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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Should the United States Have Used Atomic Bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/27/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,347 times Debate No: 55539
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




This argument is for whether or not the United States should have dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I am against the bombings in these places, while my opponent will be for the bombings.

1st Round- Acceptance
2nd Round- Opening Arguments
3rd- Rebuttals

Good luck to my opponent, as I expect a good debate.


Ah, an interesting debate. Despite its controversy surprisingly I haven't seen many debates on this site over the Atomic Bombings on Japanese Cities Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I accept the challenge of debating in favor of the bombings, and look forward to a hopefully great debate!
Debate Round No. 1


Indeed, it is a very interesting topic that it also very controversial (Also, be sure to state your sources, if you have any). Let's get this debate started, shall we? Good Luck!

As you already know, I am against the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in which occurred in World War II in Japan. My opponent will be in favor of these bombings.

Argument #1: The Bombs Killed Thousands of Innocent Japanese Civilians

On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb by the name of "Little Boy" was dropped in the city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This bomb was a 9,000 pound, 235-Uranium Bomb dropped from a B-29 Bomber at 8:15 AM. Exploding 2,000 feet above the city, the blast was equal to that of 15,000 tons of TNT. this blast was enough to destroy 5 square miles of the city. This bomb destroyed 90% of Hiroshima and killed over 80,000 people almost instantly. Due to exposure of radiation, tens of thousands of more people would continue to die, just from the first atomic bomb alone. In addition, on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb by the name of "Fat Man" onto the city of Nagasaki. With this bomb, over 40,000 innocent Japanese people had been killed, and in total killed well around 200-250,000 Japanese civilians.

Argument #2: The Country of Japan Was Decimated by These Bombs

Japan was absolutely destroyed by these bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of people. There are multiple pictures in which you are able to see the before-and-after affects of the bombings. Here is an example I have provided ( This is a before-and-after image of Nagasaki. Clearly, you can see that before the bomb, it was just a normal, rather beautiful Japanese city. After the bomb was dropped, it essentially turns into a radioactive wasteland.

Argument # 3: The Atomic Bombs Were A Complete Waste of Money

To elaborate on this point, the bombs weren't necessarily an entire waste of money. Granted, it got the job done that it needed to do, but something else could have been done in order to save the government, as well as our country, a lot of money. Over $2 billion was spent in order for the Manhattan Project to be a success, which is the most expensive project in the history of the U.S. Even then, the United States could have perhaps developed several other alternatives to these bombs, as well as the project in general. This will bring me to my next and final point.

Argument #4: The United States Could Have Found an Alternative to Dropping the Bombs

The United States could have easily found an alternative to the Manhattan Project, rather than going through with this plan. For example, on May 9, 1945, the United States launched a Firebombing attack on Tokyo, Japan. In this firebombing over 16 square miles long, 80-140,000 innocent Japanese civilians were killed altogether. Had the United States done that over the atomic bombs, it could have potentially saved thousands of more lives. Also, with the firebombings, compared to the atomic bombs, nobody else would die due to radiation poisoning or from radiation exposure, which is what made the aftermath as bad as it was.

I would like to thank my opponent for awaiting my argument, and I will await his side of the argument. Best of luck to you!

Sources: (


First off, thanks to Con for an interesting opening statement.
Secondly, I just finished a course over WW2 and the United States' involvements and actions and of course the atomic bombings were included in the course, therefore I am able to just spew out facts from the war because I just finished this course, but of course the validity is not necessarily there for my opponent nor the audience, so I will do my best to research sites and find websites backing the fact I have stated, but please don't fault me for a fact unidentified by source, because it was completely unintentional, and if it is detrimental to the debate I would be happy to add a source in a later round.

Now in to the debate!

I will respond to each of my opponent's arguments.

"Argument #1: The Bombs Killed Thousands of Innocent Japanese Civilians"

After reading this section, I did not see much of an argument, but rather facts and details of what exactly happened. my opponent is saying that the killing of these innocent civilians is a reason why we shouldn't have used the atomic bomb on this city. Later in my opponent's statement though, they claim that "The United States Could Have Found an Alternative to Dropping the Bombs" My opponent offers the alternative of Firebombing Tokyo. In both instances, civilians are getting innocently killed. Therefore, my opponents "Argument #1" stating how we shouldn't have used the atomic bombs because innocent Japanese civilians were killed can be completely disregarded because in any alternative (like the Firebombings my opponent suggested) innocent Japanese civilians would have been killed. In any instance innocent Japanese civilians would be killed, including a homeland invasion on Japan. Therefore, my opponents first argument is irrelevant, innocent Japanese civilians being killed is not a reason not to drop bombs on Japan.

"Argument #2: The Country of Japan Was Decimated by These Bombs"

My opponent claims that Japan was decimated by these atomic bombs. And that is completely true as you can see. But once again, this is not a reason not to drop atomic bombs on Japan. Any alternative to atomic bombs would've decimated most of Japan, how do we know this? We can look in to the history of WW2.

What was an alternative to using the atomic bomb? Lets consider 2 alternatives: Excessive Bombings over Japan and a homeland invasion. My opponent claims that because the country was decimated by these bombings destroyed Japan we shouldn't have used them, but any alternative would've done the same.

If we would've just bombed Japan, not atomically, the country would've still been decimated. Here are some pictures of cities bombed during WW2. (London) (The US bombing Japan, as you see, even with normal bombs, the city would've been decimated) (Warsaw)

As you can see, if we would've constantly been bombing Japan, the country would've been decimated anyway, just look at any other country that experienced war on its soil in WW2.

If would've invaded Japan instead of excessive bombing or using the atomic bombs, the country would've still been decimated as if bombs were already dropped on it. (German invasion on France) (German invasion on Poland)

All in all, no matter the alternative, Japan was bound to be decimated by the United States in one way or another, the country would've been destroyed no matter what, atomic bombs or not, therefore the statement that JJapan was destroyed by atomic bombs therefore we shouldn't have used them is not logical.

"Argument #3: The Atomic Bombs Were A Complete Waste of Money"
Personally, I do not like to argue the fact of money when talking about the atomic bombings on Japan. We didn't bomb Japan to save ourselves money, we bombed Japan to save human lives, more specifically United States soldiers. You cant put a price on a soldiers life.
Nobody can for sure say how much money would have been saved if we had used a homeland invasion on Japan. It still would have been a large load of money though, take in to account
Battleships, soldiers, ammunition, plane fuel, tank fuel, boat fuel, food, rifles, combat suits, landing craft, transportation vehicles, bombs, etc. The list goes on and on. Would the homeland invasion would've added up to 2 Billion? Who knows. Would the homeland invasion killed tens of thousands of US Soldiers? Yes, and that is all that matters.

"Argument #4: The United States Could Have Found an Alternative to Dropping the Bombs"
If you have read any of my previous statements, you know that there was no alternative. There was no other way to go about the situation in Japan other than using a weapon of mass destruction. Read above for supporting evidence as to why.

Thank you to my opponent for providing his opening debate and I hope to have addressed all of his points. I eagerly await my opponent's reply!

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for his statements. This was the type of debate that I was expecting, and I love the way that everything is running!

Although my opponent claims that there were no alternatives to the atomic bomb, there could have been bombs that were not as massive and detrimental to the country. Now, I personally believe that an invasion would be absurd, considering that there were already hundreds of thousands of lives already lost, I completely agree with that statement. Operation Downfall would have only made matters worse, for the Americans, as well as the Japanese. It was estimated that the amount of casualties would have fallen to the millions mark.
Back to my original statement ( I apologize for getting a little off topic there), we had recently used firebombs before the atomic bombs in Tokyo, Japan. is there any specific reason as to why those could not be used once again? I do realize that the purpose of the atomic bomb was to destroy all military facilities and support going in and out of the country, as well as to annihilate all military personnel as well, but that turned out to be worse than planned. Over 200,000 people were killed as a result of these bombs, and not even 100,000 of those who were killed were any military personnel.
You could also make the argument that the president himself gave Japan a 'Warning'. This 'Warning' had not mentioned anything about a bomb being used on their country, nor did it mention anything about the tragic about what could have happened. Nobody mentioned that these 9,000 pound bombs were going to be dropped and create casualties at exponential rates in such a short rate of time.

I would like to thank my opponent for a fantastic debate, and hope to stay in contact in order to potentially have more debates! Thank you for the acceptance of this debate. Note that I am not necessarily against, nor am I for, the bombs. I am currently at a standstill, but either side can make a very valid argument. Thanks again to my opponent for a great debate on such a controversial topic. I'm glad I was able to speak my mind on the matter!


Ah, the last round.
Because this is the final statement of the debate, although my opponent didn't clearly clarify it, it would not be fair for me to arise any new statements, as my opponent would not have a chance for a rebuttal. Therefore, I will reply to my opponent's statement in the final round and conclude the debate.

Initial Statement:
My opponent agrees with the fact that a homeland invasion on Japan was not an alternative for the bombings. My opponent also does not ever respond to my statement refuting the fact that the bombings would've been a waste of money, therefore I conclude that I have won that part of the debate, and my opponent's statement about the waste of money is irrelevant and untrue, therefore I won. my opponent also does not reply to my statement that any alternative would've decimated Japan, therefore that statement is not a reason not to drop the bombs, therefore I also won that part of the debate.
My opponent either just didn't read my statement or disregarded my rebuttals and points for an unknown reason, but if my opponent did read my statement and disregarded my points I believe it was in concession, and therefore I have already won the debate, but that is a rather unsupported assumption and a large one at that, therefore I will give my opponent the benefit of the doubt and just say that they rather "forgot" to respond to my key points.

Although my opponent disregards most of my rebuttal, my opponent still sticks to their point that there could've been another option to the atomic bombs. My opponent also brings up that we didn't warn Japan about the atomic bombs that we were about to detonate (True and untrue) These are the only two points my opponent makes in their final statement, therefore I will address both then conclude this debate.

An Alternative to the Atomic Bombs, "Why couldn't we keep using firebombs?"
My opponent states, "we had recently used firebombs before the atomic bombs in Tokyo, Japan. Is there any specific reason as to why those could not be used once again?" I'm not sure if this is a point my opponent is making or simply a question. I will infer a point in favor of not using the atomic bombs, because this is a debate.
So, why couldn't we couldn't use firebombs once again? Well because we did, and it didn't work. By early summer of 1945, the US Air Force had destroyed nearly every major city in Japan [1]. We used Napalm on Japan numerous times, first in Tokyo. These Napalm strikes lit any wooden building up in flames in a matter of seconds, and created firestorms in the city that lasted for days. [1] Tokyo was in a firestorm for days, yet military generals and government officials in Japan still gave no surrender. The fact of the matter is, we used firebombs on every single major Japanese city, we dropped chemicals, napalm, and just flat out bombs. The United States dropped close to half a million incendiary bombs on sleeping Tokyo. [2] So, that is why we couldn't keep dropping firebombs. Trust me, we tried it, half a million times just on one city actually, and it did not work.

The President's warning
My opponent says "You could also make the argument that the president himself gave Japan a 'Warning'. This 'Warning' had not mentioned anything about a bomb being used on their country, nor did it mention anything about the tragic about what could have happened."
I don't see how this is a reason as to why we shouldn't have dropped the atomic bombs, but I will still refute it.
First of all, I don't see why a warning was necessary in the first place. Since when in warfare, let alone world warfare, did it become expected to warn countries before an attack? Yes, I guess in this case it is a rather detrimental attack, one the world hadn't seen before, but yet again, a warning wasn't necessary or needed, but we did warn Japanese cities out of pure courtesy. We never sent warnings to France saying "Listen we are going to storm your beaches here in a couple hours" nor did we call Cuba saying "Hey tomorrow we are coming to the Bay of Pigs for an invasion" There are no warnings in warfare, and a warning by Truman wasn't needed, but yet we did warn Japanese citizens.
We told Japanese citizens to "EVACUATE YOUR CITIES" [3] in leaflets dropped on their cities. The United States dropped over one million leaflets over Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and thirty three other Japanese cities. [4]
Because I have the space, and because I find it very interesting historically, I will paste what one of the leaflets dropped over dropped over Hiroshima read, dropped on August 1st, 1945. [4]

“Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.”

Like I said, although this is not to persuasive in a debate's sense, the history behind it fascinates me and although some may be reading this just because they enjoy reading debate, others may also like to read to become educated about a topic. I don't know, maybe its just boring and irrelevant but I liked reading a piece of history.

I have now refuted any of my opponents key points in the debate. Since this is the final statement, it would be completely unfair of me to propose any new statements, so I guess we will call the debate here!

Thanks to my opponent for instigating this debate and I had a lot of fun doing research and learning more about the bombings.

Thanks to the audience for reading this debate, although I cannot speak for my opponent I can infer that they wish you enjoyed, as also I do.

And finally, good luck to my opponent as we enter the voting stage, may the best debate win!



Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Scott_Jensen 7 years ago
We would not have had to use Operation Downfall. We could have used bombs that could have taken out the portions of the cities that held major military personnel, and destroyed all of their connections to the outside. No more resources could have came in, while none could come out, since they would have been destroyed. Bombs that had less of a blast radius could have been used that were cheaper to use and make and destroy a specific area, rather than decimating two entire cities.
Posted by 123456789123456789 7 years ago
Just saying, operation downfall would have killed many, many, more people. The bombs were a less deadly option.
Posted by STMAknight92 7 years ago
The point of the fire bombings is also interesting.

although nobody would have died of radiation, it is likely that many more would have died because the Japanese would not have surrendered to them, and would have kept on fighting.
Posted by STMAknight92 7 years ago
i had this debate in one of my classes a few weeks ago. i was for the side of yes drop the bombs. my points were that many more would have died because the Japanese were ready to fight to the last man. estimates of upwards a million more would have died. many civilians would have still died because they were being trained to strap bombs to there chests and run at tanks and soldiers. the bombs also had prevented the cold war, between U.S. and Russia, from being a bloody WW3.

The placement of the bombs were very strategic. as japans second army, military factories, and big economic centers were placed in the two cities. after the first bomb hit the emperor of japan was also quoted in saying he was still not going to surrender, but only the second bomb sweyed him to give up hope.

after doing the research for my debate i realized that the bombs were ethical, moral, and they were just another part of war.
Posted by Scott_Jensen 7 years ago
LostInTheEcho, don't you think that destroying a religious center is a bit unethical to do from a country's standpoint? To destroy a religious center is destroying something most people in the country have faith in, and may be their last resort to turn to, and to destroy a country like that is very degrading, and makes the United States as a country look as if we are a country who does not care about religion, in which this country was based off of. Also, had we done firebombing runs like we had done in Tokyo, less lives would have been lost, and the cost would have been lower. I'm not saying we should have invaded Japan, which I also think would be a bad idea, but a good alternative could have been found, rather than decimating a whole country.
Posted by cali130 7 years ago
Regarding the comment posted by LostintheEcho1498, it is untrue to say that the dropping of the bombs had no U.S. casualties, as many POWs were held in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and were there when teh bombs were dropped. Also, from what I read, it seemed to imply that if we had 'entrapped the Japanese and simply let them starve', it would have been more humane. I tend to lean the other way, agreeing that both are tragic deaths, but at least the atomic blast had a quicker ending.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 7 years ago
I won't accept because of my own personal issues with this. In a militarist state of mind looking at the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki it was the best tactical move to make. Hiroshima was a huge economic center and Nagasaki was a large religious center and so destroyed the moral of the Japanese without a single U.S. casualty. If we had stormed into Japan there would have been many more losses on both sides because the Japanese would have fought to the last man. The Nuclear Bomb showed that there was no fight, just obliteration. As such, the bombing was the best tactical decision to make. At a humanist standpoint the nuclear bomb was something that could not, and should not, have happened. It killed civilians and soldiers alike and is still doing so today. We could have entrapped the Japanese and simply let them starve until they surrendered. There were several alternatives that could have been taken but the Nuke was the fastest with the least allied casualties. Whichever side this is on there is a healthy debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mendel 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro disproved every point that con brought. They both agreed that an invasion was not practical because it would cause at least a million deaths, pro argued that in the invasion and bombing a tremendous amount of civilians would die anyways. The alternative the con was offering, fire bombing, pro showed how that hadn't worked and the japan es had to be shocked into submission.
Vote Placed by Seeginomikata 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides arguments were so weak that I don't feel like giving a real vote. I agree that there were much better alternatives, however con needs to actually give us a real example of an alternative. Pro argument is plain ignorant. It reminds me of the official "how everything went and why America is good" curriculum that they give to U.S. school children. But con did not put forwards anything of value either, as all his/her points were flimsy at best.

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