right murder. In the case of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the killings of the people at the hands of the atomic bomb were not justified in any of the ways described above.
While it is commonly believed that the victim's killings were justified by a greater good (The end of the war.), I disagree. By the time the bombings took place, Japan was crippled militarily and was unable to pursue any further aggression with the U.S. While the Japanese may not have formally surrendered, there was no immediate need to require such a thing, and certainly not one that would justify the killings of over 100,000 innocent people, including children whose lives were abruptly ended.
I look forward to debating any who believe these killings are justifiable, and seek to prove so.
As for proving which side is right. There's no way to prove this issue. We can never completely know for sure if less people would have died if the atomic bombs hadn't been used. As for the moral issue, I think it was necessary.
While, as you say, continuing to fighting Japan would have been just as costly, if not more costly in terms of lives as the two bombings, continuing to fight was by no means our only option. For one, we could have properly demonstrated our nuclear force before proceeding to use it. The Potsdam declaration reads "prompt and utter destruction", and does not specifically warn about the atomic force we had.
The Japanese had no idea of the horrors the atomic bomb was capable of, and the U.S. gave them a mere six days before they decided to bomb Nagasaki, and do it all over again. With all communications and infrastructure destroyed in the Hiroshima area, the Japanese government was in utter shock, with details flowing extremely slowly. This delayed any kind of a decision making process, and so before the Japanese had any chance to surrender, we claimed yet hundreds of thousands of more countless, priceless, innocent lives, all in the name of ending a war. This second attack was even more rashly made than the first, and countless people died on behalf of it.
However, not even a demonstration, or a warning was even necessary in the first place. At the Potsdam declaration, the allies decided upon surrender terms for Japan that did not allow them to keep their emperor. Knowing Japan and how crazed the people were over their emperor, it was very likely that if they had been allowed to keep Hirohito, they would have surrendered. The big three knew this when they made the declaration; they were well aware of how fiercely the Japanese would oppose the dismantling of their emperor. The Japanese already knew they had lost, it was simply a matter of winning better surrender terms, and the U.S. saw it more fit to destroy two cities inhabited by innocent people than to allow the Japanese to keep their emperor in power.
Rather than trying one of these options which may or may not have led to lost lives, the U.S. decided to ensure that people would die, and innocent ones at that.
In our brains, women and children civilians dying seems so much more harsh and evil than a soldier dying. We see it as the destruction of the innocent vs. the death of a war-hardened man. It's awful to think of, but if you only had a choice to save either a man or a child, your first instinct would probably b to save the child. It's almost putting a value on life. All death is wrong. You're original question was not "did the U.S. make the best and perfect choice in bombing the two cities?" It was "was the U.S. justified...?" It wasn't some easy choice that they made. It was thought through, challenged, and thought through even more; it was one of the most difficult known decisions our leaders have made. They did what they truly believed to be necessary in ending the war and protecting our nation and succeeded. There is their justification.
Lack of Warning
As I have stated before, the warning received by Japan in the Potsdam declaration was not an honest demonstration of American nuclear power. It stated that Japan would face "prompt and utter destruction", which is vague, and considering that nothing similar to the atomic bomb had ever been used in human history, was not a clear warning. A clear demonstration of our power may very well have caused the Japanese to surrender.
The first bomb was leverage enough in Japan's surrender. 90,000-140,000 were killed, and the entire city was destroyed. But because Japanese infrastrucutre was destroyed, and details pourded in slowly, the Japanese did not have the capability for a decision-making process.
It is very likely that the Japanese would have surrendered after the first atomic bomb dropping, and even if they would not have surrendered, we still should have held off until we could be sure the Japanese had a fair amount of time to make a decision.
In the last round, you sated that:
"It was a warning, proving that we were not subject to the atrocities Japan had committed and that we as a nation are not to be messed with."
Vindiction does not justify the destruction caused by the two bombs. What Japan had done to us early does not justify the killings of innocent people who had nothing to do with the war. Using the atomic bomb as a demonstration of American power does is not justification either. In fact, this brings me to my next point.
Other Motives for the Dropping of the Bomb
As you have said before in the statement above, the use of the atomic bomb was also used to show American power, and that the bombs use brought strength to diplomacy with the Soviet Union. In addition, the Soviet Union was likely about to declare war on Japan, and help finish the Japanese off. The U.S. did not want this because it would lead to the Soviet Union having some control in the surrender of Japan.
But this does not justify the hundreds of thousands of life lost. No, these are meager political games, and does not warrant the brutality of the bombs.
As it turns out, the dropping of the atomic bomb led to the cold war, which very nearly did cause the "World War III", you mentioned, at many later points in time.
Unreasonable Surrender Terms
At the Potsdam declaration, it was demanded that the Japanese must give up their beloved emperor Hirohito. Knowing how passionately the Japanese people loved their emperor, it was to be expected that these terms would be refused.
If we had let the Japanese keep Hirohito, the atomic bombings, and any further agression. The Japanese already knew that the war was lost; it was simply a matter of winning better surrender terms, and the U.S. saw it more fit to end countless innocent lives than to allow the Japanese to keep Hirohito.
Because the Japanese were not amply warned about the bomb in the first place and sufficient time was not given for a decision to surrender after the first bomb, all other possibilities were not exhausted, other motives than the ending of the war were existant, and the whole need to continue fighting was due to U.S. refusal of less strict surrender terms, I mantain that the atomic bombings of Hiroshim and Nagasaki were not justified.
kitkatz forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 2 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||1||0|
Reasons for voting decision: Con and I have been in communication. I told him to read my debate on the subject versus patriotperson on the subject. His arguments seemed pulled right out of my debate in the third round of this debate. For that he loses arguments. Neither provided sources but pro did forfeit. So con gets conduct
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.