Categorized | Featured Debates, Historical

Resolved, that the United States should not have used atomic bombs to end World War II.

Resolved, that the United States should not have used atomic bombs to end World War II.

Background: The Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack on America at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, thereby bringing the United States into World War II.  Japan simultaneously attacked and then brutally subjugated many countries in Asia and the South Pacific in its effort to create an empire for itself.  The United States slowly fought back over almost four years and eventually liberated the conquered areas until only the Japanese homeland remained–yet Japan still refused to surrender.

Pro:

  • Maybe Japan would have surrendered unconditionally if America had given it more time, especially since we controlled the sea and air round the home islands and the Soviet Union had just declared war on Japan.
  • America should not have persisted in demanding Japan’s “unconditional” surrender like with Germany, but instead acceded to Japan’s demand to retain its Emperor and military control of the country.
  • America should have first invited Japanese representatives to witness a demonstration explosion of one of America’s two atomic bombs in the American Southwest in order to intimidate Japan into unconditionally surrendering.

Con:

  • Japan had demonstrated its total commitment to its warrior code of Bushido (mainly “death before dishonor”) through many things like suicidal banzai charges, fighting to the last man, kamikaze airplanes and mini-submarines, committing personal and mass suicides (even civilians like on Saipan) instead of surrendering, and intensely preparing to resist an invasion of its home islands.
  • The near-total destruction of Japan’s navy and air force and the conventional bombing of its cities still had produced no discernible political effect whatsoever on Japan’s willingness to unconditionally surrender thereby necessitating the “shock value” inherent in the two atomic bombs.
  • An allied invasion of Japan in order to occupy and compel Japan to surrender would have cost America and its allies maybe a half-million combat deaths and many more servicemen wounded–plus would likely have resulted in the near-genocide of the Japanese people who were reasonably expected to fanatically resist the invasion like on Iwo Jima and Okinawa which produced horrific casualties on both sides.

~KS FEB ’11

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