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Was the US justified in the bombing of Japan

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 762 times Debate No: 55211
Debate Rounds (3)
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The United states had very few options with how to deal with Japan. One was to try to fight through the winter which they were not prepared for since the Allies had just finished the European tour. Another option was to wait until the following spring to invade Japan, but this was not the best choice because this would allow the Japanese valuable time to build up their army, fortifications and possibly even allow time for another attack on the United States. Their only other option was to use a Nuclear Weapon (the atomic bomb) to save uncountable allied lives and put an end to WWII once and for all.
The United States wisely chose to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. When the United States dropped the bomb on Japan, America chose the large manufacturing and primarily military occupied cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to help cripple the Japanese army and their moral. With the major producing cities crippled Japan"s military would be forced into submission without the loss of another allied life.



1)Japan could build up their army, fortifications and possibly even allow time for another attack on the United States.
Though it may be true that the cities were producing war materials, I argue that they would not have been enough for Japan to win the war. They had lost their access to oil in April of 1945. General Curtis LeMay boasted that American bombers were "driving them back to the stone age." Fumimaro Konoye, the prime minister, said: "Fundamentally, the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s." I refer to two waves of bombings conducted by the US on Japan. On March 9-10, 1945, a wave of 300 American bombers struck Tokyo, killing 100,000 people. Dropping nearly 1,700 tons of bombs, the war planes ravaged much of the capital city, completely burning out 16 square miles and destroying a quarter of a million structures. A million residents were left homeless.

On May 23, eleven weeks later, came the greatest air raid of the Pacific War, when 520 giant B-29 "Superfortress" bombers unleashed 4,500 tons of incendiary bombs on the heart of the already battered Japanese capital. Generating gale-force winds, the exploding incendiaries obliterated Tokyo's commercial center and railway yards, and consumed the Ginza entertainment district. Two days later, on May 25, a second strike of 502 "Superfortress" planes roared low over Tokyo, raining down some 4,000 tons of explosives. Together these two B-29 raids destroyed 56 square miles of the Japanese capital.

I think it is clear that the atomic bombs were unnecessary to end the war.

2) Primarily military occupied cities.
President Truman said that the bomb "saved millions of lives" by bringing the war to a quick end. Justifying his decision, he went so far as to declare: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

In fact, almost all of the victims were civilians, and the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (issued in 1946) stated in its official report: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population."

Documents show that General George Marshall felt "these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave"telling the Japanese that we intend to destroy such centers"."

As the document concerning Marshall"s views suggests, the question of whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified turns " on whether the bombs had to be used against a largely civilian target rather than a strictly military target"which, in fact, was the explicit choice since although there were Japanese troops in the cities, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was deemed militarily vital by U.S. planners. (This is one of the reasons neither had been heavily bombed up to this point in the war.) Moreover, targeting [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] was aimed explicitly on non-military facilities surrounded by workers" homes.


1) Japan tried to surrender.
Japan had approached the Soviet Union(then neutral) to try to mediate peace. Although they had intended to find terms favourable to them, any country would have done the same. The Allies had far superior air strength, as mentioned in my first rebuttal. In mid-April [1945] the 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.

On top of that, in January 20, 1945, two days prior to his departure for the Yalta meeting with Stalin and Churchill, President Roosevelt received a 40-page memorandum from General Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials. The terms 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.

These terms were basically exactly the same as the ones eventually drafted on the official surrender of Japan.

I say I have proven that the bombing of Japan was unethical, killing massive numbers of civillians, carried out despite Japan's multiple attempts at surrender, and were not required to end the war. In fact, I argue that the location of the bombs could not be justified as important military objectives, and were instead chosen FOR the civilian population.
Debate Round No. 1


jmonte forfeited this round.


Poiyurt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


jmonte forfeited this round.


No way to respond to forfeit
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Poiyurt 7 years ago
Well, that's annoying. I now have 4 constantly forfeited debates running. Given the topic, I was hoping this one would be different.
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