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50
46
Justified in "Total War" Crime against Humanity
Debate Score:96
Arguments:42
Total Votes:143
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 Justified in "Total War" (23)
 
 Crime against Humanity (19)

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Bradf0rd(1428) pic



Was the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki justifiable or not?

Justified in "Total War"

Side Score: 50
VS.

Crime against Humanity

Side Score: 46
9 points

I think there are a number of arguments "for" the bombing of the two Japanese cities during World War II, so I'll take the unpopular role and play Devil's advocate. First off, if you look at the title of this argument, it is "Was the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki justifiable or not?". Not just "Hiroshima", but Hiroshima [August 6th] AND Nagasaki [August 9th]. Even after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Japanese war machine would not surrender. This really shows how hard the citizens of Japan and the politicians of Japan were fighting in this total war.

Secondly, the usage of Nuclear Weapons for the first time by the United States was relatively fortunate. If it were a country at war with America who'd dropped the first bomb, you could easily argue that due to the tension of this time period the US would've deployed more of them in retaliation. During the Cold War, for example, arms races between the US and Russia led to both sides having hundreds / thousands of nuclear missiles. Since the US was the first to drop the bomb, it set a historical precedent and was used as a deterrant. Despite the low yield of the "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" bombs [modern stockpiles have warheads thousands of times more powerful], the sheer destruction caused gave Nuclear Weapons an area of seriousness and the reality of their destruction that has prevented their usage under the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction".

If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fought under Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan by American forces using conventional warfare tactics [think: Omaha Beach, Operation Market Garden, etc], would the more powerful Nuclear weapons have been used during later wars? How would the Cold War have progressed differently? If Fat Man or Little Boy were dropped during testing in the Bikini Atoll, would more powerful, modern nuclear bombs have been used in any of the wars since the Second World War?

The Korean War, The Cold War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf Wars, Iraq, even Iran in the future. What would the American Military's stance on the usage of Nuclear bombing be if it didn't have the negative press from the bombing of Japan? It would certainly lack it's biggest deterrent.

Perhaps this could be seen as a constructive or progressive "lesser of two evils". America would not have backed down from Japan, as Japan was starting to lose the battle. Regardless of whether the fight was waged using conventional tactics or nuclear bombs, a similar Japanese death toll would have occurred. These days, the largest argument people see these days against the usage of Nuclear weapons is the debate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Perhaps the two bombings actually prevented further loss of life from Nuclear weapons.

There hasn't been a nuclear bombing since on this magnitude [with the exception of the common usage of Tactical Nuclear devices on much smaller magnitudes]. Did the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki save lives, by having the bombing during "favorable conditions"?

1) Low-yield nuclear bombs, by conventional standards.

2) The circumstances were that America was the only one with Nukes.

3) No fear of retaliation, no world-wide destruction followed.

4) Japan clearly had no plan to back down. How many more lives were lost versus a full-on invasion?

5) No American or "Allied" lives were lost.

6) Field-test of a nuclear device, set the precedent for the level of necessity required to drop "The Bomb".

Side: Justified in "Total War"
Bradf0rd(1428) Disputed
6 points

Ok.

While you hold that Japan was not going to give up, I found that more than 60 of Japan's cities had been destroyed by conventional bombing, the home islands were being blockaded by the American Navy, and the Soviet Union entered the war by attacking Japanese troops in Manchuria. Now, when you say that they would not give up, America refused to modify its "unconditional surrender" demand to allow the Japanese to keep their emperor which needlessly prolonged Japan's resistance.

This is something I've thought on my own, but haven't heard elsewhere: "...the U.S. did not give enough time for word to filter out of Hiroshima's devastation before bombing Nagasaki". Mind you, this was three days after, the first bombing was August 6th '45, the second was August 9th '45. We are talking 1945 in the Empire of Japan... They were in a war under a dictator who proclaimed "Total war", do you think everyone went home at night to the radio's that they couldn't afford to hear someone high say "Oh, well the American's just exploded an entire city in like, maybe 30 seconds.... BUT WHO GIVES A FUCK, KEEP FIGHTING!!! BECAUSE WE ARE BLOOD THIRSTY!!!!"? No, it probably didn't happen anything like that. I mean, it's a whole city, gone. Do you think you would know if a whole city went missing? You would hear that someone who claims to be a survivor, saw Hiroshima explode and it doesn't exist anymore... and then you send some people out to check it out, and then they think "Ah, shit... what are we going to tell everyone? America just handed us our ass...", then Day three comes along and we drop our ~20 Kiloton nuke.

Furthermore: "The two cities were of limited military value. Civilians outnumbered troops in Hiroshima five or six to one". Something else I've heard before. Why wouldn't we use these devices strictly on military installations? I mean, if Japan is in the Pacific and is doing it's whole "island hopping" thing, why not just hit one island after another with these bomb until we had no other choice but to attack their cities? Some people seem to think that a demonstration explosion over Tokyo harbor would have convinced Japan's leaders to quit without killing many people.

______

Yes, these were "Low yield" bombs compared to what we have now, but they were the highest yield at the time. They were the only nuclear bombs on the planet at the time, but we were planning on more, and since the bombing, we have been producing more, and more, and more. The soviets in the cold war weren't afraid of what happened in world war 2, they all tested their weapons and had a fair idea of what it would do to a city... something that the rest of the world wouldn't forgive them for. The cold war was nothing more than a cold war. We were also racing to the moon during the cold war, so what?

Operation Market Garden and Operation Overlord were conducted (basically) in the epicenter of World War II. This is when every nation in Europe was involved with the war and this wasn't just a huge island, it was a content that they had to fight their way onto. I am skeptical of the American casualty estimations at the time because if they would have released some actual true estimations, we wouldn't have been able to test these weapons that cost the US nearly 2 million dollars to develop, but I do think that it would have turned into a pre-vietnam, vietnam-like situation. It would have been a very, very long war unless we got down to the point. If we were just to invade japan and hold it captive, of coarse it would be difficult... but in that situation, whoever died would have been fighting. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the people in the cities weren't asked to surrender "or else your whole city will explode". You know what I mean? If you were to hear that you would probably surrender. But no, it was a silent bomb that fell from the sky... the only warning was noticing a single B17 bomber without an escort... that was it. Is that fair?

How seriously can you justify taking 199,000 (ONE HUNDRED AND NINTY NINE THOUSAND) lives without asking them directly to surrender? I know that if China were to ask me now if I would like to be nuked with my city or work in a sweat shot I would much rather work in a sweat shop for the rest of my life... You know what I mean? I am an American, but I would not want to be a number on a chart represented by a digit to be an american. Maybe I'm insane, but that would be horrible. If calling myself an american means that my whole life is just for a 1 on a sheet of paper entitled "Casualties and Fatalities"... no thanks.

Lesser of two evils? That's a joke. What do you consider evil? If you're talking about America's reputation over America's casualties? What does it matter? 199,000 people still died, and that doesn't include fallout and radiation poisoning that is still to blame for many many miscarriages.

Also, you cannot say that a similar death toll was racked up, because we were bombing their cities... on their land. Just because they happened to land on japanese soil when they were born doesn't mean that the empirical ideology was born into each child. Think about it, out of the 199,000 people, how many of them were too young to give a shit? They weren't all just 20 year old angry japanese people ready to kamikaze.

There were babies, children, wives, women, and, amongst all of that, in those two cities, there were 13 Allied POW's (2 of which were British, 7 Dutch and 2 died post-bombing from fallout).

How can you justify bombing two complete cities???

Side: Crime against Humanity
4 points

In response to your second part. Are you saying that if you got into a bar fight with someone who just attacked you for no reason, and that person is strong enough to cause some damage, and you had the means to stop the fight quickly but it would be considered "unfair," that you would not take the opportunity to end it quickly and just take the beating?

At what point does self preservation kicks in at the expense of all else? At what point do you accept collateral damage in order to preserve your family and home?

If we had not used the bomb and Japan somehow managed to win the war, what would this world be like today under imperialist Japan?

Is it ever prudent to sacrifice civilians?

If someone was going around using a baby as a human shield and killing people, how many lives do you allow him to take (while you attempt to stop him without killing the baby) before you say, "Screw it, take the baby out, kill him and stop this madness." Is the baby's life more important than all the other people dying?

Side: Justified in "Total War"
1 point

In response to the first part. Assuming we did give the Japanese citizens a chance to verify for themselves what happened to Hiroshima, what then? Their army would have kept on fighting because the civilian population does not control the military and it doesn't necessarily follow that the military would have gotten the word if the government did not sanction such a message. You have to impress the leaders. And if the devastation of Hiroshima did not impress their leaders enough to act within the alloted time, what does that tell you about the situation?

Side: Justified in "Total War"
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

FYI Kamikaze is the name for the Japanese Air Force, not a person who's goal is to crash their plane into enemy ships. Note: They did do this when America really started whooping their asses, but only when the bombers had run out of bombs.

Side: Justified in
2 points

As William Tecumseh Sherman said, "War is hell". It is not glamorous. The United States applied the principles of second strike capability, which was non-existent with respect to nuclear weapons for Japan, and ending the war at all costs, with total disregard for civilian casualties.

"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out."- William Tecumseh Sherman

Side: Justified in "Total War"
Bradf0rd(1428) Disputed
2 points

I could probably quote Hitler, doesn't make me or him right.

Side: Crime against Humanity
1 point

More people probably would have died if we invaded Japan.

Side: Justified in
1 point

If we hadn't nuked the Japanese and went on with the invasion not only would a comparable number of Japanese lives be lost but thousands upon thousands of Americans as well. The Japanese military mindset was that of win or die trying much like the ancient samurais. This was considered honorable. They would not have surrendered after the first bombing and more lives in the end would have been lost.

Side: Justified in
1 point

Killing children is terrible true. But is it any better to deprive a child of their father as the Japanese did when they started war with us. No if you're going to cry murder ill cry it right back.

Side: Justified in
1 point

It actually saved lives. Someone estimated the total costs of American troops it would cost to take Japan by invasion, it was a hell of a lot more people than where killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So stop whining about it being inhuman.

Side: Justified in
-1 points

Think kamikaze. Japan was not going to surrender. Their soldiers where told that we would torture them if we captured them and that it was thus preferable to die fighting. The bomb ended the war earlier than it would have otherwise and saved a lot of American lives.

Side: Justified in "Total War"
5 points

Even though I know everything about it from High school, I had never thought about it before...

America is the one and only nation to use nuclear weapons on another in war, and also the only nation to destroy two cities with nuclear weapons.

Why did we do this? Well, does anyone remember, what I think was called "Operation Downfall" which was going to cost us an estimated 1.7 to 4 million American casualties, including 400,000 to 800,000 fatalities lives alone... That's a lot considering America lost an estimated 416,800 lives from 1939 to 1945. So basically, invading Japan would take double the amount of lives as all of world war II did.

They were only estimations though.

"Little Boy", the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, had a yield of 12-15 Kilotons of TNT. "Fat Man", Nagasaki's bomb, was 20-22 Kilotons of TNT... The Tsar, which is Russia's Massive hydrogen bomb is estimated to be equivalent to around 50 Megatons of TNT, or 15,000 Kilotons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Comparative_nuclear_fireball_sizes.svg

Look at the purple dot in the center... that was Nagasaki's "Fat Man" that killed 64,000 people ("Little Boy", because Hiroshima was a bigger city killed something like 135,000 people, though it was a smaller bomb). So the Tsar is x1000 greater than the lower yield "Little Boy". Isn't that insane? The Tsar, just going off of that has the potential to kill 135,000,000 people... ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE MILLION PEOPLE.

Think about your life... think about your life and your significant other's life... that's only 2 lives. That's 67,500,000 couples like yours. Or, if you think about it in terms of world trade centers, where 3000 people died... that's 45,000 world trade centers. Isn't that sickening to think about? Even if we're only talking "Fat Man", that's 21.3 world trade centers. Or, could you imagine if the trade centers fell, in NY, and then for 21 consecutive days, we lost another 3000 people in attacks like the one on Sept. the 11th?

You know, some argue that the US was practicing State-Terrorism with these two attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because we were doing it to end the war... with a more psychological approach. Obliterate 2 entire cities, worth 199,000 lives without losing one American life in a matter of 3 days... we were forcing them to surrender. Also, we had more planned, from August 3rd and August 6th, when the first two were dropped, until late October. We were going to destroy Japan one way or another... we chose to do it the easy way though...

Side: Crime against Humanity
charlesviper(72) Disputed
2 points

Joe Cavalry's ignorant comment does actually have some factual elements to it. First off, the Japanese were not fighting a Jihad. They were Nationalistic -- much like many soldiers of the US during the Second World War. If it weren't for the massive guilt by the American people following the war, the patent-sharing at strong relations between America and Japan, there would have never been an "Economic Miracle". The post-war reparations made by the United States easily made up for the bombings -- through modern health care, the strong economy and globalization, many Japanese lives have been saved. Japan is one of the strongest economies, with a superb level of quality and a great ally of America in modern times.

Secondly, you state "They were only estimations though" then go onto talk about the number of people who "could" be killed by Tsar Bomba. Tsar Bomba has a "kill" radius of 30-40km. That means that if you were 15-20km away from the center of the explosion, you were likely to die. There's simply no where on earth that has a population of 135,000,000 living in a 40km radius. It's an awful argument to liken the two. You could kill 135,000,000 people by, say, fighting two world wars over the course of thirty years. Not by dropping one bomb. Just because Tsar Bomba was 50 megatons [originally 100 megatons], it doesn't mean it is automatically one thousand times more deadly. You couldn't even guide it to it's target! You could argue, "what if it was dropped in Manhattan"? The point of my argument on the other side of the debate is that you simply COULDN'T use such a warhead in an applicable scenario. Why do you think there was only ever one Tsar Bomba made? It's expensive, and follows the old methodology of "bigger boom = more deaths", which is now very outdated.

You also say that "199,000 lives without losing one American life", as if losing extra American lives would somehow justify it. I don't see why this is. During total war, if the American military would rather kill 200,000 Japanese through bombing than through a more costly invasion, what is stopping them? After all, you never even brought up the firebombing of Dresden, Kobe or Tokyo, numerous invasions and fronts when using conventional warfare, and other incidents, which killed many more people than the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki combined.

Over all, if you look at "loss of life" in WWII, of the 72,000,000 who died, 0.0027% were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Side: Justified in "Total War"
-9 points
1 point

Those are good points and you did give me a laugh there JC but I do not think that the infants children and women had the idea of a paradise with women falling all over them ( VIRGINS AT THAT!!! )

Side: Crime against Humanity
4 points

It is fairly well known that they were planning on surrendering before the dropping, though we should have done some kind of orchestrated test to show the world we have them.

Side: Crime against Humanity
sirius(367) Disputed
1 point

"It is fairly well known that they were planning on surrendering before the dropping"- who knew that? Did the Japanese say that after the atomic bombings were over? There is no information to confirm that statement.

"though we should have done some kind of orchestrated test to show the world we have them."- that wouldn't have done anything, they refused to surrender after the first atomic bomb we dropped on them.

Side: Justified in
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

@Lucasban Actually that is just what the Chinese government told everyone after the war. The Japanese had nothing in their mind even hinting surrender.

Side: Justified in
1 point

This is even not a valid debate, what a tragedy!

Could a nuclear attack be justified? Westerns may well find themselves a justification to cure the guilt away, that's not a valid justification, you wish it could.

Was it a crime against humanity? Yes, murder is a crime, and as Bradf0rd (which is my ally, and he will definitely back me up back if I needed) said it kick started a general approval for any other nation to do that as well, and screw the justification.

It's a bit problematic when the people that hold such options are the people that are throwing their theoretical life span at mastering the old-school of being famous, holding on to the remainders of social status and unjustified power.

Side: Crime against Humanity
1 point

It was not. It left a scar on the American reputation that will never be erased. Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, former Republican President Herbert Hoover wrote to a friend that "[t]he use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul."

Side: Crime against Humanity

I feel quite strongly that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong. I know that not everyone claims that Hiroshima was "revenge" for Pearl Harbor, but to anyone who does think so, I just don't understand that. The only think these Hiroshima victims did wrong was belong to the same country as the people who attacked Pearl Harbor. Maybe they didn't even believe that Pearl Harbor was right. (And to the people who say that bombing Japan was about ending the war, who says the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims weren't also in favor of ending the war?) They shouldn't have had to pay for other peoples' mistakes. I know that Japan did lots of horrible things during the war, but seriously, since when did two wrongs ever make a right?

And then there's Paul Tibbets, the guy who flew the plane that dropped that first bomb. The only thing he cared about was stepping up and carrying out his mission successfully so he could make the President happy; he was totally brainwashed by the idea that he was responsible for defending his country. He didn't care what happened to the civilians, because apparently, "[t]hat's their tough luck for being there." Uh, no it's not. What a terrible thing to say about people. It's like, what else were they supposed to do?

And finally, there's the matter of the effects. For one thing, it was very immoral for the US to do that because the truth is, the Japanese were the first humans to ever be hit, and they were pretty much just guinea pigs for the Manhattan Project people. Plus, I think that it was really unfair for the US to only wait three days before dropping the second bomb, because the terrible after-effects didn't really become apparent until a few weeks later, so of course the Japanese weren't that intimidated by the first bomb. Anyway, the point is that tens of thousands of people died in the first several seconds, and I believe at least some of those tens of thousands were literally vaporized, which is just...insane. The bombing of Hiroshima certainly wasn't the most deadly crime in history, but I don't know of anything else that's produced such a high concentration of instant deaths. It's just so hard to wrap one's head around.

Side: Crime against Humanity
1 point

The argument was that it was acceptable because it ended the war quickly. It wasn't as simple as that tough. Japan had several factions, some of which were willing to negotiate surrender. They wanted a condition, that they keep their emperor. The US said no, we wanted no conditions, but after the bomb we let them keep their Emperor anyway. EIsenhower and MacArthur as well as other military leaders opposed its use but Truman didn't consult them about it. The biggest issue is we deliberately dropped them on cities we knew had lots of civilians in them. That would be a war crime if our enemies did it.

Side: Crime against Humanity
0 points

It killed civilians! You just do not do that, ever. The Japanese may have bombed Pearl Harbor but hey those were all people that were in the Navy thought it was not justifiable on the Japs part to bomb us it was sure as hell not alright to kill thousands upon thousands of children that never got a chance in this world.

Side: Crime against Humanity
0 points

Launching a nuclear weapon is undoubtedly a crime against humanity. To take that amount of life is unbearable and an atrocity that should not go without punishment. Murder is a crime against humanity and with the dropping of little, boy and fat man, the abomination of murder was committed 200 000 times instantly. That is not counting the thousands that would die needlessly of radiation. However

The argument will probably go on forever regarding if it was right or wrong, but that’s much more complicated. You can argue all day on whether the act of dropping the bombs was justified or right but it was an absolute crime against humanity. Murder is number one on the list of crimes against humanity according to the international court of justice. Some may state that it was not a crime against humanity because of total war. Total war being defined as a unlimited scope in which a belligerent engages in a total mobilization of all available resources at his disposal. Whether human, industrial, agricultural, military, natural, technological, or otherwise, in order to entirely destroy or render beyond use their rival's capacity to continue resistance. Total war also states there is no difference between combatants and noncombatants. Total war has been used for centuries dating back to 431bc. Though the bomb being dropped falls under total war it makes it no less against a crime against humanity. One does not change the other. Total war helps justify it as the right thing to do but has no bearing on crimes against humanity.

People should remember this as a large part of the terror that was the war. This has been quieted due to the other problems of the war such as the extermination of the Jews. But this too could be considered a genocide as it was an act against a races military and civilian population. It was a crime against humanity.

Side: Crime against Humanity
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

It would be a crime against humanity too NOT drop the bombs. About 200,000 Japanese citizens died. If the US had invaded Japan more than 500,000 Americans would have died, and even more Japanese. How can you justify killed 1,000,000 people when you can kill 200,000?

Side: Justified in
-1 points

If you look at this from a neutral prospective then it was a crime against humanity. An American life is not worth more than a Japanese life, the matter of right or wrong makes things more complicated. Japan was in the wrong, however a people cannot be held accountable for there leader especially if they did not elect there leader. The Japanese autocracy was in the wrong, but the uneducated abused public did not deserve to be devastated for the crimes of there government. So the United states of America were morally wrong in there decision to drop the bombs, and the argument that it was to save life is flawed and in my opinion wrong. Incorrect

Side: Crime against Humanity
Houston(187) Disputed
1 point

If American and Japanese lives were equal (like they are now, maybe not then) it still saves lives. So many more Americans and Japanese would have died if we had invaded, now tell me that we shouldn't have nuked them.

Side: Justified in