Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary to end WW2?
Debate Rounds (3)
Necessary: required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential.
Point 1: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary because Japan was already on the brink of collapse. It is well documented that Japan was extremely damaged by the war already. American air raids ravaged what remained of the Japanese Empire. Massive air raids were conducted by the American Air Force. One of these, on May 23 1945, consisted of 520 B-29 "Superfortresses" dropping 4,500 TONS of incendiary bombs upon the capital city of Tokyo. After a second strike with 502 B-29's two days later, they collectively obliterated 56 SQUARE MILES of Japan's capital. The American Air Force General Curtis LeMay even boasted that we were "driving them [Japanese] back to the stone age."
The amount of destruction and plain chaos in Japan, as well as the almost gone military, make atomic bombs unnecessary to the war. There was no way Japan could retaliate, as they had nothing to retaliate with. This leads right into my second point.
Point 2: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary because Japan was already trying to negotiate peace with the allies, using Russia as the medium. By early July 1945 the US had intercepted messages from Togo to the Japanese ambassador in Moscow, Naotake Sato, showing that the Emperor himself was taking a personal hand in the peace effort, and had directed that the Soviet Union be asked to help end the war. It is widely documented that this is the case. The State Department in 1945 even reported it, as I will let the historian Gar Alperovitz (who is arguably an expert on the use of the atomic bomb) describe:
"In mid-April  the [US] Joint Intelligence Committee reported that Japanese leaders were looking for a way to modify the surrender terms to end the war. The State Department was convinced the Emperor was actively seeking a way to stop the fighting."
And the US certainly knew how to get the information on Japan's negotiation attempts. The Army broke the Japanese code long before the atomic bombs. In fact, it was broken before Pearl Harbor. There was no doubt that Japan was defeated, and was trying to surrender. Even before surrender attempts with Russia, they had tried with Sweden and Portugal and Switzerland (neutral countries). Sweden actually sent the message to the US, but the Secretary of State Edward Stettinius said to "show no interest or take any initiative in pursuit of the matter."
So which officials believed the bombs weren't necessary? Among the voices of dissent were: General Eisenhower, Admiral William Leahy, General Douglas MacArthur, the Assistant Secretary of War, General Curtis LeMay, Brigadier General Bonnie Fellers, and dozens of other influential officials. Even the Japanese said that it was not the atomic bombs that made them surrender, but the bombing from B-29's.
Point 3: The USSR was going to invade Japan. Just one day after we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, The USSR was set to declare war on Japan. Even before the second bomb was dropped, the USSR started to invade Manchuria with thousands of troops. This was likely a major cause for the Japanese surrender, according to historians. As Germany had been subdued earlier that year, Japan understood that the Allies were about to concentrate the full power of their military unto Japan. Waiting just a couple more days would have brought around an unconditional surrender, without the loss of 225,000 civilian lives.
Once again, thank you Pro for accepting. Since the BoP is on you to prove that the atomic bombs were necessary, I will spend mostly spend this debate rebutting your arguments, instead of bringing up my own.
Argument on Point 1:
The number 1 reason why US had to bomb them was because after Hiroshima, the Japanese military did argue precisely that, that the US did not have a supply of atomic bombs, and so the "WAR SHOULD CONTINUE" even after sending many leaflet warnings to the Japanese which means that they were given FAIR WARNINGS. But the US did not have the atomic bombs to undertake atomic bombing at a rapid pace for long. In August 1945, the US had to use the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki irrelevant if they were able to retaliate or not.
Not only that, it was a reasonable decision because the estimated lives that were already taken was about 418,000 lives and still would have been counting if the war continued. Now let's do the math here. On the first bombing there was a death toll of around 135,000 lives and on the second it was around 74,000 lives. Now you can imagine if the war went on how devastating it could have been, more for Japan and US both. Moreover, the strategy of Truman was to end the world war with minimum cost and minimum American lives which is also a MAJOR reason.
read: http://www.historyextra.com... (SOURCE)
Argument on Point 2:
Yes, I agree that they DID go to the soviet union to surrender. But the story does not end there:
While the Japanese Cabinet did approve of the approach to the Soviets, there was no agreement on surrender terms within the government and there was no official discussion of surrender terms until after the dropping of the second atomic bomb.
Moreover, speaking of the Japanese "kamikaze" spirit, Emperor Hirohito was already making overtures regarding the surrender to Soviet Union and their terms.
And regarding to the messages sent to US, Truman clearly stated that "I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb...having found the bomb, we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make WAR. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us." They made this very clear where they did not mean to send Japan to stone age but they were also expecting an apology letter from Japan themselves after the Pearl Harbor incident like any country would expect.
Argument on Point 3:
USSR going to war with Japan was a CLEAR indication that the Japanese and the soviet union did not come to terms with each other when Japan tried to surrender. But hey! guess what? Even when USSR invaded Japan with millions of troops and then when US bombed Japan which STOPPED the world war 2 clearly indicates that Japan was an active participant in WW2 and that they had to be stopped inorder to stop WW2. So the US bombed Japan the second time just to keep the USSR troops at bay and to end the world war especially after Hitler's suicide note. These 2 major setbacks during the world war brought to a final end.
Hence it was necessary, otherwise the World War 2 could have been more devastating.
Your arguments were expected and the reply to all your arguments are available on Google which provides millions of articles.
My source of backup is:
And to read more as to why it was necessary to bomb Japan please read the following article below:
* Note: While reading this article make sure you read Japanese defense plans where they decided to include kids and children in the war (So Pathetic).
You say that there would have been devastating death tolls if the war had went on. However, the war wouldn't have gone on. As I said, it was not the atomic bomb that stopped the war, but the raids from B-29's. This can be confirmed by former Japanese prime minister Fumimaro Konoye, who said: "Fundamentally, the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s." Right there, it is blatantly obvious that the atomic bombs did not change the outcome.
On to your next point: You say there was no discussion or agreement of the surrender terms until after the second atomic bomb was dropped. However, President Roosevelt received a 40-page memorandum from General Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials. (The complete text of an article describing this is in the Winter 1985-86 Journal, pp. 508-512.)
This memo showed that the Japanese were offering surrender terms virtually identical to the ones ultimately accepted by the Americans at the formal surrender ceremony on September 2 -- that is, complete surrender of everything but the person of the Emperor. Specifically, the terms of these peace overtures included:
* Complete surrender of all Japanese forces and arms, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries.
* Occupation of Japan and its possessions by Allied troops under American direction.
* Japanese relinquishment of all territory seized during the war, as well as Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan.
* Regulation of Japanese industry to halt production of any weapons and other tools of war.
* Release of all prisoners of war and internees.
* Surrender of designated war criminals.
This memorandum is completely authentic. General Douglas MacArthur confirmed it in 1951. This clearly shows that surrender terms had been agreed on before the bombs were dropped.
You then show Truman's statement. To summarize, it basically says that we are using the bomb against the people who attacked Pearl Harbor, who killed US POW's, against those who have abandoned the rules of international warfare.
But this does nothing to show why the bombs were necessary to end WW2. All it makes me believe is that Truman dropped the bomb for revenge, not for ending the war. The US Strategic Bombing Survey, in a review of the atomic bomb's use, said that they "did not defeat Japan, nor by the testimony of the enemy leaders who ended the war did they persuade Japan to accept unconditional surrender. The Emperor, the Lord Privy Seal, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the Navy Minister had decided as early as May of 1945 that the war should be ended even if it meant acceptance of defeat on allied terms."
The US Strategic Bombing Survey was commissioned to study the effects of bombing in WW2, and held the most detailed studies of the atomic bomb's use. They are arguably the most reliable study of the atomic bomb's use, ever. And it is yet more clear now that the use of the atomic bomb did nothing to end WW2.
You then go on to say how all the US wanted was an apology letter. This is blatantly false, as the US did receive surrenders from Japan which they rejected. If a surrender isn't the apology the US wanted, I don't know what is.
Your 3rd point: You begin by saying that obviously, surrender negotiations with the USSR failed, and so they had to invade. There is a simple reason for this. The allies wanted an unconditional surrender, while Japan wanted to keep their Emperor (which they did anyway). Because of that disagreement, negotiations didn't finish in time and the USSR invaded. Also, the invasion cannot be attributed to failed negotiations. What it can be attributed to is a lack of time. The USSR was scheduled to invade Japan on August 9th. If we had waited a few more weeks, or even days, negotiations would have finished.
I feel I have successfully rebutted the other, final part of your argument in above rebuts.
The leaflet clearly stated that it was going to drop the B-29's on to Nagasaki. Plus they also said that their intention was not to injure people but to destroy their military goods. However if you don't believe that the leaflet did not specify any warnings. Please read the link below:
Giving fair warning is totally relevant in the CAUSE of ending WW2. The leaflets clearly stated Japan that they were not behind Japanese lives but Japanese military tools so that they can weaken Japan's strength to retaliate and hence an end to the World War without losing thousands of lives. If they honored this leaflet they would have ended WW2 without thousands of Japanese lives and signing the terms without violation which makes it totally relevant for these leaflets to come into play while bombing Japan.
In April 1945, the Japanese Suzuki government had prepared a war policy called Ketsugo which was a refinement of the Shosango victory plan for the defence of the home islands to the last man. These plans would prepare the Japanese people psychologically to die as a nation in defence of their homeland. Even children, including girls, would be trained to use makeshift lethal weapons, and exhorted to sacrifice themselves by killing an American invader. To implement this policy of training children to kill, soldiers attended Japanese schools and trained even small children in the use of weapons such as bamboo spears.
Due to this atomic bomb, they stopped the implementation of this plan AND stopped the world war. Otherwise, if this plan was implemented, the suicide attacks would have been far more devastating which clearly signifies the importance of dropping those atomic bombs. My point being:
They were still in a position to retaliate and the war would never have stopped at that time and stretched on.
Next you say that "President Roosevelt" Received a 40 page memorandum from Japanese officials stating surrender terms which did not happen before the atomic bombings, instead the surrender ceremony took place on September 2, 1945 according to: https://en.wikipedia.org...
Your statement says:
"This memorandum is completely authentic. General Douglas MacArthur confirmed it in 1951. This clearly shows that surrender terms had been agreed on before the bombs were dropped."
However, the bombs were dropped on 6th August 1945.
Truman's statement was to mention one of the reasons why US bombed Japan. But he also said that only a "Japanese surrender will stop us". He said this because they knew that Japan being the last active participant of WW2 who did not sign the surrender terms yet, they bombed Japan so that these officials become sentimental for the lives of their brothers and so that they sign their treaty. Truman's statement clearly said Why they bombed Japan and what would force them to sign the treaty.
Now, let's look at another scenario:
What if Atomic Bombs were not dropped?
Do you think that Japan would surrender if they were not dropped? No they would not have surrendered, rather they would have fought till their last breadth although their defeat was inevitable. However, in this course of action, thousands of American lives would also been sacrificed and Japan being total annihilated and humiliated and dominated and what not. The Japan's history would have ended in a more horrifying way.
By dropping these bombs, Japan at least got a chance to sign the treaty and hence survive the WW2 with still something remaining and also got some SYMPATHY of people towards themselves. If they were not dropped, the war would go on, they would be dominated, plus they would still be considered one of the sworn enemies of US. Therefore dropping the bombs and ending the WW2 was necessary not only for US but also for JAPAN up to some extent.
By dropping the atomic bombs we also kept USSR army at bay from invading your lands.
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