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  1. #1
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    Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    "During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the Allies of World War II conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.

    Following a firebombing campaign that destroyed many Japanese cities, the Allies prepared for a costly invasion of Japan. The war in Europe ended when Nazi Germany signed its instrument of surrender on 8 May, but the Pacific War continued. Together with the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration on 26 July 1945, threatening Japan with "prompt and utter destruction". The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum, and two nuclear weapons developed by the Manhattan Project were deployed. Little Boy was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, followed by the Fat Man over Nagasaki on 9 August." - Wikipedia.

    90,000Ė166,000 killed in Hiroshima
    60,000Ė80,000 killed in Nagasaki

    Do you think these bombings were justified? Do the means ever justify the ends?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    Yes, I believe these bombings were justified. The Japanese were either going to die from warfare, the atomic bombs, or starvation, as the US had blocked all food, so the Japanese were living off very very very small rations of rice. It was a necessity to end the war and to save lives, countless more soldiers and civilians, both American and Japanese alike would have died fighting to win this war, the bombs made a smaller sacrifice in a much shorter time. Although, I don't condone how the bomb was made, I think they could of used a different kind of bomb and dropped more, as the effects of the atomic bomb are still affecting the Japanese civilians today.

  3. #3
    Enthusiast Pyro Mecha's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    This sounds like a homework assignment I've done recently... Anyways, even though it wasn't an ideal solution to the ongoing war, it was the best alternative to end it as soon as possible. In short, it avoided any American deaths from a potential invasion which would have lasted over a year and resulted in casualties up to the millions, and it was almost a guaranteed victory because America at the time owned the most powerful weapon in the world. It can also be argued it was payback for Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, and further argued that it was a ploy to intimidate the Soviet Union, which ultimately played a role in the Cold War. So yes, America was justified in using the atomic bomb.
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  4. #4
    Liberty Phish DaniŽl's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    I think you can't really give an answer like 'yes' or 'no' to such a question.
    I agree that it was probably the fastest solution to get Japan to surrender, but keep in mind it wasn't the only solution and many, many, many innocent Japanese citizens died and let's not forget all the radiation which lead to millions of deformed babies. Furthermore was the second bomb drop, in my opinion, just for American's ego, I'm fairly sure that if they waited a bit longer after Hiroshima with only a threat of dropping a second nuke, Japan would have probably surrendered too. You can't expect a country to handle so quickly, that they made a decision in 3 days, especially not with the effects and consequences of the first bomb.

  5. #5
    Mother Russia Cavolia's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    It was the first time atomic bombs were used and the effect of radiation wasn't even known yet. I'm pretty sure that if they knew about the after effects, they would have used alternative bombs.
    I don't think you can blame America for the radiation.

    The bombs were justified, just like everything is in time of war.
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  6. #6
    Liberty Phish DaniŽl's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavolia
    It was the first time atomic bombs were used and the effect of radiation wasn't even known yet. I'm pretty sure that if they knew about the after effects, they would have used alternative bombs.
    I don't think you can blame America for the radiation.

    The bombs were justified, just like everything is in time of war.
    Correction, it was the first tie atomic bombs were used in an attack. At the time, America already made over a hundred nukes and they were frequently tested. It was known by the time that there was radiation as pretty much everyone who was watching an explosion (at the time you could get tickets to watch nukes get tested) got cancer.

  7. #7
    lucien is queen Hazzystan's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    It scares me that anyone can say with a straight face that the genocide of 250,000 innocent people can be justified, under any circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro Mecha
    it was the best alternative to end it as soon as possible. In short, it avoided any American deaths from a potential invasion which would have lasted over a year and resulted in casualties up to the millions
    I don't see how you could think that civilian deaths can possibly compensate for military deaths. A war is supposed to be between opposing armies; the minute that a government starts using civilian genocide as a tool is the minute that a just fight becomes an act of murder and terror.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro Mecha
    It can also be argued it was payback for Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor
    The bombings of pearl harbour were aimed at American soldiers as a result of the US embargo on exported resources to Japan. I'm sure you can make the clear distinction between killing 2,000 soliders and killing 250,000 civilians. Besides, since when was killing the innocent a justifiable act of revenge against governments? I wouldn't see the extermination of 250,000 German civilians as just vengeance for Nazism. Civilians =/= governments.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro Mecha
    and further argued that it was a ploy to intimidate the Soviet Union, which ultimately played a role in the Cold War. So yes, America was justified in using the atomic bomb.
    Flexing your destructive muscles to another superpower doesn't justify anything, nevermind mass murder.


    And in general, as for the argument that it "saved more lives in the long run", even if this is true the morality of an action should never be based purely on weighing up life and death. If a man walked into a hospital, it wouldn't be justifiable to slaughter him and harvest his organs even if it saved the lives of 10 other patients. This is because society depends on compassion in order to be stable in the long term.
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  8. #8
    Fanatic Enthusiast Luke's Avatar


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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    I don't think it was justified at all. They had their reasons, they didn't want to share Japan with Russia, which caused distrust between the two superpowers. The killing of that many people, and the on going pain Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to go through, and still do, does in no way justify the use of atomic bombings in Japan.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    Perhaps the question should be rephrased: "If you were in Harry Truman's position, would you authorize the dropping of the atomic bombs?"

    In reality there is no moral answer to this question but if you first consider the circumstances you would almost be morally forced to conclude that the dropping of the atomic bombs would be the better option for both parties.

    To understand the dilemma properly you have to know a few things that would most likely happen had the allies invaded Japan.
    1. The Japanese were fanatically loyal to their emperor and their ancestral grounds. This coupled with an extreme amount of propaganda about the U.S. troops as sadists and lunatics would result in a clash between civilians and the allied armed forces.
    2. The war would not only cause great collateral damage to Japanese civilians but also to their remaining infrastructure.
    3. Countless American lives would be lost in a war that would perhaps last a couple of years to come.
    4. American logistics for this operation would be extremely costly.
    5. At the time huge American air fleets were already firebombing cities, most notably were the Tokyo firebombings, one example was on the 10th of March the firebombings burned around 100,000 people to death. Imagine that.

    In comparison to this costly and extremely bloody war filled with large air fleets burning civilians and infrastructure alike, you could simply drop two atomic weapons, killing thousands, but saving millions non the less.

    As Lympha said, perhaps the second atomic bomb was too much, considering the small amount of time the Japanese got to respond to the American terms of surrender. But in fairness the reasoning for the second atomic bomb went like this: "If we drop two bombs within a short period of time we could trick the Japanese into thinking that we have large quantities of atomic weaponry and cause them to surrender quickly"

    I suppose it's like a man breaking the fingers of another with a short period of time in between, forcing the victim to yield quickly.

    In the end, I think that the atomic bombings were justified and I would authorize their deployment had I been in Truman's position.

    I'll address this question to Hazzystan: Can you truthfully say that you would not authorize the dropping of the atomic weapons? And if no, why not? Considering that 'genocide' was already ensured had the US invaded and on a much, much grander scale.

    Edit: Rephrased some of the sentences to make the argument more clear.
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  10. #10
    Enthusiast Pyro Mecha's Avatar

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    Re: Atomic bombings in Japan: Were they justified?

    In response to Hazzystan:

    I don't think you are considering that WWII was a total war, meaning both military personnel and civilians were involved. The original plan in dealing with Japan was Operation Downfall. This operation was planned to capture parts of Japan and slowly move its way north. Casualties were estimated to reach a million for the Allies and much higher for Japan. Because this was a total war, the Japanese military used fear tactics to persuade civilians to fight against the US military. Both Japanese soldiers AND civilians were brutal and refused to surrender in battle (Suicide charges and kamikazes are good examples of what the Allies had to deal with). Saying that these civilians were innocent and had nothing to do with the war is completely false. America was not the only country creating an atomic bomb. Germany and Japan were both in the process of creating such weapons, and if the US hadn't created it first, it is almost guaranteed they would have used them the same way. Finally, stating that this was a genocide is quite a bold statement. A genocide is the intentional, selective extermination of a race or group perceived to be inferior. This was not the case with the atomic bomb, for America was not aiming to rid the world of Japanese. Instead, they were aiming to prove that they had the most powerful weapon in the world first and were willing to use it to end a war. A war that would have lasted years longer and resulted in millions more casualties (both military and civilian) otherwise.

    In response to Lympha:
    America only created 3 atomic bombs and only tested one before dropping the other two on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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