Were the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
Debate Rounds (3)
Necessary: "required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential."
Pro will post first arguments during round 1, directly after accepting.
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."
In fact, in a cable intercepted on July 12, 1945, Hirohito revealed that he was ready to end the war on the condition that the monarchy be granted immunity from war crimes -- conditions which the U.S. only accepted after dropping two atomic bombs on the country.
Point 3: Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary because Japan was in such a state of defeat and destruction that a simple show of this new weapon would have been enough. As my last two points have shown, Japan was completely defeated and trying to surrender. President Truman justified the mass killings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as ending the war more quickly and saving lives, but the reality is the war was about to end. If he had wanted to end the war even more quickly, a weapons test on an isolated military base would be all it would take. That would still kill Japanese, but no civilians. And certainly not over 150,000 of them. It is blatantly obvious that the Japanese were terrified by this new weapon, and a test on an isolated base would have worked just as well, and possibly better because Japan wouldn't be filled with so much hatred from the deaths of so many. In bombing these two population centers, he snuffed out over 150,000 lives, including American POWs. This is why the bombs were unnecessary, and horrific to boot.
As to point 2, they wanted a conditional surrender. We wanted an unconditional surrender. When the enemy refuses to lay down their arms unconditionally, you keep fighting. See point 1.
As to point 3, you offer no proof, but merely a simple claim. I tret it as such.
Again, we saved both American and Japanese livees by the millions dropping those bombs. It was necessary.
My opponents point 2: He says they wanted a conditional surrender. The condition was that Emperor Hirohito would be allowed to stay in power, which he did even after the unconditional surrender that occurred. My opponents point about a conditional surrender is moot, because the one condition detailed in Japan's earlier surrender pleas was one that happened anyway.
"We saved millions of lives by dropping those bombs. It was necessary."
We did not save millions of lives. Millions of lives would never have been lost if we hadn't dropped the bomb. We ignored surrender pleas from Japan, and went ahead to bomb them, only after which they accepted the surrender terms. There was nothing to gain from dropping the bombs, as even the US Strategic Bombing Survey (which was commissioned in order to review bombing effects of WW2) stated in a review of the atomic bomb's use. They stated:
"The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs 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 ..."
Now, let me go back to the definition of "Necessary". It means "required to be achieved, essential."
Now, we're the bombs essential to ending the war? Obviously not. Further more, were they essential to make Japan agree to the US's terms. No. Since it was not necessary, essential, or required to end the war, Pro has failed in their argument.
The voters should choose Con because the BoP is upon Pro to prove that the atomic bombs were necessary. As I have refuted Pro's points that tried to prove it was necessary, there is no reason to vote Pro, and all reason to vote Con.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
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.