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The Contender
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Was the bombing of Hiroshima ethical and justified?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/7/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,892 times Debate No: 82205
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
Votes (1)




This debate shall only revolve around the detonation of the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima and if it was ethical and justified as the American President had said.

Here is how it shall go for the debate;

Round 1- Acceptance

Round 2- Argument

Round 3- Continuation of Argument

Round 4- Rebuttle

Round 5- Cite your sources

I am looking forward to debating this with you.


Debate Round No. 1


With this argument to which we present to you we shall be focusing on the bombing of Hiroshima rather than Nagasaki defending the reason why the bomb should not have been dropped to answer the question, "Do you think it was ethical and moral to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"

The United States Government during the use of the world"s first public use of the Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were revolutionary in the scientific and military and technological communities. The Atomic Bombs proved to the Soviet Union that we were powerful and had weapons of mass destruction to defend ourselves, that is one small excuse to justify the acts.
Was the detonation of nuclear devices necessary and vital to the final outcome to the war in the pacific? A quicker way to end the Second World War? Historians say that should the bombs never been detonated in Japan, the war would have likely lasted another six years. This would have come at the cost of thousands of American and Japanese lives.
The first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan at 2:45 A.M. local time (August 6, 1945), aboard the Enola Gay leaving a U.S air force base, and nearly six and a half hours later, at 8:15 A.M (Japan), a bomb that killed an estimated 140,000 civilians and very few of them were military personnel.
The newly elected President and successor to Roosevelt, Vice President Truman, has been quoted in saying," Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT"The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold". It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe."
This I tell you is a lie, or at most a half truth. Hiroshima did hold a large military base used to train or at least staging area for Southeast Asia and was composed of perhaps 25,000 troops. However the bomb was not dropped there on its initial target as the public was told but rather in the center of the city. Mind you that the military base was relatively located on the edge of the city or near it. With this, "error" as some would say, came the realization that rather than 25,000 soldiers that could have been killed and minimum civilian casualties there in the center of the city were a total of 350,000 civilians mostly of a vast majority being composed of Women, Children and elderly men.


I thank my opponent for creating this debate. As I am Pro, I am arguing that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified.

1. Invasion would have been worse

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed somewhere between 129,000 to 246,000 people [1.]. While this death toll is high, invading Japan in order to end the war would have been worse. The U.S. Joint Chiefs estimated than such an invasion would have led to 1.2 million American casualties and 267,000 deaths [2.]. A different study predicted 1.7-4 million U.S. casualties with around 400,000 deaths [3.]. Up to this point, total U.S. casualties in the Pacific were 292,000, meaning an invasion of Japan would have doubled our casualties in the Pacific.

Indeed, high casualties must be expected as the Japanese had already proved capable of inflicting such damage before. In Iwo Jima, a Japanese force outnumbered 5 to 1 inflicted close to 7,000 deaths and left 20,000 wounded. On top of this, an escort carrier was sunk and another critically damaged [4.]. In the battle of Okinawa, a Japanese force outnumbered 7 to 1 (5.5-1 if you want to include Japanese civilians that helped the Japanese), they inflicted 20,000 deaths on US forces and 55,000 wounded. An estimated 26,000 Americans became afflicted with psychological disorders as a result from the battle as well [5.].

Iwo Jima and Okinawa were small islands with small populations. Imagine a full blown invasion of Japan, a country whose population was 71 million [6.], and a standing army on the mainland of nearly 600,000 troops [7.], a force far greater than those defending Iwo Jima (20,000) and Okinawa (77-97,000). In fact, it would be much larger than both of these forces combined. If the 117,000 Japanese troops present in both of these battles killed 27,000 Americans, a back of the envelope calculation yields at least 150,000 American deaths, and far greater deaths for Japanese forces. Indeed, the study above [3] predicted 5-10 million Japanese deaths.

Even more research backs up my statements—and all find that my calculations are very conservative. Admiral Nimitz calculated 49,000 casualties on the first day. MacArthur estimated 23,000 casualties in the first thirty days and 120,000 casualties within 120 days. General Norstad predicted a minimum of 500,000 US deaths. General Charles Willoughby estimated 500,000 casualties also, calling the estimate “conservative.” Henery Stimson said the invasion would have costed more American lives than the invasion of Europe in 1944—which cost 700,000 casualties. General Somervell predicted 720,000 casualties [8.].

Civilian observers were also making estimates. Kyle Palmer, military correspondent for the LA Times, predicted 500,000 US deaths. Herbert Hoover predicted 500,000 to one million US casualties. A more sophisticated calculation than mine, using Okinawa, found if the US casualties per square mile were only 5% of the casualties at Okinawa per square mile, then the US would lose 300,000 men [8].

There is literally no dispute here: invasion would have been worse.

2. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war

Of course, for (1) to be relevant, the atomic bombs must’ve had a significant impact on the ending of the war, or else the point is moot. Those who oppose the atomic bombing of Japan say the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, not the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were the deciding factor for Japan’s surrender. This is untrue.

Historian Sadao Asada suggests the atomic bomb was the primary reason the Japanese surrendered. While the Soviet invasion of Manchuria clearly had an effect, this is what he calls an “indirect” shock, whereas the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki threatened total annihilation on their own shores (of course, we only had two bombs, but they didn’t know that at the time) [9.].

Further, the Japanese were still reluctant to surrender after both the Russian invasion and the atomic bombings. Japanese officials, refusing any kind of peace settlement except on their terms, were so powerful that Hirohito had to personally intervene twice in order to silence their opposition. In fact, many of these officials were so extreme that they wanted a ground invasion in hopes that they would inflict so many casualties that the Americans would beg them for a generous settlement [10.].

3. The Cold War

By creating the atomic bomb and avoiding an invasion of the Japanese mainland, Soviet interventionism was significantly hindered.

In 1946, the Russians outnumbered the Western allies 4:1 and had twice as many tanks [11.]. With Russian aggression in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, it is very likely the Russians would have attempted to move west in order to expand Russian hegemony. However, as the United States was now capable of flattening entire cities with one bomb and had a superior air force (with the ability to gain air superiority and use said technology), this most definitely changed the calculus in Stalin’s brain regarding the risk-benefit ratio that would arise if he chose to march west. It should also be noted this led to the Russians creating a nuclear bomb, preventing any “hot” war with the Russians. Many have stated that atomic weapons deserve the Nobel Peace Prize [12.].

The atomic bomb also gave the US a bargaining chip, and allowed Truman to act more assertively in negotiations with the Russians regarding Eastern Europe [15. William Chafe, The Unfinished Journey, 55).

The Russians may have invaded Japan with the US as well. In Yalta, Stalin was already given permission to invade the island of Sahkalin, and it has been suggested that the Soviets may have been planning to invade Hokkaido [13.]. Indeed, “We now know from Russian sources that the Soviets were preparing an invasion of the northernmost Japanese home island, Hokkaido, one that would have taken place Aug. 25 -- two months before the planned United States invasion of Kyushu.” [14.]. Had this happened, the Russians would have most certainly occupied these areas and would have refused to give them back. Indeed, the Soviets (previously claiming that they would release Eastern Europe from their sphere of influence) created a “Molotov Plan,” and argued that the Eastern European countries had to ally with the Soviets in order to counter the Marshall plan [15, 65].


One: Invasion would have been worse.

Two: Atomic bombs prevented invasion.

Three: Atomic bombs is the reason the cold war stayed “cold,” and helped American president Truman maneuver the US into a position of strength.

Debate Round No. 2


Pro, I first ask you why you ignored the rules above that were stated? I said that rounds one and two (ignoring acceptance) were for arguments and then round three was for rebuttles and the final round was to cite your sources. You also ignored how this was to only cover Hiroshima and not Nagasaki but it is however allright to talk of the Cold War for that has a lot to deal with the bombings and post war Russia.

What were the reasons behind this genocide targeted at civilians you ask? The main reasons behind this were 1.) It had relatively been untouched by bombings meaning a large majority of its population was still intact; and the three hills surrounding the city would have a type of focusing effect and creating a more concentrated blast, thus increasing its destructive force.

Now I ask you again was it worth it? Was it worth killing countless civilians that had nothing to do with the war?

There is not a doubt that it was immoral to drop a weapon such as the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. There is clearly evidence supporting that the ethics presented by President Truman were wrong, that Hiroshima was not a major military target and that the bomb not only killed thousands of civilians during that time period but also left catastrophe upon the surrzounding agriculture and poisoned hundreds if not also thousands of civilians with the effects of radiation which led to cancer in survivors of the bombing and future generations. This was no military target, it was slightly a civilian target but most of all it was a way to see at first or second hand what it could do and the amount of destruction it could bring in a closed area such as Hiroshima. How much damage it could bring.

If this bomb were used to create peace and end the Second World War then why was the second bomb dropped on Hiroshima without warning three days later? Without the Japanese ever seeing what damage had been done and how powerful it was. I blame this on how an ambassador from Japan at the time was speaking with an American reporter asked him, “Will Japan negotiate with the Allies.” To which the Ambassador replied, “No comment” but was incorrectly translated to, “We will not surrender!”

It is very possible that this mistake was something that was only created to have an excuse to show the United States ‘might’ to the Soviets, after all it would soon be the beginning of the Cold War, by bombing Nagasaki. I believe it is unlikely however it should not be ruled out as a possibility.

Robert J. Oppenheimer, the man who has been recognized as the father of the Atom bomb, was quoted in saying, “The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.”

With that quote he is correct, with the creation of the Atom and Hydrogen bombs war has been nearly inconceivable between two or more civilized states. This was the main idea of MAD throughout the Cold War and is still an idea that is used. MAD is an acronym for Mutually-Assured Destruction. In other words, one nuke is launched, every nuke is launched in retaliation.

Resolved; the detonation on the Japanese city of Hiroshima was not necessary and was a civilian target rather than a vital military target and was thus wrong and not necessary whilst the detonation of the bomb on Nagasaki was quite justified.

1. Killed thousands of Civilians rather than military targets at Hiroshima.

2. Ended the war.

3. Prevented more wars than caused but also has created more mental catastrophe than physical.

Thank you for reading.



As my opponent pretty much repeated himself (and got the factual details wrong--I will respond to them next round), I am not going to be repetitive. I have nothing else to say. I will only respond to the allegations that I broke the rules.

(1) There were no rules

There was only a format, and the only guideline I broke was citing sources in the last round. Citing them in my round does *not* harm my opponent in any way. In fact, it helps him because I waste characters with links rather than arguments. Next round, I will follow that guideline in order to appease my opponent.

It should be noted that a format isn't rules. They are guidelines not rules. As my opponent didn't have a section labeled "rules," and no [nonexistent] rule said "follow the format or you automatically lose the debate," nothing I did was wrong. But in order to abide by my opponent's wishes, I shall try to follow the rules and will cite any further sources in the final round.

(2) Hiroshima/Nagasaki

Technically talking about Nagasaki doesn't break the rules, it is just irrelevant. So voters can disregard Nagasaki if they wish, but it still relevant to the debate because it provides necessary historical detail that are relevant to the bombing of Hiroshima. As I will explain next round, you actually have the situations reversed in your entire argument, which is enough to cause the voters to vote Pro. Again, in order to follow the specified format, I won't respond to my opponent's claims until next round.

(3) Possible objections

My opponent may say "oh no, 16k responded to arguments this round and he broke the format!" Nope. My opponent responded to some of my claims last round, meaning the format is essentially useless. The fact I am waiting until next round to rebut my opponent's claims is just me being nice and trying to (albeit after the fact) provide the debate my opponent wanted.
Debate Round No. 3


I shall do my rebuttal next round and instead for this round to replace it shall post my sources. Do forgive me.




My opponent’s case is based upon faulty data and is totally incorrect.

1. Was Hiroshima a valid military target?

This seems to be my opponent’s main argument, and the answer is a resounding yes. To argue Nagasaki was a military target but Hiroshima wasn’t is crazy talk. In fact, the truth is reversed: Hiroshima was more of a military target than Nagasaki.

Hiroshima was the home of a major military headquarters and housed the largest munitions plant in the country [1]. According to Yale University, “Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance. It contained the 2nd Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops.” [2] (emphasis added)

Compare this to Nagasaki which, like Hiroshima, was of industrial importance but lacked any military Headquarters like Hiroshima did. Indeed, 20,000 Japanese soldiers died in Hiroshima; none died in Nagasaki [3]. My opponent’s claim—that Nagasaki was justified because it was a military target—is simply false. It was Hiroshima, not Nagasaki, that was the main target.

2. Makes war uncertain?

My opponent cites Oppenheimer to prove the nuclear bomb has made war uncertain and the world less safe. We haven’t had a major land war in Europe because of the bomb. The nuclear bomb, through MAD, has made war so unthinkable that we have lived in relative peace for 50 years. The atomic bomb deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

3. My opponent argued in favor of my position…

See round 2, where my opponent stated, “Historians say that should the bombs never been detonated in Japan, the war would have likely lasted another six years. This would have come at the cost of thousands of American and Japanese lives.” He thus concedes my C1 and C2, as he admits we would have invaded Japan. I win this debate on utilitarian grounds already.

4. Innocent civilians

By only pointing out the downsides, you fail to take into account the upsides. Both need to be taken into account. The alternative was over a million dead from a protracted ground war and the Soviets gaining influence in Northern Japan, making the Cold War last evens longer. Losing 100,000 over 1 million is clearly preferable. So what’s the alternative? My opponent’s alternative is much, much worse than what we had in reality.

5. Cold War

My opponent argues the bombings were bad because they caused the Cold War. Indeed, they did cause the cold war. But again, what was the alternative? A hot war. A Cold War is far superior to a Cold War.


1) Hiroshima WAS a military target

2) The bombings ended the war and prevented invasion

3) Invasion would have been worse

Therefore, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified.




Debate Round No. 4


My argument is in the comments, I am really sorry.


My opponent could have just pasted his argument here...
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CodingSource 2 years ago
Cussing. Bad practice for a debate. Very dismaying,
Posted by fire_wings 2 years ago
Posted by fire_wings 2 years ago
Will get a vote soon.
Posted by Sciguy 2 years ago
Again I never said the Cold War was a bad thing, it could have been worse. You keep shoving these accusations to me to no avail.
Posted by Sciguy 2 years ago
Are you insane? I said that the bombings on Hiroshima were awful for it was a civilian target and I had the most reliable sources showing this, the bombings on Nagasaki were justified, I never said that it has "caused more wars and makes the world more dangerous" and stated it has prevented war, and I looked at both sides in detail.

You only threw me under the 'bus' with false accusations and you can't automatically win a debate when I look at both sides and you fail to do it yourself.

For christ sake (sorry, there is no christ...kidding.) there were so many you're and yous in your arguments I nearly died! When you do a debate you only make points and you speak your mind and you don't repeatedly reference your opponent. That pissed me off enough when you did so.

Another thing, this debate was about what subject? The atomic bomb being dropped on what city? The city of HIROSHIMA! You idiot can you not read, are you illiterate? I said nothing of the other cities or countries nor did I speak anything of the cold war in the title of this debate, not even other events and therefore you failed to acknowledge even the simplest of requests.

None the less, I found you to be a great opponent and I must admit that I had this entire debate already typed for a class that I had done and did minimal changes to accommodate for this debate here. I would like to apologize for the insults that I have made to you and it was quite rude of me to say what I have to degrade or demonize you, my opponent.

Thank you and may the people vote for whomever they wish!

*I swear to you this Con, if you say "vote me" I will hope that someone will doc your points on who was more responsible in the debate for that is just unacceptable.*
Posted by Sciguy 2 years ago
I said the bomb has made the world more safe you imbecile! "my opponent" pardon my French but will you shut your shite talk down! War has been un thought of because of it between two civil societies now apologize!
Posted by Sciguy 2 years ago
Sorry, nevermind.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
Posted by Sciguy 2 years ago
At least I am not mentioning you with negativity within the debate 16k! Why must you and others do this? It is a debate of Hiroshima, not of you and I doing the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in this. Thanks.