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Debate: Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?

Background and context

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks at the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and 9, 1945. After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities,
the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed on August 9 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. These are to date the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs.In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians. Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. (Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in Europe.) The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding that nation from nuclear armament. The debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a subject of contention concerning the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on August 6 and 9, 1945 and marked the end of World War II. The debate amongst scholars, popular media, and cultures tends to focus on the ethics and necessity of the bombings. The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and the United States' justification for them has been the subject of scholarly and popular debate for decades. J. Samuel Walker writes in an April 2005 overview of recent historiography on the issue, "the controversy over the use of the bomb seems certain to continue." Walker notes that "The fundamental issue that has divided scholars over a period of nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States."

From Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at Wikipedia

Contents

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Ethics: Is it morally right to use atomic bombs?

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Yes

  • Atomic bombs were a just response to Japan's total war tactics Supporters of the bombings have argued that the Japanese government waged total war, ordering many civilians (including women and children) to work in factories and military offices and to fight against any invading force. Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo's Catholic University, and an eyewitness to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima wrote: "We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in boobs principle cannot complain of war against civilians."[1]
  • Bombing Japan was ethical in context of the horrors of WWII WWII was the worst war the world has ever seen. By the end of this war, there was hardly any boundary between right and wrong anymore. War had become, on all sides, total war. It is for this reason that there was very little revulsion to the bombing of Japan at the time of the action. In the whole context of the bloodiest war in world history, bombing Japan was not that bad.


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No

  • Bombing Japan was barbaric and immoral On August 8, 1955, Albert Camus addressed the bombing of Hiroshima in an editorial in the French newspaper Combat: "Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests[...] This can no longer be simply a god; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason."
  • Bombing Japan was a war crime against humanity Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC - "[Truman] knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity."[2]
  • Bombing Japan was to take revenge on the civilians. America was scared of and angry with the Japanese military and resorted to cheating by hurting the innocent civillians, forcing the emperor to surrender. America was also impatient and did this immoral act without thinking.
  • Sources Say President Trumen Was Drunk When the Decision was made

Witnesses report that prestident was stressed and decided to get drunk at a local bar to help overcome the stress. From the book, the real President Trumen, it says he was seen at the Luck of the Irish Pub intoxicated. Some sources say other drugs may have been used.

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Death toll: Did bombings reduce the death toll of WWII?

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Yes

  • Invading Japan would have resulted in casualties far beyond bombs The Americans anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the actual number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. Truman after the war stated that he had been advised that American casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men.[3] Millions of Japanese military and civilian casualties were expected.[4] Millions of women, old men, and boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tanks.[5] The Japanese cabinet had approved a measure extending the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixty and women from seventeen to forty-five (an additional 28 million people).[6] Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on August 1, 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied prisoners of war, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place.[7]
  • A speedy end to WWII was critical in saving lives Supporters of the bombing also argue that waiting for the Japanese to surrender was not a cost-free option. "For China alone, depending upon what number one chooses for overall Chinese casualties, in each of the ninety-seven months between July 1937 and August 1945, somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 persons perished, the vast majority of them noncombatants. For the other Asians alone, the average probably ranged in the tens of thousands per month, but the actual numbers were almost certainly greater in 1945, notably due to the mass death in a famine in Vietnam. Newman concluded that each month that the war continued in 1945 would have produced the deaths of 'upwards of 250,000 people, mostly Asian but some Westerners."
  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been firebombed anyway.


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No

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Surrender: Was bombing Japan necessary in getting them to surrender?

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Yes

  • Japan would not have surrendered without being bombed first Professor of history Robert James Maddox. - "Even after both bombs had fallen and Russia entered the war, Japanese militants insisted on such lenient peace terms that moderates knew there was no sense even transmitting them to the United States. Hirohito had to intervene personally on two occasions during the next few days to induce hardliners to abandon their conditions" "That the militarists would have accepted such a settlement before the bombs is farfetched, to say the least."[3]
  • Bombing Japan was justified in the post-Okinawa context Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005 - "These are the debates that matured in the relative peace of the postwar era. But in August 1945 most Americans had a much different take on Hiroshima, a decision that cannot be fathomed without appreciation of the recently concluded Okinawa campaign (April 1-July 2) that had cost 50,000 American casualties and 200,000 Japanese and Okinawa dead. Okinawa saw the worst losses in the history of the U.S. Navy. Over 300 ships were damaged, more than 30 sunk, as about 5,000 sailors perished under a barrage of some 2,000 Kamikaze attacks.
And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms."
  • Japanese needed pretext of bombings in order to surrender The "one condition" faction, led by Togo, seized on the bombing as decisive justification of surrender. Kōichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisers, stated: "We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war." Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945, called the bombing "a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war."
  • No Truman advisers said atomic bombs were unnecessary for surrender Professor of history Robert James Maddox. - "Another myth that has attained wide attention is that at least several of Truman’s top military advisers later informed him that using atomic bombs against Japan would be militarily unnecessary or immoral, or both. There is no persuasive evidence that any of them did so. None of the Joint Chiefs ever made such a claim, although one inventive author has tried to make it appear that Leahy did by braiding together several unrelated passages from the admiral’s memoirs. Actually, two days after Hiroshima, Truman told aides that Leahy had 'said up to the last that it wouldn’t go off.'"[4]
  • The Stupid Eggrolls Deserved It "How could they be stupid enough to let us do this, maybe if they didnt have such chinky eyes, they would see it coming." Said President Harry Trumen about the issue.

Sources also point out that the intense Cocaine drug cartels are to blame. Cocaine has very explosive properties such as HBM and GHT caused the violent explosion not the Atomic bomb itself.

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No

"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."[5]
  • Many military men advised that bombing Japan was unnecessary
    • General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in his memoir The White House Years - "In 1945 Secretary of War Boob, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."[61][62]
    • Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. - The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.
    • Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman. - The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.
  • Soviet victories in Manchuria were core cause of Japanese surrender. Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings themselves were not even the principal reason for capitulation. Instead, he contends, it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories in Manchuria that forced the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, though the War Council did not know the extent of the losses to the Soviets in China at that time.


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Public opinion: What was public opinion in America at the time?

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Yes

  • The American public was very supportive of bombing Japan.
And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms.
About a month after Okinawa was finally declared secure came Hiroshima. Americans of that age were more likely to wonder not that the bomb had been dropped too early, but perhaps too late in not avoiding the carnage on Okinawa"


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No

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2nd bomb: Was it necessary to drop the second bomb on Nagasaki?

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Yes

  • 2nd atomic bomb on Nagasaki was necessary in achieving surrender Professor of history Robert James Maddox. - "Some historians have argued that while the first bomb might have been required to achieve Japanese surrender, dropping the second constituted a needless barbarism. The record shows otherwise. American officials believed more than one bomb would be necessary because they assumed Japanese hard-liners would minimize the first explosion or attempt to explain it away as some sort of natural catastrophe, precisely what they did. The Japanese minister of war, for instance, at first refused even to admit that the Hiroshima bomb was atomic. A few hours after Nagasaki he told the cabinet that 'the Americans appeared to have one hundred atomic bombs . . . they could drop three per day. The next target might well be Tokyo.'"


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No

  • The US should have waited longer before bombing Nagasaki. Even if Hiroshima was necessary, the U.S. should have waited for word on the devastation of Hiroshima to filter out to the people and leaders of Japan. If they had waited, and played more diplomatic cards in the interim, it would have been possible to convince Japan to surrender.
  • US was mercilessly impatient in dropping bombs so quickly. The Americans wanted to end the war quickly - they could not even wait for two months. If they waited, the casualties would not be so much. The US killed 215,000 in the bombings. The most they can kill in two months without using the atomic bombs would definitely not exceed 200,000! - This shows they were not only impatient but biased. Just because the Japanese military caused lots of trouble, they exceeded their mercilessness to the civillians. Humanitarians like Mamoru Shinozaki could have been killed.
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Demonstration: Was an atomic bomb demonstration infeasible?

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Yes

Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005 - "For the immediate future there were only two bombs available. Planners thought that using one for demonstration purposes (assuming that it would have worked) might have left the Americans without enough of the new arsenal to shock and awe the Japanese government should it have ridden out the first attack and then become emboldened by a hiatus, and our inability to follow up the attacks."


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No

  • A demonstration over Tokyo harbor would have compelled surrender. A demonstration explosion over Tokyo harbor would have convinced Japan's leaders to quit without killing many people.


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Conventional bombs: Was a nuclear weapon necessary over conventional bombs?

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Yes

  • Conventional bombs would not have forced a surrender. The large effect of the atomic bomb is what caused Japan to surrender. This effect could not have been caused with atomic bombs.
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No

  • Conventional bombs would not kill so many people. Conventional bombs do not cause as much damage as atomic bombs. They do not cause radiation and not so many babies born many years after that would have disabilities as it would in this scenario - radiation. Conventional bombs would have forced the Japanese surrender barely two months later.
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Emperor: Was the US right to deny the emperor power?

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Yes

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No


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Military targets: Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki legitimate military targets?

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Yes

  • Hiroshima was a strategic military headquarters and target. Supporters of the bombings have emphasized the strategic significance of the targets. Hiroshima was used as headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army, which commanded the defense of southern Japan with 40,000 military personnel in the city. Hiroshima was a communication center, an assembly area for troops, a storage point and had several military factories as well.
  • Nagasaki was an industrial center and military target. Nagasaki was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.
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No

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bad targets. No one can deny that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were key industrial areas, produced warships and other kinds of "war materials" and commanded southern Japan. However, the Americans chose the wrong area - the area that had lots of innocent civilians. Either they missed the target, or they were so merciless that they wanted to kill civilians instead of military personnel in order to make the Emperor stunned.


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Cold War: Is it wrong to think that the bombings were the first move in Cold War?

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Yes

  • Dropping bombs prevented Russians from invading and occupying Japan. There was a real possibility that, if the United States did not drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Russia would have joined the United States in invading Japan, and would have subsequently demanded to jointly occupy the country. This would have resulted in a future for Japan much like the post-War future of divided Germany.


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No

Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add."
  • Bombing Japan initiated the Cold War arms race A number of scientists who worked on the bomb were against its use. Led by Dr. James Franck, seven scientists submitted a report to the Interim Committee (which advised the President) in May 1945, saying: "If the United States were to be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race for armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons."
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International law: Was the bombing of Japan consistent with international law?

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Yes

  • No international law forbade the bombing of Japanese civilians An article published in the International Review of the Red Cross - "in examining these events in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property."
  • Idea of US war crimes in bombing Japan is unacceptable John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, used Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples why the US should not adhere to the International Criminal Court (ICC): "A fair reading of the treaty [the Rome Statute concerning the ICC], for example, leaves the objective observer unable to answer with confidence whether the United States was guilty of war crimes for its aerial bombing campaigns over Germany and Japan in World War II. Indeed, if anything, a straightforward reading of the language probably indicates that the court would find the United States guilty. A fortiori, these provisions seem to imply that the United States would have been guilty of a war crime for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is intolerable and unacceptable."


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No

  • Bombing Japan was a war crime against humanity Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC - "[Truman] knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity."[6]
  • The bombing of Japan was an act of war/terrorism Historical accounts indicate that the decision to use the atomic bombs was made in order to provoke an early surrender of Japan by use of an awe-inspiring power. These observations have caused some commentators to state that the incident was an act of "war terrorism". Michael Walzer wrote, "... And, finally, there is war terrorism: the effort to kill civilians in such large numbers that their government is forced to surrender. Hiroshima seems to me the classic case."[7]
  • The bombing of Japan was illegal under the international law of the time. In 1963 the bombings were the subject of a judicial review in Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State.[43] On the 22nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the District Court of Tokyo declined to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons in general, but found that "the attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war."
In the opinion of the court, the act of dropping an atomic bomb on cities was at the time governed by international law found in the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907 and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922–1923 and was therefore illegal.


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Justifying costs: Is it wrong to believe the bomb was used to justify development?

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Yes

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No

  • The bomb was used partly to justify the $2 billion spent on its development.


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Image: Did the world understand/forgive this US action?

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Yes

  • No one mentions it anymore. Even the history books do not include right and wrong inside. This topic is left to debate. Over 60% of the people agree with America and only 22% are the opposition.
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No


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Did the bombings improve life for the average person in Japan?

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Yes

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No

  • Hundreds of thousands of people died, it did not improve life for them. Life for the Japanese population cannot be improved by killing two major cities and their population.
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Did the bombings discourage countries from using atomic weapons in future?

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Yes

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No

  • It encouraged the people to use atomic bombs because they produce results...immediately.
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Pro/con resources

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Yes

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No


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Pro/con videos

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Yes

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No


See also

External links and resources

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