Resolved: It was net beneficial for the US to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - The Best Online Debate Website | DebateIsland.com - Debate Anything The Best Online Debate Website | DebateIsland.com
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Resolved: It was net beneficial for the US to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in History

Position: For
Welcome to this Debate! This debate is to be specifically accepted by @whiteflame as we have agreed to this topic. I have imposed moderate voting so that @whiteflame and I can obtain your reasons for voting. We hope that you enjoy this debate!
aarongjoecavalryagsrkmelkevolution17
A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 





Debra AI Prediction

Against
Predicted To Win
61%
Likely
39%
Unlikely

Details +


For:

55% (6 Points)


Against:

45% (5 Points)



Votes: 1


Debate Type: Traditional Debate



Voting Format: Moderate Voting

Opponent: whiteflame

Rounds: 3

Time Per Round: 48 Hours Per Round


Voting Period: 24 Hours


Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Voting


Arguments



  • Round 1 | Position: For

    A warm welcome to all viewers of this debate, and a big thanks to @whiteflame for accepting and designing this debate. Before we enter the debate, we should start with several definitions concerning the consensual wording of the heading.


    Beneficial: favorable or advantageous; resulting in good.


    Drop: let or make (something) fall vertically.


    Atomic Bomb: a bomb that derives its destructive power from the rapid release of nuclear energy by fission of heavy atomic nuclei, causing damage through heat, blast, and radioactivity.


    Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Two Japanese cities located on a Japanese port.


    Voting Purposes - Burdens


    To begin the debate, voters and I need to set some guidelines for voting purposes. Obviously, there was a loss of life, so I ask that you vote not on personal bias, but in the context of the debate, where our points will compare the net harms and beneficiaries of the action, so voting should be determinant on the strength of our arguments concerning such. As a result, there is a shared burden in this debate, I am responsible for providing justifications to the bombs and alluding the justifications to the net benefits, and Con is responsible for stating the harms of the bombings along with rationale. Both Con and I may propose an alternate system to the bombings, keeping in mind that I will only be stating how this could improve benefits, whereas Con would have to state changes beyond the harms of the atomic bombs, or propose a wartime situation without atomic bombs with similar capabilities to the atomic bombs. Both cases are mutually exclusive from the argument and seek to address benefits and harms, and how the situation could have been improved, though this is not the major plank of the argument. Both Con and I have agreed that we (minus the justifications) will be judging the issue in hindsight, and not in current day, so as to best see the harms/benefits and argue from a historical and not a modern point of view. Voters are encouraged to vote on this format and any contentions with this burden shall be addressed by whiteflame should any contention with such arise.


    Justifying the Bombings:


    Before we get into the net benefits of the bombings, I must first state how in fact the bombings are justified, as something that is unjustifiable can not therefore be beneficial to society. Nevertheless, if whiteflame decides to attack the bomb’s justifications, keep in mind that unjustifiable actions and/or events can still be beneficial, as the discovery of penicillin or political events can still be beneficial. I am looking in hindsight, therefore, justifications will be relative to the time of its dropping, and not in modern day views. As such, there are three main justifications for the droppings of the atomic bombs that directly correlate with net benefits and can be raised to such, the life loss caused by the event versus any alternative action, the actions of the government and their irresponsibility, and the nature of the World War up until the bombings.



    Justification and Beneficiary #1: Life-loss count comparatively analysed


    When analysing the loss of life, it is important to note that the severity of action regarding a life that has been lost is extreme, especially visible in the death penalty. However, for multiple deaths, it is important to know the numbers and judge the actions for such. I will admit that the killing of citizens is almost never justified, yet these numbers are comparatively lower than the other invasions that happened across the bulk of Europe during the Second World War. According to estimates given by history.stackexchange.com, “Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces.” According to the site, the Allied forces were accurately displayed, but the German forces could only be estimated off of prisoner and death counts to be about 200,000 give or take 25,000 below or above.


    How does this compare with the bombings on Japan, according to the same estimates? According to http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/cab/200708230009.html, “At no time during the period between 1943 and 1946 were facilities allotted, or time provided, for the Medical Section of the Manhattan Engineer District to prepare a comprehensive history of its activities. Regulations forbade note taking. Official records were scanty. There were few charts and photographs.” Nevertheless, the estimate given was 225,000 from both cities, though the report notes that “It is not unlikely that the estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and Nagasaki (75,000) are over conservative. With this information, early reports from countries in the 1950’s were hard pressed to find death tolls, but based on those estimates, it is safe to say that the D-Day caused more death than in any atomic bomb dropping. According to 1940’s consensuses, the population for both cities was as follows,


    Hiroshima: Before World War II, Hiroshima's population had grown to 360,000, and peaked at 419,182 in 1942.[39] Following the atomic bombing in 1945, the population dropped to 137,197.[39] By 1955, the city's population had returned to pre-war levels.[41]


    Nagasaki: On the day of the nuclear strike (August 9, 1945) the population in Nagasaki was estimated to be 263,000.


    With these estimates, Nagasaki’s death toll was harder due to the nature that the bomb was dropped when there were clouds over the city, drastically reducing visibility when dropping the bomb. As such, if we were to exclude people who left the city after the bombings and people injured, it would be safe to argue that the atomic bombs caused 100,000 fewer deaths than in the D-day invasion. Why do I use D-Day. Both attacks were over one-two day periods, therefore, the numbers over a day raid or strike would be the best representation of each other for a comparison. Thus, by numbers alone, the atomic bombs have their first net benefit, fewer deaths. While there were very few deaths in terms of military personnel in Japan at the time of bombing, the atomic bombs could at least have prevented the lives of over 100,000 individuals.


    What If? > America was not about Death


    Although uncommonly mentioned, the United States was not concerned with death, if anything, they were trying to send a message to Japan to surrender. America did not drop the bomb on Tokyo, which would have been a major population center, rather, they dropped it in an area so that in the event of a land invasion, two Japanese ports would have been leveled and easy to capture. Therefore, the attacks on Japan were strategic and justified in this regard. According to a historian during Truman’s time, “I always go back to Harry Truman: Should we drop an atomic bomb to save 100,000 lives? That's a hell of a decision to make. Did he make that decision by himself? No, he had advisers.”

    https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lee_iacocca_457004?src=t_atomic_bomb


    In conclusion to the first net benefit, the atomic bomb was designed to save lives, and its benefits ended the war faster by forcing surrender upon Japan based on the capabilities. It is critical to note that Japan would not have surrendered on account of a land invasion, and after Iwo Jima, it was clear that Japan was willing to undertake a land battle. Rather, they surrendered on account of the bombs and the worry about the capabilities of the bombs, and because the US quickly and painlessly ended the second half of World War Two, the atomic bombs can be realized as net beneficial in this regard.



    Justification and Beneficiary #2 Inaction prompts Action


    “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” Lynden B. Johnson


    One common argument that I make when concerning the net benefits of the atomic bombs is that they prompted action on the part of the Japanese where action was not present before. When I state this, I mean that Japan was in a position of defense, and although they had the capability to strike the United States, they still declared a declaration of war without any significant movements, while still posing a constant threat to America and the Allied powers. As such, they could be defined as inactive, and can be defined as,


    Inaction:  lack of action where some is expected or appropriate.


    The United States was in a position where they wanted the war to near its conclusion. Victory in Europe had already been declared, and Japan was the only Axis power with potential to hold on to power. Thus, America wanted to spare lives, time, and effort by sending in the atomic bombs to mitigate the loss of life and spark action within the government. In fact, the government can be listed as irresponsible for its people. In beliefs condoned by Japan,

    “The same cannot be said of the Special Attack Forces, more popularly known as kamikaze. Yet, even though nearly 5,000 of them blazed their way into the world's collective memory in such spectacular fashion, it is sobering to realise that the number of British airmen who gave their lives in World War Two was ten times greater. Although presented in poetic, heroic terms of young men achieving the glory of the short-lived cherry blossom, falling while the flower was still perfect, the strategy behind the kamikaze was born purely out of desperation.

    But to anyone who believes the kamikaze were mindless automatons, they have only to read some of the letters they left behind. The 23-year-old Ichizo Hayashi, wrote this to his mother, just a few days before embarking on what he knew would be his final mission, in April 1945:


    I am pleased to have the honour of having been chosen as a member of a Special Attack Force that is on its way into battle, but I cannot help crying when I think of you, Mum. When I reflect on the hopes you had for my future ... I feel so sad that I am going to die without doing anything to bring you joy.” http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Japan%20NO%20SURRENDER.htm


    The Act of Kamikaze was a result of the government and the people’s way of life. According to the same source, “Although some Japanese were taken prisoner, most fought until they were killed or committed suicide. In the last, desperate months of the war, this image was also applied to Japanese civilians. To the horror of American troops advancing on Saipan, they saw mothers clutching their babies hurling themselves over the cliffs rather than be taken prisoner.”


    Thus, it can be reasoned that Japan would not embrace the terms of surrender under normal circumstances, and the government was condemnable of inaction as a result of not immediately detailing surrender as a result of the conflict. This is the fault of the government for not caring for their citizens, and it prompted America to continue until Japan realized their fate. In the end, the case of inaction can be summed up by a TV example. Say that I rob a store and steal a TV, but you catch me on camera. Instead of doing something about it and prosecuting me, you let me go on account that I won’t rob from the store again, regardless of the damage that I caused. However, I keep coming back until you realize that the actions that I partake in are harmful to you, and so you then prosecute me on account of theft. Similarly, the US would have continued action, and Japanese inaction only prompted more action until the Japanese realised the needs of their people to live. You could argue that this supports net harm, but the bombs (1) saved lives and not (2) awoke the Japanese government to change their ideals of Bushido and understand the needs of their people, a land invasion would not have caused such an effect and would have led to the destruction of more Japanese cities. This shows currently with Japan as a close ally and not affiliated with the ideals of 1945, valuing currently ‘democracy’ and ‘peace’, whereas in a culture 60 years ago, they would value war until total annihilation. The bombs therefore became the fuse for change in Japanese culture in a way that would net benefit the people, despite the death toll that it implicitly suffered from.


    According to https://classroom.synonym.com/cultural-changes-japan-due-dropping-atomic-bomb-7516.html, “When the Allied forces, represented by General Douglas MacArthur, started the post-war occupation of Japan, which lasted until 1952, the primary aim was to ensure that Japan would never enter another war. The Allies' twin aims of demilitarization and democratization changed Japanese culture in profound ways. They also created an economic environment that enabled Japan to enter the global consumer market.” While this wasn’t directly caused by the atomic bomb, this is what was forthcoming of the atomic bombs, and without them as a cause to the war’s end in the least destructive of manners, Japan’s economy was able to undergo proper change.


    Note:


    The atomic bombs may have destroyed two cities, but were less harmful and destructive than a full on land invasion similar to that of Iwo Jima. A land invasion would have still destroyed civilian homes and caused civilian death and damage, in a way that would have been harder to rebuild and replace, so the bombs were beneficial in preventing capital harm and property damage.



    SUMMARY and Beneficiary #3: The Nature of the Second World War


    At the end of the European sector of the Second World War, many people were thankful and overjoyed at the war’s conclusion, but those nations would still have to deal with Japan. As stated earlier in the debate, Japan was not open for surrendering and resorted to kamikaze to hinder American troops and European forces. However, the Allies were closing in and Japan was worn down, but as the government took inaction, the Allies were left to make a choice regarding the lives of the Japanese. The first method would’ve involved a land invasion, which I already stated would have had the potential to harm over 400,000 people and countless citizen displacements in the area. This would have also led to Allied deaths and many nations were already commencing the rebuilding process at home to try to mitigate the damage done to their lands, especially Britain and France. America was truthfully alone in this regard, and with the recent death of FDR, America was stuck between the first option and the atomic option. One could argue that we were choosing between two harms, but that only accesses the issue from the moral point of view. That is not, however, to completely dismiss the moral point of view, for in dropping the bombs, we were able to adjust Japanese morals to redesign the government into the world power that it is today. Though the just war theory was violated, America chose positions based on strategy over civilian harm, and although civilian deaths occurred, it was moreover a wake-up call to the government. The economical positives that came out of the bombs were net beneficial in the actions that followed with General MacArthur.


    Resolve:


    The issue of death is a touchy issue, especially when trying to quantify data and use it to prove benefits and justifications. However, the actions of the US were net beneficial in the war’s conclusion and the restructure of the Japanese economy.


    In this Round, I focused on the life tolls and the justifications that led to the bomb’s net beneficiality. In the second round, I will explore alternate actions that could have provided further net benefits while heavily focusing on the economical aspect and responding to the moral aspect of the atomic bombs. Thank you for reading, and I turn the debate over to @whiteflame.


    EmeryPearson
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • Round 1 | Position: Against

    Thanks to @WilliamSchulz for inviting me to debate this topic. I honestly don't get to debate a lot of history, though I love doing it, and this is something that's particularly near and dear to me. I’ll start by adding a bit to the framework.


    When we’re talking about benefits, I will note that those benefits are to the international community in general rather than one single country. We cannot reasonably limit this debate to America’s interests, though I will address those as well, since the effect of dropping the bombs go well beyond the US. Pro’s second contention seems predicated on the notion that Japan was benefited by the dropping of the bombs, so I don’t think that he will disagree with this.


    We are playing a bit with alternate history in this debate. As Pro stated, we are not going to look back with 20-20 hindsight, but we can employ any information that was available at the time that the bombs were dropped, as well as any resultant effects. My role in this debate is to provide alternatives to this decision, and to compare the benefits and risks against those of dropping these atomic bombs. I am not required to stick to a single advocacy, but merely to show that at least one alternative would have led to a generally more net beneficial outcome.

    For that, I need to provide a bit of background.

    The point in WWII that we are talking about is past July 16, 1945. That is the date on which the Trinity Test was launched, which was the first test of a nuclear weapon, so it must precede any decision to use the atomic bomb in warfare.[1] If we take a step further, to mid-August of that year, they were in the process of losing Manchuria to the Soviets.[2] What was Japan’s situation at this point? “Japan had no allies; its navy was almost destroyed; its islands were under a naval blockade; and its cities were undergoing concentrated air attacks.”[3]. So, Japan was not in great shape. They’re losing access to the resources they desperately need to continue fighting a war that they are now fighting alone.

    Why is all this important? It comes back to the two main assumptions Pro is making:


    1. Japan was not suing for peace before the nuclear bombs were dropped.

    "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."

    — Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet [4]

    It was the explicit goal of the US to receive an unconditional surrender from Japan, which meant that the telegrams sent by Tokyo (often encrypted, but with a code they knew both the Americans and British could read) seeking anything shy of unconditional surrender were ignored.

    “His Majesty the Emperor, mindful of the fact that the present war daily brings greater evil and sacrifice upon the peoples of all the belligerent powers, desires from his heart that it may be quickly terminated. But so long as England and the United States insist upon unconditional surrender, the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the honor and existence of the Motherland.”[5]

    Numerous communications indicated a willingness to conditionally surrender, and some even left the door open for unconditional surrender, though the latter was a harder sell.[6] The condition that Japanese leadership all agreed upon was that the Japanese Emperor remain in office, though they did seek to pursue their own disarmament, dealing with war criminals, and have no occupation of their nation whatsoever after the war.[7] These latter 3 clearly stepped over a line that the US was not willing to allow, but the fact remains that there was a basis for negotiation over what would have been a conditional surrender.


    2. The chief reason Japan surrendered was because of these bombs being dropped.

    “The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”

    — Major General Curtis LeMay, XXI Bomber Command, September 1945 [8]

    “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment ... It was a mistake to ever drop it ... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.”

    — Fleet Admiral William Halsey Jr., 1946 [8]

    Pro’s argument hinges on the idea that nuclear explosions were the major deciding force for the Japanese to sue for peace. My arguments above indicate that conditional surrenders had already been offered, and that non-conditional surrenders were coming soon. However, for the moment, let’s assume that those circumstances don’t exist. Pro appears to be arguing that the nuclear weapons were a turning point; that their destructive capabilities led the Japanese to surrender out of fear for what those weapons could do to other cities. This is a crucial link to his solvency: he must show that the Japanese lost their resolve to continue fighting chiefly as a result of the nuclear weapons alone.

    That’s going to be pretty difficult for him to prove. We had already firebombed Tokyo, which killed between 80,000 and 130,000 civilians and displaced over a million, yet Pro asserts that the atomic bombs were significantly different.[9] I’ll admit that it was probably horrific to see the giant mushroom cloud and watching the survivors struggle with radiation poisoning, but in terms of numbers and sheer impact, the Firebombing of Tokyo did far more. They attacked a more crowded city, including factories necessary for producing war materials, and burnt much of it to the ground. Three cities had more square miles destroyed than Hiroshima, it was seventeenth in terms of percentage of the city that was destroyed, and it was second in terms of civilian deaths. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the tipping points in ending the war in the Pacific, why wasn’t this firebombing sufficient?

    General Anami remarked on the atomic bombings himself, saying that they were “no more menacing than the fire-bombing that Japan had endured for months.”[10] Japan’s leaders certainly didn’t seem to care. Their Foreign Minister Shidehara Kijuro made quite clear how much he was concerned for his people: “the people would gradually get used to being bombed daily. In time their unity and resolve would grow stronger.” Taking it a step further, he also said “even if hundreds of thousands of noncombatants are killed, injured, or starved, even if millions of buildings are destroyed or burned,”  that additional time was needed for diplomacy. And this someone that would have been considered a moderate in their leadership. Attitudes were similar among the Supreme Council.[10] Hell, Pro’s whole argument regarding the Kamikazes and the government’s facilitation of it indicates that they were willing to sacrifice a tremendous amount of lives to see their way to victory.

    More importantly, Pro is missing out on another key piece of information from the time. The Japanese were also trying to sue for peace with the Soviets.[11] The Soviet Union declared war on them on August 8, 1945, and when they did, the Japanese knew they had no chance of winning the war. With a Soviet invasion virtually guaranteed on their east coast, not to mention the proximate loss of Manchuria, the Japanese were already backed into a corner.

    This is crucial, mainly because we can actually determine based on the timeline of events exactly which factor (the atomic bombs or a potential Soviet attack) led to Japan’s unconditional surrender. Japan was considering two options: a diplomatic end to the war (using the USSR as a mediator), and a militaristic end. The latter would have resulted in a decisive battle between the US and Japan on Japanese soil, one which they may have been able to win. Both options were still on the table after Hiroshima was bombed on August 6th. That bombing did not diminish their military strength in any meaningful way. It wasn’t until August 8th that the Soviets declared war on Japan, and at that point, the USSR couldn’t act as a mediator. Moreover, it was clear that the Soviets would attack a completely different part of Japan than the US, which is a problem when you’ve already got your forces spread thin. It’s an even greater problem when those same Soviet forces were ready to move on Japan within days. Japan’s leadership clearly acknowledged that Soviet entry into the war would put them in a very bad spot. Meanwhile, the US threatened to nuke more cities. That threat was lacking, since only four major cities remained that could be readily hit with atomic bombs.[10]

    Essentially, Japan was put into a situation where the only choice it had was fighting against two superpowers on two different sides of the country in a war they knew they couldn’t win, or surrender. They chose the latter, and they chose to surrender to the US because they knew that a Soviet occupation was a worst-case scenario. In fact, it is commonly argued that the reason the bombs were dropped was to achieve this exact goal: bring a rapid end to the war so that Russia could be contained.[4]

    All this undercuts Pro’s whole argument. If the USSR is the one responsible for their surrender, then the atomic bombs were, at best, functionally redundant. They did not substantially alter the willingness of the Japanese to surrender.

     

    But all of this just challenges Pro's solvency. How should voters be assessing the arguments we're presenting as a whole? We’re talking net benefits, which basically means we’re talking about lives. Pro is playing a bit of a numbers game, though I think that somewhat undercuts the reality. A death of a soldier in combat should not have the same weight as the loss of a civilian life. Soldiers are trained and prepared to face the possibility of death by entering a battlefield. Civilians are separate from those battles, and should not be subject to the same looming threat of death. Yet both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were populated almost entirely by civilians, and neither were particularly strategic targets for their military.

    This is what makes his comparison to D-Day particularly flawed, as he’s talking about a military engagement whereas this debate centers on dropping two bombs on cities full of civilians. The weight of lives lost in D-Day should be significantly less because the target is entirely different. That weight should extend to the people who died after the bombings, particularly as this ignores the long term effects of radiation poisoning that the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were doomed to suffer. This included “vomiting, fever, fatigue, bleeding from the gums, thinning hair, diarrhea and, in the worst cases, death. Those that did survive had an increased risk of cancer, though there has been no evidence of abnormalities in their offspring.” [12] These numbers are more difficult to estimate, but estimates for cancer alone number in the thousands, and that does not take into account the number of people who were dramatically harmed in a non-lethal manner.[13] Moreover, if any other country had used such a weapon against the US or its allies, we would have characterized it as a war crime.[14] The idea that we should ascribe some nobility to what was, effectively, indiscriminate murder of civilians is absurd and inherently dehumanizing. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were treated as means to an end, and no matter how good that end may have been, it should never have been built on a foundation of civilian corpses.

    All of this is base harm caused by the atomic bombings. Pro must overcome these harms by showing that these two bombs a) were responsible for ending the war, b) that ending the war resulted in a positive impact that outweighed these harms, and c) that that outcome could not have been achieved with fewer losses by other means. I’ve already addressed a) and b), so now I’ll focus on c).

     

    What alternative options did the US have?

    Pro keeps on arguing that an invasion of Japan could have been far more deadly. I’ll grant him that. I’m not going to argue for an invasion, so it’s not relevant to this debate.

    However, that’s not where the options stop. I’ll provide two counterplans that would both work better than the atomic bombs did. Both counterplans function independently, meaning that Pro will have to address each and show how they are insufficient.


    1) Accept a conditional surrender

    “…[General Douglas] MacArthur's reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: ". . . the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face 'prompt and utter destruction'. MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the general's advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary."

    If, at the Potsdam Conference, the Americans had agreed with the British and allowed that the emperor be retained in his position post-war, then there would have been a basis for a peace agreement that Japan would have been under a great deal of pressure to accept. It would have looked virtually identical to the Potsdam Declaration, excepting that it would allow the emperor to retain his seat and the figurehead status that it granted him, particularly over the Shinto religion. This issue alone may have been enough to sway them.[6] Removing the related clause for unconditional surrender also would have put them in a much more willing position to accept.[15] As the above quote shows, that’s basically how the Potsdam Declaration was enforced, even if it was written with more of a hardline stance. Better writing could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.


    2)      Accept an unconditional surrender

    However, it was never outside of the realm of possibility that we could achieve an unconditional surrender by force without either the atomic bombs or a land invasion.

    “…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 because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons ... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

    — Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman, 1950 [16]

    American military leaders advised President Truman that there were other far more standard means of ensuring that Japan would surrender. They were arguing for a standard bombardment and naval blockade.[17, 18] Japan could not hold out long against this, particularly with the USSR ready to flank them. The US had a substantial aerial advantage, particularly with its aircraft carriers, which meant that even without the help of the Soviets, they were virtually guaranteed to be subdued within a brief period.

    “…it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. 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,…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.” [19]

     

    With both counterplans, I garner all my opponent’s benefits, except I improve upon them. The life-loss count is dramatically improved in my case, the US doesn’t commit a clear war crime, and we don’t jump-start the nuclear arms race that characterized much of the Cold War. Japan could have ended the war on more peaceable terms with the US and not hold a gigantic amount of enmity for bombing two cities, which would have made the transition period smoother. Whether together or apart, these counterplans offer a far more beneficial outcome than does dropping atomic bombs on these two cities. 

    With that, I hand it back to @WilliamSchulz.

    1. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-atomic-the-manhattan-project-1991237

    2. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviets-declare-war-on-japan-invade-manchuria

    3. https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/was-the-us-justified-in-dropping-atomic-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-during-the-second-world-war-you-debate/

    4. https://www.commondreams.org/views06/0806-25.htm

    5. https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/31.pdf

    6. http://fpp.co.uk/History/Churchill/Japan_surrender_attempts/MS.html

    7. https://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/world-war-ii-the-final-chapter/wwii-victory-in-japan/would-japan-have-surrendered-without-the-atomic-bombings-1.360300

    8. http://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-us-really-bombed-hiroshima/]

    9. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/firebombing-of-tokyo

    10. https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/the-bomb-didnt-beat-japan-stalin-did/

    11. http://fpp.co.uk/History/Churchill/Japan_surrender_attempts/July_1945.html

    12. https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/the-science-behind-the-bombing-of-hiroshima/

    13. http://www.stat.ucla.edu/~dinov/courses_students.dir/data.dir/AtomicBombSurvivorsData.htm

    14. http://www.peak.org/~danneng/decision/usnews.html

    15. https://www.historyandheadlines.com/july-26-1945-potsdam-declaration-japan-surrender-terms-churchill-swept-office/

    16. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/04/if-amber-rudd-wants-someone-blame-windrush-she-should-start-theresa-may

    17. http://voiceseducation.org/content/hiroshima-opposition-dropping-atomic-bomb

    18. http://nationalinterest.org/feature/hail-the-deep-strategy-submarines-10750

    19. http://www.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm#teotab

    someone234Varrack
  • Round 2 | Position: For

    Thank you for the arguments @whiteflame. In this round, I will counter Con’s key points while using his arguments to balance out my economical justifications and alternate plans. In addition, I seek to address the moral implications of the atomic bomb and the “just war theory,” namely, how its flaws can not be applied to the situation involving the dropping of the atomic bombs. Finally, I will compare @whiteflame’s alternatives with the burden proposed in Round 1 and why Con’s alternatives were not and could not have been sufficient to the historical lens we are analysing the debate through.


    Keep in mind though, as I debate the moral aspects of the atomic bomb, there is one key feature to keep in mind, namely my resolve that I posted to conclude my Round 1 Constructive.

    “The issue of death is a touchy issue, especially when trying to quantify data and use it to prove benefits and justifications. However, the actions of the US were net beneficial in the war’s conclusion and the restructure of the Japanese economy.”

    I will not be attempting to use quantified data as my only beneficiary, rather using the current Japanese situation and what became of it and the world as a result for the justifications. With this out of the way, I will now commence my Round 2 Constructive/Rebuttal.


    The Implied Burdens and the Structuring Agreements:

    At the beginning of the round, whiteflame notes that, “When we’re talking about benefits, I will note that those benefits are to the international community in general rather than one single country. We cannot reasonably limit this debate to America’s interests, though I will address those as well, since the effect of dropping the bombs go well beyond the US.”

    What does this mean in the context of the debate? For starters, I will wholeheartedly agree that the benefits are those also of the international community rather than one single country. However, as noted in my Round One Constructive, Britain and France had begun the rebuilding process of their own countries after Germany and Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies, leaving the US alone to deal with Japan. @whiteflame takes great length to show that Russia (USSR) also became involved which he argues led to Japanese surrender, (which I will later disprove), yet since we are talking about the actions of America, we have to pin the success or blame on America and nobody else. Con may certainly allude to the actions of other nations as an alternative to the bombings, but the bombings were done by America, so we are judging America and not the world in this regard, despite any influence Europe had on the war in Japan. In this way, I am given a burden by @whiteflame to prove, which I will undertake, namely that the actions of one nation, the United States, had a net international beneficiation on society, commerce, and future events, and that I must disprove that the actions of other nations had a greater impact on the eventual surrender of Japan then the atomic bombs which are held in question. Therefore, I agree to visit the effect of the bombings on world politics and lifestyle including seeing past America’s interests, keeping in mind that since America was the causation and Japan the affected, the two interests will be held in highest esteem, with the rest of the world playing a portion, but not a quintessential role in the factoring of this debate.  

    Additionally, whiteflame mentions that, “My role in this debate is to provide alternatives to this decision, and to compare the benefits and risks against those of dropping these atomic bombs.”

    As stated, Con is free to do this, while keeping in mind a few conditions stated in Round 1, that “Both cases are mutually exclusive from the argument and seek to address benefits and harms, and how the situation could have been improved, though this is not the major plank of the argument.” What does this mean in the context of the debate? Essentially, the alternatives are meant to improve the situation, either by improving the net benefits or in @whiteflame’s case, making a harmful action beneficial and necessary. The important part is the last section, namely that while the alternatives are important and should be discussed in their entirety, this should not be the tipping point for the argument, as this is a section based on hypotheticals rooted in historical time frames. Overall, the alternatives represent what Japan’s best interests could have been that would have lessened the ‘impact’ of the actions taken, and as such, hypotheticals are only to propose solutions and not to prove net harm or benefit, so while important, it is not required, though I will do my part to address the alternatives and propose my own to improve my case of the atomic bomb’s net beneficiary.


    The Root of Con’s Argument > Materialism vs. Idealism

    Frequently seen in historical debates, the classical theme of materialism vs. idealism arises, and I will leave definitions for the viewing audience. For the purposes of this Round, I find @whiteflame’s arguments to have materialistic origins, and mine to have that of idealistic origin. Why does this matter? We will both be attempting to show why one way of historical view is more representational or accurate, as Con’s arguments rely on geography, men, and resources, whereas mine focuses on the ideals of American, Japanese, and World culture. The clash of the two ideals will provide the support or retribution associated with the atomic bombs, and will be duly noted into the third Round. While the atomic bomb can fall under the category of ‘material usage for social change’, the reasons and ideals behind the material good is what matters for the purposes of this debate and will be addressed in full.

    Materialism Definition > a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress OR a doctrine that economic or social change is materially caused.

    Idealism Definition: a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason.

    (Definitions provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idealism

    The clashing ideals is especially visible in the very nature of this debate, and @whiteflame’s arguments can be summed up in his response to my two theses. If materialism (matter) can be summed up into Con’s arguments, here are some key instances where whiteflame advocates a materialistic point of view.

    “from a purely military point of view,” (Quote > Men, Resources, Geographical Location)

    “Japanese leadership” (Materialism in that the giving up of leadership gives change, not the ideals changed in the removing of a leader in place of another.)

    “The Soviet Union declared war on them on August 8, 1945, and when they did, the Japanese knew they had no chance of winning the war.” (Materialism in that the geographical location of the USSR and their increased men, resources changed the outcome of the war and not their wants, personal goals, say of ending the war.)

    Meanwhile, my viewpoints support an idealistic view of events, facilitated by a material object that pursue ideals proposed by America. If you want to look for examples of idealism in my Round 1, feel free to look for mentions of Bushido, Japanese Culture, kamikaze (more later), and values, but a quote presented by whiteflame fits nicely in to prove my point.

    “But so long as England and the United States insist upon unconditional surrender, the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the honor and existence of the Motherland.”[5] (Also, more on unconditional vs. conditional surrender later)

    The usage of honor, Motherland, and strength all represent Japanese culture and their ideals. It was because of this misshaped ideals that the US reshaped the Japanese system to better reflect democracy, which was a net benefit, namely that old ideals such as killing or honorable suicide were lessened and replaced with a system better able to teach and educate the Japanese on a culture involving freedom and liberty, and education is a key provision of idealism. With this duly noted, I will address the two planks of my argument, and armed with this knowledge, I will show where materialism fails and idealism succeeds, in that the resources and men of the USSR and America regardless were superseded by the idealism that came with the atomic bomb, and how Japanese idealism was shaken by the bomb and would not have been so under an invasion.

    Plank 1: The Push for Peace and Conditional vs. Unconditional Surrender

    Con has a partial truth in the mentioning of my first plank, which was that Japan was not suing for peace. However, hidden in my Round 1, there is a basis to the formula of peace, namely that the peace treaty, “propose a wartime situation without atomic bombs with similar capabilities to the atomic bombs.” Of the two, @whiteflame advocates for both over the usage of the atomic bomb in any instance, but the key is that only one would have had the possibility of working, and it never occured. The difference between conditional and unconditional surrender is strikingly clear, and I will define the two when moving forward in this plank.

    Definition and Opposites of Both Terms: “For a clue to the meaning of conditional, look at an opposing term: unconditional surrender, which means someone surrenders and doesn't ask for anything in return. In a conditional surrender, someone will give up only if certain things happen.”

    Now, it stands to be reasoned that perhaps Japan did want peace of some sort, no matter how convoluted it may have been in certain means of communication. However, this concession does not take away from the fact that the Japanese wanted conditional surrender and did not want unconditional surrender when unconditional surrender was mandatory. @whiteflame clearly mentions the difference between the two terms and concedes that, “The condition that Japanese leadership all agreed upon was that the Japanese Emperor remain in office, though they did seek to pursue their own disarmament, dealing with war criminals, and have no occupation of their nation whatsoever after the war.[7] These latter 3 clearly stepped over a line that the US was not willing to allow, but the fact remains that there was a basis for negotiation over what would have been a conditional surrender.”

    The downfall of Con here is that he fails to mention the conditional surrender any further, even after admitting that unconditional surrender would have been a hard sell. Regardless, this is the critical plank of the argument, in that unconditional surrender would have allowed for the restructure of the Japanese government to fit that of a democratic utopia and conditional surrender would have allowed the Japanese to retain their lifestyle, forms of punishment, and position as a world threat. I will examine each one of these proposed terms and clearly state how each one would have been net harmful in this instance. The thesis behind the plank is that anything short of unconditional surrender would have been net harmful, and the atomic bomb was net beneficial in provoking unconditional surrender.

    Pursuing Disarmament: Before I enter these counters, @whiteflame could argue that the US and other nations would oversee these changes, but it is necessary to note that Japan would have still retained autonomy in the actions of their choice, and that the world would have to watch and wait for news of Japanese upbringings. In this way, what the United States really wanted to change was Japanese idealism and not Japanese materialism, or war related surrender terms. The US (and the world) did not want another world war after the display of the second, so surrender terms were not focused on war payments (material payment) such as in the League of Nations, but with the restructuring of government to fit a democratic utopia (Idealism). This did involve the rebuilding of the country, but this is not in an of itself material, this is achieving idealism through the repairing of the necessary material means to live life appropriately and without blemish. Onto the process of pursuing disarmament, this raises the first idealistic vs. materialistic point, namely that Japan would have still retained portions of their military and firepower. Con could argue that this would be for self-defence, but this is missing the point entirely. After the second World War, there was not another war specifically regarding Europe (By death of men, so the Cold War is excluded) until the Iraq war in 2003. The Korean and Vietnam were specifically American wars with UN influence. Thus, there was no need for Japan to maintain a military, and if they were allowed to do so, they would have been trained to Japanese ideals such as honorable suicide and Bushido, all which the Americans deemed unfit for the situation, so the US denied this plank of the deal on the basis that the retaining of material wealth would lead to an improper idealistic training.

    Dealing with War Criminals: The next two should be shorter as Con and I now already have an idea of what I am judging the actions by based on the materialistic. vs. idealistic viewpoints. As such, the dealing of war criminals can be seen as equal to disarmament. When dealing with criminals, any nation will have a set of procedures and methods for trying and convicting criminals. During the war, Japan failed to uphold justice in the nature of war, so I ask Con, wouldn’t they give their soldiers a much lesser sentence for war crimes than under normal circumstances. According to four sources, “The war crimes involved the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy under Emperor Hirohito and were responsible for the deaths of millions. Historical estimates of the number of deaths ranges between 3[2] and 14[3] million civilians and prisoners of war through massacre, human experimentation, starvation, and forced labor that was either directly perpetrated or condoned by the Japanese military and government.[4][5][6][7][8] “ In this way, the Japanese acted against the just war theory that Con is keen to argue that the atomic bombs followed. Here is a concession early on and that is seen throughout history, winners never have to be accused of war crimes because they (Allies) are the victors of the conflit. Nevertheless, it stands to be reasoned that the Japanese killed citizens of other nations and of their own throughout the Second World War, so it must be assumed that (a) the just war theory only applies to the losers or (b) the just war theory applies to everyone but is frequently broken without repercussion. I think Con will more likely agree with definition B in this instance, so the major question I have for Con is, “If the atomic bomb violated the just war theory by killing citizens, how is this distinguishable from war crimes that the Japanese and Axis powers undertook? Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, but if the just war theory is not properly applied to all instances of crime, is it really a crime if inaction prompts action?” Concerning the original point, it can be argued that all nations in the war committed crimes of some degree, with some worse than others, but Japanese law would have gotten in the way of a democratic and fair trial, so this point was dropped.

    Japanese Control through Troop Maintenance: The last one is the most intriguing, because this is the clearest sign that Japan wanted control of their government by asking that American soldiers and their personnel not enter the country. However, if we did not enter their country, we would not have been able to set up the democratic system that I argued all world nations wanted at the end of the Second World War rather than forms of material payments, further supporting the materialistic vs. idealistic claims in this argument. To further note, it is now that I will briefly explain the failure of Japanese social teachings. The mentions of honorable suicide and Con’s quote concerning the ideals of the ‘Motherland’ were all seen as wrong by the United States on account that the Japanese allowed their citizens to fight soldiers in the defense of their country, most visible in acts of kamikaze and government justification. In spite of knowing their imminent loss, the Japanese government condoned kamikaze present in the letter in Round 1 detailing the fruitlessness of the action and how it was solely an act of desperation. Japanese idealism involving the killing of war prisoners, their governing style, and their Bushido code had to be changed, so while Russia and the US may have had a materialistic or geographical advantage on Japan, we did not drop the bomb to demand monetary fees, solely to restructure the government through stationed troops during the process, so the bomb was representative of European and American ideals combined as I will prove that the action forced unconditional surrender.

    Closing for Plank 1: The bomb was not a representation of death, but of ideals. There are two ways to see history, materially and ideally, of which I have proven that idealism is more accurate than materialism, and will still be brought up over the course of this argument. I then disproved the notion of conditional surrender, stating how unconditional surrender was the only option necessary to reshape Japan to model a democratic utopia and to pursue the needs of the world to prevent future war that a land invasion actions would not render the same effects based on technological warfare and the theories behind such.

    The Second Plank: Something the World Had Never Seen:

    @Whiteflame nails my argument on the head with his second plank, detailing exactly my stance on the nature of the bombings. Con states that , “Pro appears to be arguing that the nuclear weapons were a turning point; that their destructive capabilities led the Japanese to surrender out of fear for what those weapons could do to other cities. This is a crucial link to his solvency: he must show that the Japanese lost their resolve to continue fighting chiefly as a result of the nuclear weapons alone.”

    I have now adequately proven that a conditional surrender would have failed and was appropriately declined by the United States government. @whiteflame has already conceded that “unconditional surrender…  the latter was a harder sell.” Thus, unconditional surrender was the only method of ending the conflict that Britain, France, Russia, and the US would allow, and since this was declined by the Japanese government, the US could not pursue another option. As I will later prove, @whiteflame opts out of the land invasion option in terms of this debate, which is a major concession, but then argues that the possibility of a land invasion would have forced conditional surrender, which I have already disproved. However, the atomic bombs gave way for unconditional surrender over conditional surrender simply on the basis that the world had never seen it before. People were trying to formulate the atomic bomb, but Einstein was in America during the 1940’s and America was the only nation with a fully functional bomb of city-destroying capabilities, something that the world had never seen. This scared many Japanese citizens and the government, to a point where that by firepower alone, the Japanese understood the need for unconditional surrender. According to Werner Heisenberg, “The German physicists knew at least so much about the manufacture and construction of atomic bombs that it was clear to them that the manufacture of bombs in Germany could not succeed during the war. For this reason, they were spared the moral decision whether they should make an atomic bomb, and they had only worked on the uranium engine.” Therefore, the reality of an atomic bomb forced Japan from conditional to unconditional based on the fear of the possibility of destruction. Japan in 1945 did not know how many nuclear bombs America had, but did not want to engage in the face of technological disadvantage. @whiteflame tries to equivocate this with the fire bombings of Tokyo, which is something I hadn’t considered, but nonetheless was already a method of warfare, and the atomic bomb was not so. According to the Vice Chief of the Imperial Army, A message to Vice Chief of the Imperial Army General Staff Torashiro Kawabe reports: “The whole city of Hiroshima was destroyed instantly by a single bomb.” Kawabe writes in his diary that he was “shocked tremendously,” but that the Imperial Army must continue to resist.” Furthermore, the US and nations drafted the Potsdam Declaration calling for unconditional surrender that only became a reality as a result of the bombings. According to atomicheratige,org, “The Potsdam Conference was convened by the heads of the Allied governments soon after the defeat of Germany. In addition to the discussion of the administration of Germany, the governments still fighting Japan (the United States, United Kingdom, and China) wrote a declaration announcing terms of unconditional surrender for Japan. The Potsdam Declaration included provisions about disarmament, occupation, and territorial sovereignty, but did not mention the emperor. The Japanese government initially rejected the Declaration outright, but later agreed to it after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union invaded Japanese territory. Some have theorized that the declaration's final threat referenced the atomic bomb.”

    Quote and Information Rebuttal of the Second Plank: False Hope

    Through the section, I have detailed how nuclear weaponry became a changing point in the war and forced Japan to surrender unconditionally. However, the quotes from the Japanese can not be considered entirely accurate because of whom they were detailing it to, the Japanese people. In a wartime situation, it is mandatory that a nation does not lose sight of its morale, because once the morale fades, people will naturally turn on the government or other people. In this way, the quotes are actually representational of false hope messaging to the Japanese people after the nature of the bombing. It is CRITICAL here to note that the Soviet Union only declared war on Japan AFTER the first atomic bomb, even if men had been positioned earlier. According to the same site,

    August 9:

    “The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and invades Manchuria.”

    @whiteflame painstakingly argues that the Soviet Union played a greater part in the war effort than the atomic bombs, but their declaration of war only came after the atomic bombs once they realized the capabilities of the American government and the competency with the bombs. As such, if one action is the result of a previous action, the previous action must be held in higher esteem and regarded as the cause for future effects. Nonetheless, I will respond to quotes and material to rebuttal forthcoming.

    Con asks, “If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the tipping points in ending the war in the Pacific, why wasn’t this firebombing sufficient?”

    Similar to my discussion above, firebombing was a common tactic used in war and led to the destruction of many cities. However, the novelty of the atomic bomb struck fear into many citizens concerning who would be hit with the next strike, thus the fear lowered morale and turned the inactive government into one actively securing peace after the second bombing. Additionally, there were three days between the bombings, and with no mention of unconditional surrender, the US dropped another. Here is where we must stop to think. Japan would consider the option that perhaps the US only had one bomb and that was its use, but upon the second, the uncertainty of the amount of nukes the US had scared Japanese into forthcoming surrender.

    Con states “Hell, Pro’s whole argument regarding the Kamikazes and the government’s facilitation of it indicates that they were willing to sacrifice a tremendous amount of lives to see their way to victory.”

    Once more, I will bring up the nature of idealism. Empowered by an urgency to win and a mindset of honorable suicide, Japan’s morality was thrown out the window as citizens and military hindered both nations in the assault via kamikaze. This further supports the need for government restructuring, as it was the shift in Japan’s moral code that allowed them to grow in economic success in the 1950’s to a point that many of their cities were already back at pre-war levels.

    Con makes a historical inaccuracy when he states that, “More importantly, Pro is missing out on another key piece of information from the time. The Japanese were also trying to sue for peace with the Soviets.[11] The Soviet Union declared war on them on August 8, 1945, and when they did, the Japanese knew they had no chance of winning the war. With a Soviet invasion virtually guaranteed on their east coast, not to mention the proximate loss of Manchuria, the Japanese were already backed into a corner.”

    Once more, do not disregard that the invasion came AFTER the first atomic bombing on August 6, 1945, with a second following August 9th. Even if the dates between @whiteflame and I are somewhat laden with discontinuity, there is no doubt in any source that Russia attacked after the bombings, which must mean that the entirety of Con’s materialistic argument was already solved by Europe and America’s plans concerning the atomic bomb and Japan’s future.

    Con replies that, “Meanwhile, the US threatened to nuke more cities. That threat was lacking, since only four major cities remained that could be readily hit with atomic bombs.[10]”

    This may have been true, but since Japan had already lost 3 million members in the war, it can not be argued that the threat was “lacking” as it would have threatened the lives of 1/6th of all combined loss of life in the war to date. Soviet Invasion may have tactically hindered Japanese movement, but it would have in no way caused as much fear as the atomic bomb did, thus serving as stated in Round 1 as a wake-up call to the government to unconditionally surrender. The Japanese government actively were concerned with the bombs and even sent out pamphlets for what to do in the event of a nuclear bombing, which concedes that the Japanese did not know the size and scope of the atomic bomb, and were concerned with the amount that the United States contained. As such, the benefits that arose were an awakened government and a restructuring of Japanese idealism that directly benefited the citizens.

    The Justification of the D-Day comparison:

    Con notes that, “This is what makes his comparison to D-Day particularly flawed, as he’s talking about a military engagement whereas this debate centers on dropping two bombs on cities full of civilians. The weight of lives lost in D-Day should be significantly less because the target is entirely different. That weight should extend to the people who died after the bombings, particularly as this ignores the long term effects of radiation poisoning that the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were doomed to suffer. This included “vomiting, fever, fatigue, bleeding from the gums, thinning hair, diarrhea and, in the worst cases, death. Those that did survive had an increased risk of cancer, though there has been no evidence of abnormalities in their offspring.” [12]”

    To begin, I would like to thank @whiteflame for making this comparison. As mentioned in Round 1, the atomic bombs saved the lives of over 100,000 civilians and in that number, I was factoring in people who died from the blast and its lingering effects, though I did not count the people who experienced pain and did not die, I merely quantified death to provide a basic number that improves the benefits of the bombs. If I was to add on the people who experienced these pains, the number would have risen another 25,000-50,000 according to the Round 1 site, though that is still far off of the compared 100,000.

    The rationale I will now extend for using the D-Day comparison is because @whiteflame discusses the possibility of Russia invading, but the fact of the matter is that the invasion would have caused more death and civilian displacement rather than the atomic bomb. If we compared Japanese fighting Russians, the number could’ve been quite similar to the D-Day numbers, though with the losses leaning toward the Japanese more heavily. Meanwhile, the atomic bomb provided a one time destruction that frightened people and caused the end of the war. While it would be wrong to compare civilian deaths to military deaths, both types cause some harm to citizens and further through displacement, and Japan had already committed war crimes on up to 14 million military men and citizens over the course of the war. If whiteflame is going to bring up the possibility of invasion, he would have to show that the men that would die is less than the atomic bomb or provides greater net benefit, and in failing to do so, whiteflame fails the burden of the debate, namely that Con would have to “propose a wartime situation without atomic bombs with similar capabilities to the atomic bombs.”

    Conclusion before the Alternatives:

    I have accurately now proven Con’s three contentions and burdens required to achieve victory in this debate, namely “Pro must overcome these harms by showing that these two bombs a) were responsible for ending the war, b) that ending the war resulted in a positive impact that outweighed these harms, and c) that that outcome could not have been achieved with fewer losses by other means.” In proving that the bombs were responsible and that a land invasion would not have yielded the same results, furthermore causing more death. To address c, I compared conditional and unconditional surrender and showed how unconditional surrender was the only option, and how denying it caused the benefits of the atomic bombs for idealism changes in the Japanese Culture. However, here are the alternatives that Con proposes, but first…

    The Major Concession: No Land Invasion?

    Towards the end of the Round, @whiteflame drops a major concession in the relevance of land invasion, visible in “Pro keeps on arguing that an invasion of Japan could have been far more deadly. I’ll grant him that. I’m not going to argue for an invasion, so it’s not relevant to this debate.”

    This statement leads to a contradictory statement which Con seems to emphasize throughout his arguments. The plank of his argument was that the USSR and the US had an advantage, and the declaration of war on Japan from the USSR and their subsequent invasion forced the end of the war rather than the bombs. However, the statement seems contradictory in not arguing for an invasion. If Con is trying to show that the war ended by an invasion but fails to condone the act of an invasion, isn’t this a contradiction by definition? If Con does not support this, then how does neither a bombing or an invasion force a surrender? Con tries to show this by stating how Japan was choked by the geographical locations of the US and the USSR, but positions do not force losses, if anything, it would allow the Japanese to strengthen under a lack of military pressure. Give or take, @whiteflame must concede something here, though he has not specified which one.

    Alternate 1: The Conditional Surrender

    As previously mentioned, the act of a conditional surrender was wrong in the beginning as I have showed in multiple instances, but in this particular instance, the Potsdam Declaration is brought up under conditional surrender, with Con attempting to show that “Better writing could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.” However, better writing would have conceded power to the Japanese emperor, which I stated would have retained control of dynasties and ideals promoted by the Japanese in contrary of the idealism that Europe and the US were giving to the Japanese. In the short term, this may have caused fewer deaths, but it is insufficient in that speaking in the long-term, Japan would argue that their emperor would decide laws and not Americans, which would have further promoted hatred against Americans and would have had potential to lead to another war with America. As stated, the world wanted to reshape governments to prevent war, so allowing a dictator of a dynasty to retain power would have been contradictory to the wishes of the rest of the world and is therefore insufficient in this regard.

    Alternate #2: Unconditional Surrender

    In short, I would accept any terms of unconditional surrender, but this would not have occurred under @whiteflame’s circumstances. He spends the alternative discussing why Japan would have eventually surrendered based on Russia and a sea blockade, but this was not what would have caused a conditional or unconditional surrender. If anything, Japan could have still surrendered and asked for control over their people and their legislature. Con ends with, “it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.” Unconditional surrender has to be forced by direct means, and not by indirect siege, so to conclude, the atomic bombs were net beneficial because it forced unconditional surrender on the threat that more bombs would follow if the latter was not achieved. However, this was not discussed in the alternative, and there is enough vagueness in how Con is using unconditional to show that his surrender plan does not force unconditionality.

    On a note of finality, I reserve the right to add on to my arguments in the third round without repercussion in voting as constructive add-ons can be presented in the third round rebuttal. 

    Conclusion in Points that I discussed:

    • Materialism vs. Idealism and why Idealism Triumphs

    • Conditional vs. Unconditional Surrender

    • Japan’s Flawed Society and the World’s Motive for Change

    • Idealism valued by the World

    • Fear over the atomic bomb’s novelty led to unconditional surrender

    • The Russian invasion was after the atomic bomb, not before

    • Whiteflame’s concession over land invasion

    • Justifying the D-Day comparison

    • False Hope and the Misconceptions about the Just War Theory

    With this, I turn the debate over to @whiteflame.


    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • Round 2 | Position: Against

    Thanks again to @WilliamSchulz ;for an excellent argument, and let’s get into this.

    I’m going to start off this round by focusing on some of the overview issues.

     

    Burdens:

    I generally agree that the effects of the bombs on America and Japan specifically should be given more weight, so I think I’ll just accept this. So long as we regard the effects on all countries as being part of the net benefits in this debate, I’m good.

     

    The provision of alternatives:

    We are arguing the net benefits of dropping two atomic bombs, an actual event in history. To discuss those net benefits, we need to establish what would have happened absent those bombings. We cannot discuss net benefits in a vacuum because net benefits are always a comparison between two realities, one where a plan occurs and one where it does not. In this case, as we are discussing a historical event, it’s a comparison between what actually happened and what could have happened. That requires an alternate history, one that does not include the bombs dropping. Even if I didn’t come up with a clear counterplan, I would still be required to describe events that would occur in the absence of the bombings as a means of comparison, which, again, is alternate history. Yes, this does require hypotheticals, but the solvency and impact of those hypotheticals is based entirely in historical fact. And yes, this is absolutely required. We must know what a world without the bombs dropping looks like to provide a comparison of net benefits. Pro cannot win this debate without showing that dropping the bombs is better than any of my alternatives because he won’t have established that his case is net beneficial compared to available options at the time.

     

    Materialism vs. Idealism:

    Wherever Pro is going with this, it’s not helping his case. The idea that our cases are somehow siloed into materialism or idealism alone is ridiculous. Both of our cases talk about the materialistic and the idealistic. Pro’s case goes into depth on the number of dead, the possibility of an invasion, and generally links every ideal to a material end, e.g. the end of an “inactive” Japan preserves the lives and safety of its people better. Meanwhile, my case largely focuses on treating lives, particularly civilian lives, as ends and not as means to an end. That’s idealism as well, and particularly when what’s at stake is a basic respect for human life, it crosses borders. Besides, if Pro’s case was solely idealistic, he would only be hurting himself, since that would undermine his argument that the Japanese could be convinced by anything to surrender, much less the atomic bombs. Remember, these are the people who glorified honorable suicide; mass death, in any form, wouldn’t have been much of a blow to a people who prided themselves on self-inflicted death. So, much as Pro presents a lot of good reasons to alter that ideology, he’s undercutting an essential link to his own solvency in the process.

    However, this whole dynamic of materialism vs. idealism is little more than a distraction. My counterplans can achieve the goal of altering the ideals that led to Japan’s efforts in WWII, whether their justifications are materialistic or idealistic, and that’s Pro’s only impact from this argument. The means he and I choose to justify our sides of the debate does not fundamentally alter the ability of our plans to achieve goals that go beyond them. Pro pointed to MacArthur’s efforts at demilitarization and democratization post-war as the main efforts to changed Japanese culture. Hell, Pro’s whole economic argument (not that there’s much to go on – he didn’t really expand on it this round) seems based in this same quote, indicating that the atomic bombs were not responsible for altering the way Japanese society worked. Altering the ideology that pushed Japan into war with such fervor required American occupation. Granted, he’s also arguing that they only got to the point of surrendering because of the atomic bombs (more on that shortly), but so long as they surrender and allow the access that ensures these changes occurred, there is no reason to believe they cannot be achieved by other means.

     

    Now that that’s out of the way, back to my contentions.

     

    1.       Japan’s willingness to surrender

    A bit of clarification before I get into this, as Pro clearly misunderstood my first counterplan. Grant him all the arguments on the need to occupy Japan and dealing with war criminals because no part of this counterplan relies on these two being necessary. In fact, no part of this counterplan relies on disarmament, either, though I have more to say on that one. My first counterplan relies on quotes detailing the willingness of the Japanese leadership to pursue peace though far lesser means; namely, keeping the Emperor as a figurehead for the country and the Shinto religion. Pro drops all the links supporting this. He also goes out of his way to supercharge that supporting information. He argues later that we shouldn’t trust the quotes of Japanese leadership because “[i]n a wartime situation, it is mandatory that a nation not lose sight of its morale”. What could be more damaging to morale than having a leader suggest that they only require the barest of conditions to end the war? Despite having a clear incentive not to state this, Japanese leadership did anyway, which makes these statements even more trustworthy.

    Pro is also quick to dismiss my second counterplan based on a single point: that unconditional surrender would be a hard sell. Two things. One, it was a hard sell in a world where two atomic bombs were dropped as well. The Supreme Council began discussing surrender before the second bomb was dropped, three days after the Hiroshima bombing. That seems awfully slow for a country that fears having another atomic bomb dropped on them at any moment. “What kind of crisis takes three days to unfold? The hallmark of a crisis is a sense of impending disaster and the overwhelming desire to act now. How could Japan’s leaders have felt that Hiroshima touched off a crisis and yet not meet to talk about the problem for three days?”[10] Clearly, unconditional surrender wasn't their first thought. Two, just because it’s a hard sell doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ll get into this more on my defense of the Soviet threat point, but if anything was pushing them to accept an unconditional surrender, it was a desire to avoid the absolutely dire situation of being crushed between two superpowers attacking from different ends of the country.


    But let’s get into Pro’s rebuttals in more detail.

    Pro concedes that Japan did seek a peace agreement, which undercuts his argument that the only way to achieve peace was to use nuclear weapons. When Pro’s solvency argument has been that these nuclear weapons were essential for peace, that concession matters quite a bit. What he continues to argue is whether the conditions tied to such a peace agreement would solve for the issues that led Japan to build an empire.

    Two problems with this.

    First, Pro doesn’t provide any evidence stating that the leadership of Japan was “do or die” when it came to any of the conditions. I listed conditions that some of the leadership were seeking, but I noted (and Pro seems to forget) that the only condition they all agreed was necessary was keeping the Emperor in his seat as a figurehead leader of the country. That condition does nothing to affect Japan’s willingness to move back towards an empire. The US basically granted this condition and it hasn’t led to any kind of resurgence.[20]

    Second, Pro provides no evidence indicating that the Japanese would have started another empire, even given these conditions. Other countries, particularly the US, China and the USSR, would have strongly checked any future efforts to attack other countries. Japan wouldn’t have been able to keep up a strong military presence without the resources they were bringing in from Manchuria, so it would have been dependent on maintaining good relations with other countries to get the resources it needs, which those countries could easily deny if Japan became the slightest bit threatening.[21] Particularly with the growing superpowers of the USSR and the US, as well as the rise of Chinese power, Japan would be hard-pressed to even start, let alone maintain, the kind of empire it could during WWII.

    On disarmament, Pro is using 20-20 hindsight as a means for avoiding the self-defense response. He points to future conflicts, explains that Japan didn’t end up needing a military, and washes his hands of the situation. We were both very clear in the opening rounds that this type of argument is invalid in this debate, and the decisions of the time must be justified based on what was known at the time. But if we’re going to play that game, Japan currently faces a lot of issues as a result of the restrictions on its military, particularly with regards to North Korea and China.[22] Even back then, the US knew all too well that a power vacuum in that part of the Pacific would lead to trouble, particularly with the rise of the Communist Party in China and the spread of the USSR. However, removing the issue from specific examples, the Japanese have a right to self-defense as a country, and particularly if they were going to be restructured and have their war criminals tried in international courts, there is no reason to deny them the capacity to build and utilize a sizeable and capable military.

     

    2.       The effect of the bombs

    On issues like this where there is a clear action that occurred in history and it is being compared with other possible or plausible actions, the issue at play is whether the US should have taken a different action than it did. Considering that taking the action of dropping two nuclear weapons on a country was a big step (this was the first and only usage of a nuclear weapon in combat and the bombs represented a tremendous financial and military investment), I’d say it’s entirely reasonable to argue that they both could and should have taken a different action that would have required far less in terms of investment and lasting negative response. Pro doesn’t challenge my argument that dropping these bombs jump-started the nuclear arms race, so he accepts that dropping the bombs was a massive risk, and one that led to much of the direst moments in the Cold War. If the US was willing to accept that risk, then we can assume that the US could have made other, far less risky decisions, like accepting a conditional surrender.

    Diving deeper into this, Pro provides no explanation or sources stating why “unconditional surrender was the only method of ending the conflict that Britain, France, Russia, and the US would allow,” and, frankly, he’s wrong. I stated last round that Britain was open to conditional surrender. I don't know how France felt about it, though it wasn't involved in the Potsdam, so it doesn't factor into this equation. Nor does the USSR, as they were not at war with Japan at the time and did not sign onto the Potsdam Declaration (I’ll come back to this). China did sign on, but they easily could have accepted a conditional surrender. So, the question is whether the US was willing. On that front, I've shown that much of the military leadership under Truman was advocating for him to accept a conditional surrender. He chose not to, but it was hardly out of the realm of probability. Simply accepting a separate set of terms where the Emperor kept his seat could have been enough.


    Again, I feel the need to address a misunderstanding by my opponent. He argues that I’ve both supported and opposed a land invasion. Nowhere in my argument have I provided any support for a land invasion. I have argued, at great length, that the threat of an invasion by the USSR, which was extremely likely if Japan did not surrender to the US, was sufficient to ensure that Japan did surrender.


    Pro keeps sidestepping the essential question I’m posing to him, which is this: why did a nuclear explosion cause the end of the war? I’ve already shown, and Pro concedes, that previous assaults on Japanese cities resulted in larger death tolls and more damage (remember the firebombing of Tokyo). Even his argument that this appeared to be more firepower is just plain wrong. “A B-29 bomber flying from the Mariana Islands could carry — depending on the location of the target and the altitude of attack — somewhere between 16,000 and 20,000 pounds of bombs. A typical raid consisted of 500 bombers. This means that the typical conventional raid was dropping 4 to 5 kilotons of bombs on each city. (A kiloton is a thousand tons and is the standard measure of the explosive power of a nuclear weapon. The Hiroshima bomb measured 16.5 kilotons, the Nagasaki bomb 20 kilotons.) Given that many bombs spread the destruction evenly (and therefore more effectively), while a single, more powerful bomb wastes much of its power at the center of the explosion — re-bouncing the rubble, as it were — it could be argued that some of the conventional raids approached the destruction of the two atomic bombings.”[10] Pro can argue all he wants that this is more conventional, but it's still clearly more destructive, and much as Pro argues that the remaining 4 cities were still meaningful targets, he ignores the fact that this severely limits the effectiveness of nuclear weapons. Other weapons could hit a larger variety of targets and inflict more damage.

    Pro has tried a couple of separate means by which the atomic bombs could have functioned differently, but voters should note that he provides practically no support for his claims that the Japanese perceived the atomic bombs as significant enough to warrant unconditional surrender, which at the very least calls his solvency into question.

    However, I will address the individual arguments.

    Pro states that “[t]he bomb was not a representation of death, but of ideals.” This seems like an extension on the idealism argument, which doesn’t provide any meaningful support to this point. What does it mean that the bomb is a representation of ideals? Why is this bomb a representation of ideals, while all other bombs are not? This argument is absolutely non-functional without answers to these questions. If anything, the bomb represented materialism in its purest form: a weapon that only the US had the resources to make in sufficient numbers to threaten and eventually use against other nations. It was meant to do the most possible damage in one blast and leave a long-lasting impression. In that regard, it represents the same things all bombs represent: destruction. If that’s an ideal, then all bombs embody it.

    He argues that the world had never seen an atomic bomb before. His only support for this is a quote by Heisenberg about German physicists being unable to manufacture atomic bombs, which has nothing to do with Japan and its perception of nuclear technology. Remember, I’ve already shown (and Pro has conceded) that nuclear weapons were far from the most damaging experiences that Japan suffered from the US, particularly as compared with the firebombing of Tokyo. Their novelty alone is in no way linked to Japan’s decision to unconditionally surrender. Also, remember that it took the Japanese leadership three days to meet and discuss surrender, despite the staggering novelty of the bombing of Hiroshima. And that’s not particularly hard to believe because “Japan had a nuclear weapons program. Several of the military men mention the fact that it was a nuclear weapon that destroyed Hiroshima in their diaries. Gen. Anami Korechika, minster of war, even went to consult with the head of the Japanese nuclear weapons program on the night of Aug. 7. The idea that Japan’s leaders didn’t know about nuclear weapons doesn’t hold up.”[10] Even Pro’s argument that the Japanese sent out pamphlets means that they were at least somewhat prepared for a nuclear attack, even if that preparation fell short, and showing concern for the effect of those bombs on their people doesn’t equate to a willingness to surrender. If novelty was the issue, Pro simply isn’t supporting it.

    And this is why Pro’s last support for this – the timing of the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration – makes no sense. They agreed to the Declaration on August 10th, which happens to be a day after the Nagasaki bombing. That makes sense if and only if you remove the context, because signing the declaration only happens after the Supreme Council agrees. Emperor Hirohito called the Supreme Council just after midnight on August 9th, which means that meeting started before the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (in the late morning of that same day). Again, that’s three days after the Hiroshima bombing, but just one day after the USSR declared war on Japan, preparing to invade Manchuira (yes, that is when it actually happened).[23] That’s a problem, because it’s up to Pro to show that the most proximal event is a nuclear bomb. Pro does argue that the bombs were a tipping point for the Soviets as well, leading them to declare war on Japan, though he provides no support for this. If anything, it’s clear they were amassing on the borders of Manchuria well beforehand, as they invaded on three separate fronts simultaneously with over a thousand tanks, self-propelled guns, and a massive number of troops. Pro will have to do a lot to prove that this was all coordinated in the few days after the Hiroshima bombing.

    The only way that we can establish how the Japanese felt about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is through quotes, yet the quotes show that Japanese leadership was unanimously dismissive of them. Pro argues that these quotes are basically propaganda, but fails to note that none of these are public statements. Shidehara sent the latter of those two quotes to a friend of his in a letter. Even if these are all propagandizing, Pro offers no alternate means of evaluating their mindsets post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

     

    I’ll spend the rest of this round focusing on three key issues that Pro conceded, dropped or misunderstood. Much as Pro can add onto points he’s already made (so long as they don't fundamentally change), almost all these points would require new responses in the final round, which he is not allowed to provide.


    1.       Targeting Civilians

    Pro grants that “[i]t would be wrong to compare civilian deaths to military deaths”, yet he continues to do just that, comparing soldiers lost in D-Day to civilians lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His only justification for the comparison is to state that the Russians invading would have resulted in a larger number of lost lives. I’ve already granted that that would be the case.

    However, and I’ll repeat this again, my counterplans do not allow for a Russian invasion. I’ve shown (and I will expand upon this shortly) that Japan was ready and willing to accept surrender in the face of such an invasion.

    Beyond that, Pro leaves out a crucial part of this argument. I’ll repeat them here:

    “Moreover, if any other country had used such a weapon against the US or its allies, we would have characterized it as a war crime.[14] The idea that we should ascribe some nobility to what was, effectively, indiscriminate murder of civilians is absurd and inherently dehumanizing. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were treated as means to an end, and no matter how good that end may have been, it should never have been built on a foundation of civilian corpses.”

    Remember, Pro wants this debate to be chiefly focused on outcomes for the US and Japan. That means that the US owning a pair of major war crimes outweighs any war crimes the Soviets could have committed during an invasion. And, unlike an invasion, the two atomic bombs directly targeted civilians. Doing so is far more dehumanizing than any invasion. Building any peace directly on civilian lives dramatically outweighs any loss of life incurred from prolonged fighting because it devalues the lives of those that remain. No one is unaffected.

    Pro dropped these arguments. He may not respond to them in the final round. That means he’s conceding a massive negative impact that directly affects these two nations. He can’t just throw numbers at this and hope to win because their impact goes well beyond numerical comparison.


    2.       What the Soviet Threat Meant to the Japanese

    Pro barely addresses the weight of the threat of Soviet invasion on the Japanese, which is a key link to my solvency. I'm going to run through this piece by piece, showing precisely how and why the USSR was the reason for the eventual Japanese surrender.

    Pro concedes that the Japanese were actively seeking diplomacy with the USSR, which means Japan had a strong, vested interest in seeking peace with the USSR. 

    Why were they doing this? 

    The USSR was the only major power who wasn’t involved in drafting the Potsdam Declaration. It did not sign onto the document that stated that Japan must surrender unconditionally, which meant that Japan held out some hope that the USSR would allow for a conditional surrender that was more favorable to them.

    How did those circumstances change?

    Pro argues that the Soviets were induced to war with Japan by the Hiroshima bombing, yet fails to recognize that the Soviets had been building a military presence in the Far East since the defeat of Germany.[24] This means they were amassing troops for months before the first atomic bomb was dropped. Considering just how much military hardware and personnel they used, that kind of time was necessary. So, clearly, the USSR had been planning to attack for quite some time, and were stringing the Japanese diplomats along while they amassed their forces.

    Why was this a problem for Japan?

    Contrary to Pro’s argument, attacking from two sides of the same country tends to cause quite a few losses, particularly if that country is a chain of islands, which makes transporting troops a little more difficult. The Soviets were prepared to launch an invasion of Japan from the north (sorry, I said “east” last round), while the US was assaulting Japan from the south.

    How prepared was Japan to deal with this?

    “Most of Japan’s best troops had been shifted to the southern part of the home islands. Japan’s military had correctly guessed that the likely first target of an American invasion would be the southernmost island of Kyushu. The once proud Kwangtung army in Manchuria, for example, was a shell of its former self because its best units had been shifted away to defend Japan itself.”

    Such an attack by both parties would have been devastating in and of itself, but remember, the Soviets were going to be on their doorstep within two weeks.

    “When the Russians invaded Manchuria, they sliced through what had once been an elite army and many Russian units only stopped when they ran out of gas. The Soviet 16th Army — 100,000 strong — launched an invasion of the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Their orders were to mop up Japanese resistance there, and then — within 10 to 14 days — be prepared to invade Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s home islands. The Japanese force tasked with defending Hokkaido, the 5th Area Army, was under strength at two divisions and two brigades, and was in fortified positions on the east side of the island. The Soviet plan of attack called for an invasion of Hokkaido from the west.

    It didn’t take a military genius to see that, while it might be possible to fight a decisive battle against one great power invading from one direction, it would not be possible to fight off two great powers attacking from two different directions.”[10]

    So, what options were left to Japan?

    “At a single stroke, all of Japan’s options evaporated. The Soviet invasion was strategically decisive — it foreclosed both of Japan’s options [diplomacy with the USSR or fighting an entrenched battle with the Americans on Kyushu] — while the bombing of Hiroshima (which foreclosed neither) was not.

    The Soviet declaration of war also changed the calculation of how much time was left for maneuver. Japanese intelligence was predicting that U.S. forces might not invade for months. Soviet forces, on the other hand, could be in Japan proper in as little as 10 days. The Soviet invasion made a decision on ending the war extremely time sensitive.

    And Japan’s leaders had reached this conclusion some months earlier. In a meeting of the Supreme Council in June 1945, they said that Soviet entry into the war ‘would determine the fate of the Empire.’ Army Deputy Chief of Staff Kawabe said, in that same meeting, ‘The absolute maintenance of peace in our relations with the Soviet Union is imperative for the continuation of the war.’”[10]

    In other words, Japan was left with two options: absolute destruction between US and USSR forces, or surrender. Pro drops this analysis. Taken together, this means that the Japanese were guaranteed to surrender before an invasion occurred. They stood to gain absolutely nothing from such an invasion, and they stood to lose every ounce of their ideology and identity in the process. Surrender, even unconditional surrender, was a marked improvement over the alternative. The moment that the USSR declared war was also the moment that Japan guaranteed its surrender, whether conditional or unconditional.

     

    Justification for the Counterplans:

    And this brings us, at long last, to the counterplans. I’ve already examined Pro’s misapprehensions regarding both plans, though I feel it’s still worth revisiting what these counterplans actually do.

    The first counterplan is essentially just a small alteration to the Potsdam Declaration. This would have allowed the Emperor to maintain his status as figurehead for the country and the Shinto religion. This looks remarkably similar to what actually happened, despite the Potsdam Declaration’s requirement for unconditional surrender, except in this case, the Declaration would have explicitly stated this condition. Hence, the occupation of Japan by the US and the trial of war criminals would still have occurred, which means that the “dynasties and ideals promoted by the Japanese” would have still been affected. It’s possible that they wouldn’t have accepted this condition alone, in which case the US would offer the condition of maintaining a military that would be restructured during US occupation. This offers ground for negotiation without jeopardizing the post-war goals of the US and its allies while affording the Japanese the means to act in its self-defense after it was restructured. Moreover, Japan wouldn't have been nearly so desperate to mediate diplomacy through the Soviets if they saw that the US was beckoning them to the table with any promise of conditional surrender. As soon as they realized that the Soviets were stonewalling them, they may have approached the US even before the Soviets declared war on Japan, ending the war even sooner and with fewer casualties.

    The second counterplan leaves the Potsdam Declaration alone and simply continues what the US was already doing before the bombs were dropped. Japan was clearly being driven into a corner by US and USSR pressure, leaving it with two options: suffer an invasion that would destroy everything they had worked for, or accept the Potsdam Declaration and unconditionally surrender to the US. At this point, there was no option for a conditional surrender because, as Pro appears to forget, we had already forced their hand. It’s been Pro’s assertion throughout this debate that the atomic bombs acted as some direct means to force them to surrender. However, Japan was already out of options. They were already being forced by the USSR’s encroachment and by US blockades. Those were direct threats. Pro has failed to establish why these threats were insufficient reason for the Japanese to surrender.

    The quotes on these counterplans are particularly damning. Pro dropped every single one, all of which came from the military leadership of the US at the time. Each of these quotes provides evidence that the solvency of these counterplans was virtually guaranteed. By dropping them and much of my analysis, Pro is granting that solvency. Pro’s impact analysis has been entirely off-base, attacking aspects of these two counterplans that don’t exist.

     

    Conclusion:

    Pro’s arguments are simply lacking. He’s done very little to address either counterplan, both of which have clear historical support. Japan was willing to accept a surrender with only minor conditions, none of which would have affected the reorganization of their government and the resulting effects on their idealism. Even if they weren’t, the impending invasion from the USSR, which served as the most proximal and severe threat to everything Japan and its leadership held dear, was sufficient reason all by itself to force a surrender. A conditional surrender may have happened earlier, but even an unconditional surrender was certain before the first Soviet boots hit the ground in Hokkaido. Japan simply could not risk invasion and occupation by the Soviets, which ensured that the US would be the only diplomatic route to any viable future for Japan. Without a single atomic blast, peace through the US was the last option they had left against an overwhelming USSR that wanted nothing more than to expand onto Japanese shores. The needless waste of life in Hiroshima and Nagasaki stands as one of the most terrible acts the US has ever committed, raining down indiscriminate murder on generations of Japanese civilians. It never should have happened, and it taints the reputation of the US to this day. Whatever the justifications, those lives were never forfeit.

     

    With that, I hand this back to @WilliamSchulz to close out his side of the debate.

    20. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/hirohito

    21. https://www.onthisday.com/asia/japan_economic_expansion.php

    22. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/09/japans-armed-forces-the-ultimate-military-or-an-out-of-date-relic

    23. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japan-surrenders

    24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%E2%80%93Japanese_War#Background_and_buildup

    WilliamSchulz
  • Round 3 | Position: For

    Thank you @whiteflame for your well-rounded arguments and thank you for the viewer’s time to read the debate. In this round, I will focus myself with rebuttals and some additional information, though not in the form of any source related material, only ideas that can be supported with previous reasoning. I will then crystallize my side of the debate and prove how @whiteflame’s justifications and alternatives do not meet the benchmark required for the debate, through crucial dropped points and disregarded material. For all purposes, I will not make a section concerning burdens as @whiteflame has agreed to all arisen points concerning the burden and any contentions can be left to the voters. However, I would like to take a minute concerning the nature of a third round rebuttal, as I believe that there are some misconceptions on Con’s part concerning the nature of a full-on rebuttal that I believe needs to be addressed before moving forward in this argument. (Post Creation > All of the arguments should be down the line in order, so if you need to reference something, it should be equal to your point of discussion on the same matter.)

    The Nature of a Rebuttal:

    Con brings up several mentions of where I am ‘unable’ to respond to the points as it is a third round argument, and one will be listed as such, “ Much as Pro can add onto points he’s already made (so long as they don't fundamentally change), almost all these points would require new responses in the final round, which he is not allowed to provide,” to name one of these instances. However, this misses the point of a clear cut rebuttal. In the eyes of IRL debates, a good rebuttal will not bring up any additional sources, but will take appropriating lengths to bring up previous quotes and sources from this debate, and while I can not bring up completely new points, I can bring up new ideas as long as they are connected to previously mentioned points. For instance, I can not simply bring up a new point involving the nature say of Europe during the time of World War Two, yet I can bring up a string of values held by the Japanese that are connected to points involving materialism and idealism, just to give an example. If any person has contention with this, Con fails to disregard what I have stated when I mentioned in Round Two,

    “On a note of finality, I reserve the right to add on to my arguments in the third round without repercussion in voting as constructive add-ons can be presented in the third round rebuttal. “ Thus, if any point is considered new, look for instances where I will specifically connect it back with a previously mentioned statement, and if not, then you can mention it, but for current standings, I may bring up such points.

    The Alternatives Provision > This Is Overstated

    Con uses this section to persuade viewers that the provisions stated in the alternatives are crucial to the sake of this debate, but in truth, this is relatively overstated. I mentioned in Round Two that “ Overall, the alternatives represent what Japan’s best interests could have been that would have lessened the ‘impact’ of the actions taken, and as such, hypotheticals are only to propose solutions and not to prove net harm or benefit, so while important, it is not required, though I will do my part to address the alternatives and propose my own to improve my case of the atomic bomb’s net beneficiary.” This point has very clear rationale behind it, namely that the case for alternatives is NOT to prove net harm or benefit, so in this particular instance, Con can use alternatives to show an instance where the action would be beneficial and not ‘harmful’ in his instance, though his reasons for the bomb’s net harm can not be stated through the alternatives, though they can be mitigated by such. As a hypothetical, this is not crucial for proving or disproving the ‘net benefit’ as it is a hypothetical situation. Therefore, while crucial when presenting an alternate system that encapsulates the nature of points presented, it should not be regarded as supreme in this matter. Con tries to support his claims by stating, “ We must know what a world without the bombs dropping looks like to provide a comparison of net benefits.” However, the purpose of the debate is not to compare hypotheticals to discuss benefits, so even if they are rooted in historical accuracy and can be brought up, they encapsulate points already brought up concerning the ‘harms’ of the atomic bombs, so the reason I disprove the alternatives is meant to be a restatement of the issues I find in Con’s arguments. For instance, the reason I disproved Con’s alternatives was because I previously argued that unconditional surrender would have been the only means to solve the issue with Japan, and that the atomic bombs forced unconditional surrender. In conclusion, Con is overstating the purpose of the alternatives, so while necessary for the purposes of the debate, this should not be the focal point for voting purposes in this debate. The focal vote points cast in this debate should be centered around the strength of our arguments, not the possibility of a hypothetical alternate history, as that would have been already mentioned by Con in his discussions concerning the USSR’s proximity and military threat to Japan.  

    The Misconceptions about Materialism vs. Idealism

    Con is abruptly quick to disregard my points concerning the idea of materialism vs. idealism, and doing so tries to undercut the entirety of my second round falsely. The issue of materialism vs. idealism is present throughout the entire debate and disregarding it only hurts Con’s position. Con tries to argue that the bombings were a materialistic purpose designed to end the war, similar to the geographical positions of the USSR and the US. However, this is simply not the case. The purpose behind the contention is that there are multiple explanations for identical actions. One could argue that Japan would choose to surrender because the people wanted to embrace the ideals of communism that the Russians would have possibly imposed, rather than to end the war and return to an unchanged society. This would be an idealistic way of thinking, namely that the goal of the Russians was to reshape Japan to meet their standards and quotas. However, Con chooses to argue from a materialistic point of view, namely that Japan would have surrendered because of Russia’s geographical location and amount of men amassed near the Northern Border of Japan. Personally, Con and I would agree with the materialistic point of view, but also because this is the event that occured in real time. However, the US chose a different route, opting not to invade Japan in order to reshape the Japanese government regardless to create a more democratic society under General MacArthur. Although the USSR and the US were developing tensions of their own (more later), the two countries were attacking for different purposes, as Con seems to forget. The USSR was using material force to get material gain, mainly the end of the war and the elimination of Japan as a threat to their European and Asian dominance. However, the US used a material mean to an idealistic end, so when the US dropped the bomb to force unconditional surrender,  they later promoted democratic welfare programs under General MacArthur, which stabilized and rebuilt the Japanese economy to pre-war levels by 1955. Thus, the reason this argument remains valid is because the atomic bombs were quintessential to pursue idealistic outcomes, whereas Con’s land invasion would have simply led to materialistic gains based off of the USSR’s positioning. Furthermore, the USSR did not sign on to the Potsdam Declaration, as conceded by Con, so it is overly clear that the Soviets wanted little to do with the Japanese Empire and were willing to leave the matter up to the US and European backed nations. Thus, by promoting the ideals of democracy, peace, and altering Japanese social teachings to meet the idealism of America and the world, the atomic bombs functioned as a means to an end, pursuing a purpose of a beneficial outcome, and yielded net benefit in the aid provided to Japan post-war. This should be seen as a clear cut counter to Con’s “ they only got to the point of surrendering because of the atomic bombs (more on that shortly), but so long as they surrender and allow the access that ensures these changes occurred, there is no reason to believe they cannot be achieved by other means.”

    However, this is further supported in the arguments concerning conditional and unconditional surrender. Con completely drops the arguments about the failure of conditional surrendering, and uses the terms in Round Two as if they were interchangeable, in that any surrender on the part of the Japanese would be beneficial. I will discuss this in greater detail in the argument’s future, yet while the issue of materialism vs. idealism is relevant, it ties into the core of the argument that I made in Round Two condemning and exposing the flaws behind conditional surrender. In Round Two, Con made this statement, “The condition that Japanese leadership all agreed upon was that the Japanese Emperor remain in office, though they did seek to pursue their own disarmament, dealing with war criminals, and have no occupation of their nation whatsoever after the war.[7]” For each one of the three additional terms, I gave a thorough rebuttal, and my lack of indication for keeping the emperor in office was because in America’s eyes, keeping the emperor in charge of a changed society would have been easier and more efficient than trying to replace a ruler altogether, thus by keeping the bare requirement, that would have been the only valid term for conditional surrender. Any other term brought up by the Japanese was thoroughly rebutted on account of idealism vs. materialism, because the act of allowing disarmament, prosecuting criminals, and military occupation would have given autonomy to Japan to perform the actions, and under a society viewed as corrupted from America and Europe, (Con completely drops my war crimes quotation), the world did not want Japan to retain their idealistic beliefs, as prosecuting criminals would call into question honor and bravery instead of people murdered, disarmament would entail security and power, as Japan would not have disarmed their firepower to the fullest extent, and a lack of military occupation would allow for Japan to make changes without the oversight of other nations. Con tries to elude that the nations of the world would oversee Japan’s changes, but think how much Japan could hide from the eyes of America without some form of military involvement.

    As I have mentioned, the atomic bombs play into all of this, sending a beacon of America’s ideals (it’s a metaphor) for future changes in Japan. As I have previously stated, the bomb’s novelty, while perhaps causing less death than a firebombing raid, had unseen nuclear capabilities which raised fear in many individuals of Japan. I will discuss the issue of fear further, as Con hides my main thesis with quotations, but the purpose of materialism vs. idealism is to show how Russia and the US were entering and fighting Japan for different reasons, a land invasion from Russia would only end the war as Russia did not sign onto the Potsdam Treaty, though the atomic bombs paved the way for America’s values concerning economic growth for Japan. Con blatantly argues that if the point was to end the war, would it matter who achieved the outcome? The plain answer is in fact yes, because if the Soviets won the war, the Soviets would actually have a greater impact on the changes in Japan over the signed Potsdam Treaty. While I can not provide a source, I can use already debated material, and namely that Japan didn’t predict a US attack for several months, as conceded by Con, so when Soviet invasion came AFTER the bombings, the intentions were clear that the Soviets were poised to end the war and wanted to make changes under the guise of freedom. The atomic bomb’s novelty and impact factor were enough to scare the Japanese people into surrender, and if the Potsdam Treaty was signed one day after the Nagasaki bombing, then it should have been a clear indication that the atomic bombs were the representation of such. If anything, the Soviets did tactically hinder the Japanese, but considering that Con noted that they weren’t predicting a US attack, they had opportunity to put the bulk of their forces near Russia and not in other mass places to defend their country, save for defense of major cities and strongholds.

    In conclusion, there are two ways of seeing history, as ideas or as economic goods (material). These are two frequent ways of thinking, so Con can not call them ‘ridiculous’, because they encapsulate everything that makes up the world, human thought and human goods. The question is, in what situations does reasoning behind human goods yield net benefit, and when does reasoning behind human thought yield net benefit. I have adequately shown that human thought triumphs, and the atomic bomb was what forced such, namely Japan’s unconditional surrender. It is true that my argument is not purely idealistic and involves material, but couldn’t then I also say that the Soviets fought Japan because the Soviets disagreed about matters with Japan and wanted to end World War Two to secure ideals of peace and the prevention of future World Wars. Things that are materialistically argued can have idealistic points, so long as the reasoning behind the action is materialistic. In the same way, an idealistic argument can have material means, so long as the reason behind the action is idealistic. Con seems to drop this as he moves forward in his argument, so by restating and reaffirming it now, it will now be used again interspersed in the argument as I disprove the nature of the USSR’s proximity in the war.

    Conditional vs. Unconditional Surrender > Addressing the Contentions

    Con tries to dismiss my arguments concerning conditional surrender with “ Grant him all the arguments on the need to occupy Japan and dealing with war criminals because no part of this counter-plan relies on these two being necessary. In fact, no part of this counter-plan relies on disarmament, either, though I have more to say on that one. My first counter-plan relies on quotes detailing the willingness of the Japanese leadership to pursue peace though far lesser means; namely, keeping the Emperor as a figurehead for the country and the Shinto religion.” However, despite that the counter-plan would have only involved the emperor of Japan to retain power, it does not adequately state the steps that would ensue to bring change in Japan. As the viewers can see, Con is only concerned with life totals to save people and not with the future benefit of Japan, (but more later). As I have briefly conceded, keeping the emperor in power would not be beyond my position to accept, but the other terms that Japan set on the table I have duly rebutted and that the rest of the world denied at the Potsdam Conference. In real time, by allowing the empower to keep power, he functioned over a changed society where there was troop involvement, disarmament processes, and American court of laws for criminal prosecution. By dismissing all of these only in favor or keeping the emperor in power, Con may save lives, but at the expense of Japan’s future, which would have only led back into a war situation, and led to net harmfulness. Con notes in Round Two that the surrender was “Ironic because the surrender was conditional” but by forcing UNconditional surrender, the very fact that the emperor was allowed to retain power was a choice made by the world and not what was requested by Japan.

    On the note of unconditional surrender, Con states that “Pro is also quick to dismiss my second counter-plan based on a single point: that unconditional surrender would be a hard sell.” However, my opponent seems to forget that this was one of his arguments, “Unconditional surrender… the letter was a harder sell.” I was only affirming what you had already agreed to, because while Japan perhaps wanted to surrender, they had terms on the table concerning their way of life, or idealistic beliefs, that the US and the world rejected on the basis that setting up restructured governments would prevent future world wars. For the Japanese, unconditional surrender would be putting themselves at the mercy of the world, which would have seemed like a direct contradiction to Bushido beliefs concerning their honor code, but it happened anyway, so the fact that unconditional surrender would have been a hard, even impossible sell has already been agreed to by me and conceded by Con. My opponent tries to cover this up by stating, “The Supreme Council began discussing surrender before the second bomb was dropped, three days after the Hiroshima bombing. That seems awfully slow for a country that fears having another atomic bomb dropped on them at any moment.” Con forgets to look at a key portion of my argument, namely that “Therefore, the reality of an atomic bomb forced Japan from conditional to unconditional based on the fear of the possibility of destruction. Japan in 1945 did not know how many nuclear bombs America had, but did not want to engage in the face of technological disadvantage.” Technological disadvantage was a major factor in the war, and can further be applied to the land invasion. With the Soviets in the war, their technology was adequate for dealing with Germany, but Germany and Italy had already been providing to Japan, so the winners of the land invasion would have been a result of strategic planning and not advanced firepower. However, the atomic bombs were unseen and unfathomed at the time. I used the quote from Germany because some people were in development of a bomb of such capabilities, but did not have Einstein to kick things off. Thus, when the US dropped the bomb, it put Japan at a massive technological disadvantage, and as stated, this freaked out people in Japan and in the world, so in the face of technological disadvantage, Japan unconditionally surrendered. Thus, I would accept the counterplan of unconditional surrender, but it had already occured at the end of the war as a result of the bombings, whereas nothing in Con’s counterplan shows a need for unconditional surrender. Think about it, the threat of a land invasion and a lack of bombs would entail that Japan could concentrate their forces to the North and have due opportunity to combat the Soviets until more nations took action. In fact, without the US in the conflict, Japan would’ve had time to grow and economically develop to deal with Russia, so as stated, there is enough vagueness in the plan for unconditional surrender where the term unconditional is not applied thoroughly.

    20-20 Hindsight > Just to get it out of the Way

    At the start of this debate, I mentioned that “Both Con and I have agreed that we (minus the justifications) will be judging the issue in hindsight, and not in current day, so as to best see the harms/benefits and argue from a historical and not a modern point of view.” Con accuses me of an instance where I went out of key to state that Japan did not need a military on the basis that Japan has not been in future conflicts since, further detailing modern day wars from Korea to ISIS. I will concede, I went out of place, but only to an extent, as anything involving Vietnam, Korea and events leading to 1989 are fair game, considering that Con tries to show inherent risk with the bombs in that it kick-started the Cold War. For reference, the Cold War started in the 1950’s and ended in 1989, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to mention wars that Japan didn’t have to fight up until that point, or else we were both off key in instances. Either way, I apologize for the references past 1989 and I will further provide an argument against the issue of self-defence along similar lines.

    Some Rebuttals:

    The next portion of Con’s argument details several rebuttals to my stance, so because I have already discussed the peace of Japan and conditional vs. unconditional surrender, I feel that my main point is already across and I will then focus myself with rebutting key arguments from the rebuttal list.


    Issue 1: “Pro concedes that Japan did seek a peace agreement, which undercuts his argument that the only way to achieve peace was to use nuclear weapons. When Pro’s solvency argument has been that these nuclear weapons were essential for peace, that concession matters quite a bit.”


    Okay, so Con argues here that Japan was already seeking a peace agreement before the bombings, which in his eyes undercuts the needs for the bombs. Let me reiterate that Japan was seeking a conditional surrender, which the US wouldn’t allow for good reasons, and that the atomic bombs kick-started the signing of a peace treaty ‘more rapidly’ as a result of technological disadvantage. Thus, while I concede that Japan was seeking a peace agreement, no part of it detailed how far into the treaty was Japan willing to go or the process at which Japan was at. Rather, I stated that any peace agreement that was already in planning was hurried and agreed to faster as a result of the atomic bombs, thus nulligating this concession to a point.


    Issue 2: “First, Pro doesn’t provide any evidence stating that the leadership of Japan was “do or die” when it came to any of the conditions. I listed conditions that some of the leadership were seeking, but I noted (and Pro seems to forget) that the only condition they all agreed was necessary was keeping the Emperor in his seat as a figurehead leader of the country. “


    This has already been stated, but for reiteration, even if the only condition was keeping the emperor in power, it was a gift from the world to Japan. Keep in mind, unconditional surrender effectively put Japan at the mercy of the world as a result of the Potsdam Declaration, so the very basis that the emperor was allowed into power was a result of a choice made by the world and not as Con tries to put it, a necessity for the Japanese way of life. It makes logical sense, in order to prevent future conflict, either the leaders die, as with Mussolini and Hitler, or they remain in power, but over a changed economical and social society. Japan had strong Bushido codes, so allowing the leader to stay in power was a logical decision regarding the possibility of Japan attacking the world to start another World War.


    Issue 3: “ Other countries, particularly the US, China and the USSR, would have strongly checked any future efforts to attack other countries. Japan wouldn’t have been able to keep up a strong military presence without the resources they were bringing in from Manchuria, so it would have been dependent on maintaining good relations with other countries to get the resources it needs, which those countries could easily deny if Japan became the slightest bit threatening.[21]


    In the eyes of Pro, my issue is not that Japan would kickstart another empire, my issue is that Japan would grow to such an extent where they would be able to properly declare war and hold an appropriating conflict. Even if the US and China could oversee the actions of Japan, Japan would still retain autonomy and the issue is relates to the fact that Japan could have freedom to hide or misconstrue agendas in the face of the world without repercussion. To give an example, if I steal a cookie from the jar, my Mom might notice that the cookies are running out faster, but without an explanation why, I can continue my actions undeterred to a certain point where if I continue, I would be caught. Then, restart the process and continue. How does this work? Say I keep stealing cookies but then notice that there are ten cookies left. If I’m smart about it, I will not steal so that Mom doesn’t catch me, (you can easily count ten minus two and find out), then wait until Mom makes a new batch and continue. Even if Japan were to provide a report to the world, they could hide certain illegal actions within their work and escape without repercussion until the report is approved and restarted. Thus, the argument fails on autonomy and hidden factors, namely that Japan wouldn’t start another empire, but gain in power through illegal actions and would have the capabilities to hide it from the rest of the world.

    On the Note of Hindsight and Self-Defense:

    Con correctly shows my error in hindsight, which I corrected, and then goes on to make a solid point concerning the nature of self-defense, and in this matter, I wish to alter a proposal within the confines of a rebuttal which would follow my previous points and rescind any of Con’s points. Con states that, “The Japanese have a right to self-defense as a country, and particularly if they were going to be restructured and have their war criminals tried in international courts, there is no reason to deny them the capacity to build and utilize a sizable and capable military.” Here I have to agree, putting Japan at the mercy of the world in long term would not lead to a net beneficial situation, though Japan did maintain a military of minimal capacity after the war’s end. Thus, I propose that in an alternate system where net benefits could have been improved, I would state that Japan would not have the capability to pursue disarmament based on their war crimes and societal issues, rather, the US would set a maximum military capacity solely for purposes regarding self defense that couldn’t be contested by the Japanese government. Otherwise, my points about war and a Japanese military still hold until after the year  1989.

    Part 2: The Effect of the Bombs

    Issue 1: “Considering that taking the action of dropping two nuclear weapons on a country was a big step (this was the first and only usage of a nuclear weapon in combat and the bombs represented a tremendous financial and military investment), I’d say it’s entirely reasonable to argue that they both could and should have taken a different action that would have required far less in terms of investment and lasting negative response.”


    This argument doesn’t hold on the basis that Con is advocating against the bomb’s use in the face of controversy and Materialistic (yes) costs from the US. Con seems to forget that technological advantage is necessary to win a war, just as much as good planning. Look at any example of early conflicts between the British and the French, where one side won because it had pikes, horses, guns, or archery whereas the other side lacked such material. Just because it took investment does not mean that it makes it invalid for usage. I could argue that we shouldn’t have constructed the ISS on the basis that it was based on long term investments and has led to some negative responses from world nations threatening to pull men out of the ISS. However, does this make the beginning clause bad? No, the ISS has led to many discoveries about Earth’s atmosphere in ways deemed unimaginable. Thus, the investment by the US wasn’t in and of itself bad if the atomic bombs yielded some benefit, which I have proven that it has.


    Issue 2: “Pro doesn’t challenge my argument that dropping these bombs jump-started the nuclear arms race, so he accepts that dropping the bombs was a massive risk, and one that led to much of the direst moments in the Cold War. If the US was willing to accept that risk, then we can assume that the US could have made other, far less risky decisions, like accepting a conditional surrender.”


    To begin, this argument has to be listed as invalid due to the nature of the hindsight mode that we are using for this debate, meaning that Con will have to prove other than the Cold War’s risk that the US could have made less risky decisions. However, on this note, while some people could have predicted the Cold War, many presidents including Dwight D. Eisenhower could not, considering that we were far ahead of the rest of the world in this matter. In reality, the presence of nuclear weaponry in Britain and France is because during the Cold War and the presence of an Iron Curtain, we may have leaked information to our Allies about the nature of construction, so that in the event of a nuclear strike, then the two nations could be adequately prepared to retaliate. The US accepted the risk of the atomic bombs, but considering that the risk led to future economic prosperity for Japan and the world as a result, it is safe to assume that the risk produced net benefits exceeding the harm caused. In fact, in the cities that were bombed, the population rose to pre-bombing levels by 1955, a clear indication of the help the US provided to Japan as a result of the bombs.


    Issue 3: “On that front, I've shown that much of the military leadership under Truman was advocating for him to accept a conditional surrender. He chose not to, but it was hardly out of the realm of probability. Simply accepting a separate set of terms where the Emperor kept his seat could have been enough.”


    Okay, so in the second contention, Con states that conditional surrender could’ve been accepted by world leaders just by letting the emperor retain power, though I have duly shown that the other conditions would have been rendered invalid. Retaining the emperor to power ensured that the US and the world would not have to babysit Japan for the next 20 years, rather to make changes and establish a military presence so that proposed changes would turn to fruition, and then leave under the guidance of the current emperor. In this way, the hidden argument would not work, because any changes Japan’s emperor could’ve made would have been obvious to any officials in the US, USSR, and Europe. In fact, if Japan were to attempt something of that nature, it would be stealing the jar of cookies instead of an individual one, and would be immediately detectable. None of Con’s counter-plans provide for this clause, and Con fails to state Truman’s rationale for denying conditional surrender, so the decision of a president in this case must precede any ranked military official.

    On the Basis of a Land Invasion:

    Con accuses me of a misunderstanding concerning the nature of a land invasion, but his counter-plans would deny the presence of a land invasion. Con states that “I have argued, at great length, that the threat of an invasion by the USSR, which was extremely likely if Japan did not surrender to the US, was sufficient to ensure that Japan did surrender.” To clear up the misunderstanding, I am arguing that the threat of a land invasion would not be sufficient to force unconditional surrender, and a counter-plan involving unconditional surrender would require support for and of a land invasion, not the threat of one. Remember that Con quoted that Japanese officials weren’t expecting a US attack for months, so Japan could have easily dealt with Russia if it was only Russia. The presence of the US atomic bombs signaled the entry of the US into the mainland conflict, which forced unconditional surrender. In this way, the threat of an invasion is underplayed by the reality of the bomb. Additionally, the attacks from the Soviets came two to three days AFTER the atomic bombs, so if the Japanese were meeting for surrender, it was on account of the bombs. In short, Con’s counter-plan would have to advocate for a land invasion to carry out the clause for unconditional surrender, and since Con does not condone a land surrender, the unconditional surrender clause has to be rendered invalid to the debate.

    Why Did the Nuclear Bombs cause the End of the War

    Con uses the next section in an attempt to show that there were conventional methods of warfare that would have had similar capabilities to the nuclear bomb. However, Con fails to mention the purposes behind conventional warfare and the just war theory that he completely drops as an argument. To begin, I used Round Two to address this point via the method of novelty, to a point where I feel I have overstated its purpose. Therefore, I turn to the purpose of a bombing raid. Con mentions and brings up several statistic detailing the firepower held in bombing raids, yet fails to mention that most of these raids would occur by night, in that the US did not want any defense systems to shoot down the bombs. However, in doing so, visibility was significantly decreased and the purpose of the bombings was to hit a military center, not to utterly destroy a city. According to the just war theory, one nation can not harm innocent civilians, so to follow the code, the US attacked Japanese military bases in order to weaken the military. Any harm caused to the civilians was either a result of the bomb’s inaccuracy or the fact that there were so many over an even space. Nonetheless, the difference between the firebombing and Hiroshima was that the bomb was targeted at a civilian center and any military officials in the city could not have shot down the bomb. Additionally, the attack occurred in broad daylight, and the reaction was instantaneous. The bomb was dropped at a certain location, for the matter of Hiroshima, it was dropped in a bridge near the city’s port. Yet this is circumventing the point. If the goal of the just war theory is to prevent civilian death, which Con completely drops, then why is it justified and beneficial to drop the bombs? As I have presented throughout Rounds 1 and 2, civilians actively participated in the war, kids aged 15 through 18 would embark on kamikaze missions against the Allies near Iwo Jima and other islands. In truth, every civilian could be considered a member of war because they were told and armed in the event of an invasion, the Japanese government commanded it. This is also where the clause of honorable suicide comes into play for women and children who didn’t want to see their children killed or abused, as noted in Round 2. Thus, by dropping the bomb, we were killing innocent people, but they were members of war in many instances, even the children. However, Con absolutely disregards my just war clause, so I can only assume that he is okay with the bombings, though there could have been ‘more beneficial’ ways to end the war without losing life. To restate my thesis for the just war clause, “Here is a concession early on and that is seen throughout history, winners never have to be accused of war crimes because they (Allies) are the victors of the conflit. Nevertheless, it stands to be reasoned that the Japanese killed citizens of other nations and of their own throughout the Second World War, so it must be assumed that (a) the just war theory only applies to the losers or (b) the just war theory applies to everyone but is frequently broken without repercussion. I think Con will more likely agree with definition B in this instance, so the major question I have for Con is, “If the atomic bomb violated the just war theory by killing citizens, how is this distinguishable from war crimes that the Japanese and Axis powers undertook?” Keep in mind that Con will have to reject this point, but as he completely dropped this point, it would be bad form to state that it didn’t exist, though he may try to disprove it later in his arguments. In Round Two, I examined the war crimes of the Japanese as a blanket for justifying America’s actions, but I have now extended it further to classify the civilians as war personnel, so Con has a significant amount of work to disprove this thesis.

    In conclusion to this section, my opponent states, “Pro can argue all he wants that this is more conventional, but it's still clearly more destructive, and much as Pro argues that the remaining 4 cities were still meaningful targets, he ignores the fact that this severely limits the effectiveness of nuclear weapons. Other weapons could hit a larger variety of targets and inflict more damage.” Here, Con seems to advocate more damage and destruction using conventional warfare, but this was not the purpose of the bombs or any conventional warfare! The atomic bombs were dropped to force the unconditional surrender necessary to rebuild the Japanese economy and were not designed to outright kill citizens. In fact, Hiroshima was more of a show of force, since half of the population had evacuated due to the frequent bombings on the city. In other words, the four cities were meaningful targets if the Japanese still refused surrender, but the bombs weren’t designed to outright kill, they were designed to outright end the war with Japan, any death that occured would’ve been one step to achieving a greater good. Con then states that Japan did not warrant the bombs significant to unconditional surrender, but considering that they immediately convened a meeting within three days to discuss surrender and quotes from the Japanese were appalled at the bomb’s capabilities, unconditional surrender was the first clause on the table.

    More Issues > More Rebuttals:

    Issue 1 > To Answer Some Questions: I use the metaphor that the bomb was a representation of ideals, and Con proposes some solid questions that need answering listed as such, “ This seems like an extension on the idealism argument, which doesn’t provide any meaningful support to this point. What does it mean that the bomb is a representation of ideals? Why is this bomb a representation of ideals, while all other bombs are not? This argument is absolutely non-functional without answers to these questions.”


    Answer to the First Question: When I stated that the bomb was a representation of ideals, I meant it as a metaphor, namely that by dropping the atomic bombs, Japan was forced into unconditional surrender, which allowed America and the world to impose their idealisms to change Japanese culture, most notably in the nature of Bushido, honorable suicide, and dignity until death clauses. Without the bomb, America would have been hindered by Russia’s wants out of Japan at the end of the war, and despite Russia not signing the Potsdam Declaration, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Russia would want compensation from Japan for the loss of life it would’ve taken to defeat Japan.


    Answer to the Second Question: The bomb is a representation of ideals for the events that came after the dropping. Namely, the surrender of Japan authorized its use for the term of “a bomb of ideals’ because the novelty of the bomb and its capabilities were enough to change Japan after its surrender because of them.

    “In that regard, it represents the same things all bombs represent: destruction. If that’s an ideal, then all bombs embody it.” Nice one, appreciate the humor! (Just for a joke, irrelevant to the debate, we shouldn’t curse ever, if you saw what happened to Japan after the a-bomb, think about the destruction that would ensue with an f-bomb.)

    The Basis of Novelty and the Unprecedented:

    In my Round Two arguments, I made statements concerning the novelty of the bomb, which Con has taken lengths to disprove, and the first major plank is, “He argues that the world had never seen an atomic bomb before. His only support for this is a quote by Heisenberg about German physicists being unable to manufacture atomic bombs, which has nothing to do with Japan and its perception of nuclear technology. Remember, I’ve already shown (and Pro has conceded) that nuclear weapons were far from the most damaging experiences that Japan suffered from the US, particularly as compared with the firebombing of Tokyo. Their novelty alone is in no way linked to Japan’s decision to unconditionally surrender.” To reiterate, the rationale behind the German physicists is because as I will concede, nations weren’t terribly far off of constructing or harnessing the nuclear capabilities of such a bomb. Heck, the Russians had already developed a plausible shall for containing a bomb of nuclear proportions. However, only the US had Albert Einstein, so our bombs were past the prototype state and fully functional and capable, whereas the rest of the world was not so. In truth, the world had not seen an atomic bomb, so while they knew perhaps of its capabilities, they could not have predicted what would come of a location when a bomb of its magnitude was dropped. I will continue my assent on that the nuclear weapons were the most damaging experiences that Japan suffered from the US, so shouldn’t that be a basis for the unconditional surrender? If not the novelty, the technological disadvantage the Japanese had in relation to the bomb only heightened after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Con further mentions, “t it took the Japanese leadership three days to meet and discuss surrender, despite the staggering novelty of the bombing of Hiroshima. And that’s not particularly hard to believe because “Japan had a nuclear weapons program.” To begin, time has to be taken out of context, because Con does not provide the location of the ranked officials or their position at the time of bombing. Heck, some of them could’ve been close to fighting the Soviets in Northern Japan. Second, although it interests me that Japan had a nuclear weapons program, they had never been subjected or been the subject of a nuclear bomb, so the appallment at the nuclear bomb was well-founded on the basis of novelty and destructive capabilities alone. If I recall, one senior Japanese commander quoted from Round 2, “The city of Hiroshima has been leveled by one bomb.” indicating surprise or shock. Finally, Con makes a datacal error, but I did not fully explain it. Con states, “ Even Pro’s argument that the Japanese sent out pamphlets means that they were at least somewhat prepared for a nuclear attack, even if that preparation fell short, and showing concern for the effect of those bombs on their people doesn’t equate to a willingness to surrender.” I will clarify for my opponent, the pamphlets were sent out the day after the Hiroshima Strike to major Japanese cities on August the 7th, so they were not sent out pre-bombing as whiteflame suggests, but post bombing, so this is simply a matter of clarifications. In conclusion, the failure of response to the novelty of the bombing prompted a similar strike which then forced the unconditional surrender of the Japanese, and the novelty of the bomb lowered morale in Japanese citizens. This awoke the Japanese government to try to take steps to protect its citizens with pamphlets with instructions for similar nuclear cases, and kick-started the meeting that would be later used to negotiate the surrender of the Japanese Empire.

    The Timing of the Meeting and the Potsdam Declaration:

    Con uses this section to attempt to define Russia as the primary reason for the calling of the meeting, however, proximity has nothing to do with pressure or the act of war on a nation, as Con fails to detail what was exactly brought up in the meeting, though what history can amass is that Japan surrendered just one day later. Perhaps this was because of Russia, but Pro begs to differ on account of a wartime situation. Yes, the Soviets invaded Japan, but keep in mind, they did this after the bombing, so the bombing should, as I state in Round Two, be held in higher esteem. The Soviets took action on Japan knowing that they would emerge victorious as a result of the bombs. While I can not provide sources, it should be abundantly clear that the bombs were the cause, and the Soviet invasion was the effect. Con can argue that they were amassing on the border, but they just as easily could have been defending themselves against a future attack from the Japanese front. As Con mentions, Japan wanted Russia on their side, but distrust led to conflict, and fueled by the technological advance of the atomic bomb, the meeting would have most likely have dealt with the effect of the bomb on the current wartime situation, namely the arrival of the USSR. However, Con completely drops that Russia joined AFTER the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was dropped, so we have to hold the bombs in higher esteem and not confuse any events with nuance.

    The Keys to Con’s Solvency:


    1. The Targeting of Civilians

    In this section, Con perhaps makes a vague reference to my just war theory claim in Round Two, but this argument is still lacking. Con states that, “Pro grants that “[i]t would be wrong to compare civilian deaths to military deaths”, yet he continues to do just that, comparing soldiers lost in D-Day to civilians lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” As previously mentioned, we have to consider the civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima equivalent to military personnel on the basis that they had authorization from the Japanese government to perform acts of illegal warfare such as the killing of war prisoners and kamikaze. Con also drops my D-Day justifications, which means that my claim justifying D-Day as a valid comparison to a land invasion still holds in the context of the debate. While Con is adamant about Russia’s disinvolvement in his counterplans, this does not change the matter that the counterplan to achieve surrender has to have some action that causes such, and the threat of action is not the follow through of action, thus, “He would have to show that the men that would die is less than the atomic bomb or provides greater net benefit, and in failing to do so, whiteflame fails the burden of the debate, namely that Con would have to “propose a wartime situation without atomic bombs with similar capabilities to the atomic bombs.” The act of surrender has to be caused by something, and when there is no cause for surrender, namely when Con denies the possibility of a Russian invasion, then Japan is no longer under attack and can systematically build up their army during a period of restraint.

    In conclusion to the section, Con tries to address part of the just war theory without identifying it, when he states that, “Remember, Pro wants this debate to be chiefly focused on outcomes for the US and Japan. That means that the US owning a pair of major war crimes outweighs any war crimes the Soviets could have committed during an invasion. And, unlike an invasion, the two atomic bombs directly targeted civilians. Doing so is far more dehumanizing than any invasion.” However, I have already addressed it and proved that the civilians were on par with war generals and shared their same corrupted idealistic beliefs. Thus, the atomic bomb committed minimal moral harm, and the destruction sustained was not as dehumanizing as the inaccuracy of a bombing raid in the nighttime. Thus, I have not dropped the point, it had already been addressed, and Con is still left to prove why civilians are not on par with wartime soldiers and why their inhumane actions are somehow justified and net beneficial.

    2. What the Soviet Threat Meant to the Japanese


    In this section, Con offers a step by step process, so for each one, I will provide a step by step rebuttal and prove how his case leads to an invalid conclusion.


    “Pro concedes that the Japanese were actively seeking diplomacy with the USSR, which means Japan had a strong, vested interest in seeking peace with the USSR.”


    This is incorrect, seeking diplomacy is not similar to seeking peace. If anything, Japan did not want Russia to enter the war against them, so they were not seeking peace, they were seeking stability and consensual agreement. Peace would entail that they would no longer fight each other, and while Japan would’ve wanted that, they knew Russia would leave open doors for war on the side of the Allies, so Japan was seeking a peace-fire agreement, and not peace itself.


    “The USSR was the only major power who wasn’t involved in drafting the Potsdam Declaration. It did not sign onto the document that stated that Japan must surrender unconditionally, which meant that Japan held out some hope that the USSR would allow for a conditional surrender that was more favorable to them.”


    Earlier in Round Three, Con concedes that France did not sign on to the Potsdam Declaration, so this is either false or misconstrued. Additionally, achieving conditional surrender with Russia would not have automatically granted surrender to the entirety of the US and European backed nations, as if Japan were to conditionally surrender, the US would be quick to decline and still declare an act of war on the Japanese people.


    “Considering just how much military hardware and personnel they used, that kind of time was necessary. So, clearly, the USSR had been planning to attack for quite some time, and were stringing the Japanese diplomats along while they amassed their forces.”

    In this case, however, the Japanese had some form of predicting a Soviet attack. Remember, the Japanese did not expect a US invasion for months, so while they could forsee the Soviet’s strategy, they could not have predicted the shock-and-awe of the atomic bombs.


    “Contrary to Pro’s argument, attacking from two sides of the same country tends to cause quite a few losses, particularly if that country is a chain of islands, which makes transporting troops a little more difficult. The Soviets were prepared to launch an invasion of Japan from the north (sorry, I said “east” last round), while the US was assaulting Japan from the south.”


    In this instance, Con is still left to prove how a greater loss of life was more beneficial. Undoubtedly, attacking two sides of one country is strategically wise and does lead to many losses, but Con fails to detail how this would lead to the war’s end without displacing say 50% of Japan’s residents and further killing the population in major cities along the path to Tokyo.


    ““Most of Japan’s best troops had been shifted to the southern part of the home islands. Japan’s military had correctly guessed that the likely first target of an American invasion would be the southernmost island of Kyushu. The once proud Kwangtung army in Manchuria, for example, was a shell of its former self because its best units had been shifted away to defend Japan itself.”


    At best, Con can show here that a Soviet invasion was tactically to their advantage, but this in now way shows how this causes less life losses or is more net beneficial to the Japanese economy than the atomic bombs. Rather than displacing citizens, we displayed a show of force to Japan, which eliminated the need to waste Russian and American lives any further than what we had already suffered in the Pacific Theatre. By dropping the bombs, America was ending the war sooner and according to American idealism.


    ““At a single stroke, all of Japan’s options evaporated. The Soviet invasion was strategically decisive — it foreclosed both of Japan’s options [diplomacy with the USSR or fighting an entrenched battle with the Americans on Kyushu] — while the bombing of Hiroshima (which foreclosed neither) was not.”


    To sum up this section, Con painstakingly tries to argue that the Soviet invasion would have been more humane, yet this seems to show that the bombings were unjustified, but this is not the purpose of the debate. The purpose of the debate is to expose the net harms and benefits of the bombings, and as I stated at the top of Round One, even if events were somehow unjustified, “They can still be net beneficial.” In short, Con is attacking the wrong aspect of the bombs, even I could agree that the first bombing was not as justified as the second one, but that does not exclude from the basis that the atomic bombs provided net benefit in ending the war, forcing unconditional surrender, which in turn led to the complete restructuring of Japanese idealism and their economy, which already succeeded in its efforts by the year 1955. While the Soviets tactically hindered Japanese operations, it in no way forced surrender, only starved the Japanese of resources and men, whereas the atomic bombs took care of the situation in less than a total span of four days. By a matter of efficiency, the bombs were beneficial in this regard, and if Con wants to expose the net harms of the bombs, he is going to have to do more than indirectly label it as unjustified.

    Counter-plan Counters:

    In this debate, I have examined the pitfalls with Con’s alternatives, which he claims to be essential to his portion of the debate, but is vague at its heart. Thus, I shall examine the two counterpoints one final time and conclude this debate for the Affirmative.

    I have extensively argued against the notion of a conditional surrender, but to fully address the failures of the alternate system, viewers need to see the actual effects in real time. According to many sources brought up by @whiteflame and I during the course of this debate, the US was extremely adamant about only having unconditional surrender on the table, and although this is a hypothetical, it has to be rooted according to Con “in historical accuracy.” Historically, the US would have never agreed to a conditional surrender regardless (save the rule of the current emperor) of any offers the Japanese put on the table. In order to maintain American idealism, Con tries to show that America could have taken charge in demilitarizing, prosecuting war criminals, and obtaining a military presence, but under a conditional surrender, Japan would have had the autonomy to renegotiate terms with the United States concerning the world’s actions, and at the end of a bloody World War, no nation wanted strings attached with the net benefit of reshaping the world to its modern day form. Undoubtedly, a conditional surrender would have saved more lives, but it was not in the interests of the world to accept such terms, especially since the US and the USSR clearly had an upper hand and were dominating in the appeal of surrender terms, so if the US dropped out the conditional surrender clause, than the entire possibility drops as a result. Con fails to address this regard, and Pro maintains that conditional surrender would have never solved the issue in the slightest.

    Instead of addressing the nature of unconditional surrender, as Con seems to assert and I have already agreed to under direct and forseeable terms, I will instead focus on the key to Con’s argument for the justifications behind the unconditional surrender, “It’s been Pro’s assertion throughout this debate that the atomic bombs acted as some direct means to force them to surrender. However, Japan was already out of options.” The option still holds, and the Affirmative case will finally state that the atomic bombs were the nail in the coffin, demolishing the hope that Japan would hold out, even the one nation of Germany destroyed the three nations of Belgium, Britain, and France during the early portions of the World War, so it is not unreasonable to apply the same mindset to Japan. In the actions of dropping the atomic bombs, not only was Japan short on numbers, they had been shown in a show of force that they were at a technological disadvantage. Con states that Japan could have signed on earlier and avoided the actions entirely, but hope is what kept Japan moving, and as noted in Round One, “I am pleased to have the honour of having been chosen as a member of a Special Attack Force that is on its way into battle, but I cannot help crying when I think of you, Mum. When I reflect on the hopes you had for my future ... I feel so sad that I am going to die without doing anything to bring you joy.”

    In conclusion, Con’s counter-plans have not solved for anything and do not mitigate the ‘harms’ caused by the atomic bombs, presenting cases that are not rooted in historical accuracy or which would have had the capacity to function without some form of action. Con’s arguments are centered in vagueness, and rely on supposed threats and fake diplomacy on the part of Russia to uphold his points, without actually attacking the harms of the bombs besides the civilians clause, which I have thoroughly rebutted. Meanwhile, I have set up a case showing how Japan could not have prepared for the bombs, leaving the nation at a technological disadvantage, which forced the notion of unconditional surrender, which further pursued the ideas of American idealism, which restructured the Japanese economy in such a way where it was stabilized by 1955. In this way, the atomic bombs are net beneficial due to this brief recap and the basis that neither of Con’s counterplans propose situations that could have yielded the same effects as the atomic bombs, not in deaths, but in the actions that followed, neither which has been adequately discussed by Con.

    With this, the Affirmative side rests the case. I would like to thank @whiteflame for this debate and the time he took in formulating his amazing arguments. I hope that the viewers and anyone who is viewing enjoyed and found something meaningful in this debate, and with that, I turn the debate over to Con to wrap up his portion of the debate.


    someone234
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • Round 3 | Position: Against

    One last time, thanks to @WilliamSchulz for his extensive and thorough arguments.

     

    My goal in this final round will be to simplify things. I’m going to take a big step back from the individual arguments, and address three key questions that define this debate.

     

    I. How did the Japanese perceive the threats of nuclear bombs as compared with the threat of Soviet invasion?

    This question underpins the vast majority of this debate, though to be clear, it’s not just a single question. We’re not just interested in how the Japanese perceived these acts of aggression. We’re interested in how they responded to those actions. So, I’ll break the response down to perception and response.

     

    1. Perception:

    Pro doesn’t seem to understand why the USSR didn’t participate in the Potsdam Declaration because it’s rather important: at the time, they were not at war with Japan (it’s the same reason France didn’t – they simply weren’t a part of the conference). They could not participate. Then, after it was clarified that the other powers were seeking a path to peace, and after the Japanese had petitioned them for a diplomatic solution that would keep the USSR from attacking them (as well as mediate peace with the US and Britain), the USSR committed to war. They did it so that they could conquer as much of Japan as they could as fast as they could – remember that part where they kept moving until they ran out of gas? The Soviets had absolutely no interest in diplomacy. They wanted to expand their borders and punish the Japanese. That’s all they wanted.

    And the Japanese knew that. I’ve presented multiple quotes that show that the Japanese knew that their empire would end the day that the USSR joined the war against them. Whether it was private or public communications, the leadership of Japan was distraught at the idea of the USSR joining the conflict. They lost their gung-ho attitude, seeing the writing on the wall as their empire was falling apart. They weren’t just afraid of the potential loss of life, but rather the loss of their capacity to function as an independent nation. Pro challenges absolutely none of this, conceding that Japanese perception of the Soviet invasion was dire.

     

    So, let’s look at the atomic bombs. Pro concedes that they did far less damage than other bombing runs, instead focusing on three aspects of the bomb that differentiated it from other tactics. I’ll address each in turn.

    The bomb as an ideal: Pro does spend some time clarifying what he means by this, though it ends up making even less sense. If the bombs are the embodiment of American idealism seeking to alter Japan’s idealism, wouldn’t wiping out two cities function pretty awfully as a message about respecting your people’s lives. And Pro’s responses to my questions don’t help him much, either. Is the idea that somehow the bombs embodied the positive reforms of the Potsdam Declation? I doubt that, and if the goal was to contrast US demands with the USSR’s, we weren’t making a great case for our benevolence. If the bomb symbolized anything meaningful, it was “accept this, or we’ll kill you.” Hardly seems emblematic of any greater ideal.

    Novelty: Pro loves this one. He uses it to justify the idealism of the bomb, and expands on it this round, talking about its usage during the day and the instantaneous reaction. So many reasons to dismiss this. First, Pro does a lovely job reminding us that it took three days for Japanese leadership to meet and discuss surrender. THREE DAYS. This was a staggeringly novel bomb capable of such tremendous destruction, and it still took them three days to show any signs that they cared enough about it to do something. That doesn’t sound like a terror response. Second, Pro drops that Japan had a nuclear weapons program, meaning that they had a very good idea of the scope and severity of damage that can come from a nuclear weapon. Pro cites German engineers, but Japan clearly knew what they were dealing with and were expecting the attack to come. Third, if it was so novel, Pro should have a plethora of quotes from Japanese leadership sending private messages indicating their terror. Pro presents none. He provides not a single indication that the Japanese were even in awe of the weapon, much less that they were on their knees after it fell.

    Even Pro doesn’t seem particularly convinced by this explanation. He argues that “the failure of response to the novelty of the bombing prompted a similar strike which then forced the unconditional surrender of the Japanese”, yet this argument undermines his whole point. If novelty were the key factor, why would the second bombing be the one that led them to surrender? Moreover, if the second bomb was the cause of their surrender, then why did the meeting to discuss surrender take place before Nagasaki? Pro is leaning heavily on his timeframe arguments, yet all of them suggest that the thought process of Japanese leadership did not match his assertions.

    Technological advantage: The idea that the bombs conferred some distinct advantages may sound obvious, but it is not. Despite Pro’s arguments to the contrary, he concedes that the bombs had a very limited range of effectiveness. Only 6 cities in Japan could theoretically be bombed, which means the US was already exhausting its options with nuclear weapons. Japan knew that nuclear weapons alone wouldn’t conquer them, that the US would have to land troops, and was clearly prepared to handle a US invasion. If technological superiority was all the US needed to win the war, why wasn’t their complete air and naval superiority by this point sufficient to push the Japanese into backing down? I suppose this is the point that Pro would say “novelty,” though I’ve already checked back that point. A technological advantage is only as good as its application, and the atomic bombs had a severely limited range of application. The Japanese knew this, and they knew that they were already outclassed by US ships and aircraft. The atomic bombs did not move the needle for them.

     

    And that last bit is the real nail in the coffin for Pro’s argument. If the atomic bombs were the chief reason for Japan’s surrender, then there must have been dozens of quotes from meetings about surrender indicating just how terrified they were of another nuclear assault. Whether private or public, Japanese leaders should have been talking about this ad nauseum. Pro should have been able to fill pages and pages with quotes from Japanese leadership relenting before a storm of atomic weapons, pleading with the Americans to stay their nuclear arms. Yet he presents no quotes. Not one. Meanwhile, I’ve presented several quotes by top Japanese generals and other leaders clarifying that they felt no additional fear because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They seemed just as ready to commit to Bushido and honorable suicide as ever, and that was just after the first bomb dropped. Yet, Pro asserts that they suddenly had a bout of fear three days later. Is the fear response somehow delayed? If “human thought triumphs,” as Pro puts it, then why aren’t we seeing any examples of that thought displayed by Japanese leadership?

    Pro’s arguments, particularly regarding the fear of the Japanese directed towards the bomb, are all based on assertion and expectation. Is a nuclear explosion objectively terrifying? Sure, but so is being in the middle of a massive war where the other side is bombarding your coast every day. The Japanese weren’t afraid of losing more lives. A substantial portion of Pro’s argument has included the bold statement that they were going to push every single man, woman and child to give their lives for their country, they had already sacrificed millions of lives, yet somehow, it’s a bigger bomb made them rethink it? That seems awfully suspect. If a country is willing to put every single life at risk, why care about the form their deaths take?

     

    2. Response:

    When it comes to how Japan responded to the threat of invasion from the USSR, we must consider what led up to it. Pro is right: they did not participate in the Potsdam Conference. They weren’t part of any diplomatic talks at all. Over the last two rounds, I’ve shown that they were actively stringing along a delegation from Japan before they declared war against them, meaning they had no intention (before or after that declaration) to engage with Japan diplomatically. Japan knew this. They knew that there was no chance of taking any kind of diplomatic route with them. Japan also knew that the USSR’s declaration of war spelled the end of their empire and meant that the war would end poorly for them.

    This left them with two options.

    First, they could have continued to fight. Pro does argue that the US would have attacked later, saying that Japan could have simply changed the location of their defense to respond to the Soviets. A few problems with this. First, the US was attacking Japan for quite a while by this point. They were using naval bombardments and air superiority to control Japanese forces, which meant those same forces had to entrench. That leads to the second problem: those forces couldn’t move easily, particularly not in 10 days. Remember, they need to island hop to transfer forces up north. That would have left them vulnerable to massive losses from US attacks. The Japanese simply could not risk that. Third, the fight with the USSR would not have ended in a few months. Remember, the Japanese were on the defensive. They just lost Manchuria and were dramatically lacking for resources. War with the USSR would have drained their defensive resources and ensured that, if the US actually proceeded with the invasion in the months following, the Japanese would have been in dramatically worse shape.

    So, this means that an imminent Soviet invasion would have resulted in Japanese defeat. That meant the loss of everything they held dear, since the USSR would kill most of their population and they would have cared little for Japanese ideologies or independence. Japan would have been under the Iron Curtain, starved and decimated by the Soviet empire.

    Second, they could have taken a peace deal from the Americans. This would have ensured an American occupation, but with clear terms. The Americans would eventually leave them to function independently, and though their ideologies would be changed, they would still be Japanese. They would not simply be a vassal state of another country, and they could rebuild as a sovereign nation.

    They chose the latter, and it’s not hard to see why. Japanese leadership may have been willing to sacrifice a lot, but they could see the writing on the wall. They knew what a Soviet invasion meant, and that it was completely unacceptable to allow it to happen. They would accept any other alternative, even unconditional surrender to the US. Thus, and I need to emphasize this, A SOVIET INVASION NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. That conclusion was never a real option for the Japanese, hence the rapid response (remember, they met to discuss surrender just one day after the Soviets declared war, which represented a much less immediate threat than the bombs that took three days to see any response) To them, it was both materialistically and ideologically the worst possible outcome, far worse than surrender to the US.

     

    Meanwhile, Pro argues that the atomic bombs led to surrender, though he does so from a detached perspective. He still doesn’t reference any quotes from the Japanese indicating a willingness to surrender upon seeing the atomic bombs. The idea that they “signaled the entry of the US into the mainland conflict” is absurd – these are bombs dropped from airplanes, not boots on the ground, and certainly nothing akin to an invading force. They were bombarding Japanese shores for months, yet Pro argues that this was somehow the start of the US directly attacking Japan.

    Nothing, not one part of Pro’s argument, has shown that Japan perceived an increased threat from the US after the atomic bombs were dropped. They knew that these bombs were a finite resource and that the US could only use them a finite number of times. They knew that their military installations were safe, that they could continue to supply them without fail, and that no amount of nuclear bombing would ever change that. The atomic bombs did not and could not challenge the mentality of self-sacrifice that pervaded Japanese society at the time. At best, Pro has shown why he would have surrendered if he were in the Japanese leadership at the time. He wasn’t, and he can’t assume that Japanese leadership would have had the same response that he would have.

     

    II. Can the harms inherent to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki be outweighed?

    Whether the US knew it or not (and I find it hard to believe they knew nothing about Soviet, German and Japanese plans to build a bomb), dropping the atomic bomb kick-started a nuclear arms race, and it’s not hard to see why. Even if the Japanese didn’t flinch in the face of its usage, a nuclear bomb is a spectacle, and it is very destructive. Nations cared about having it, and by using it, the US made clear exactly what the appeal was. This argument isn’t made invalid by the issue of hindsight – the US, at the time the bombs were dropped, could easily have known that dropping the atomic bomb would broadcast to other countries just how important having one was. And it has since led to a number of major nuclear scares, particularly through the Cold War. Would the US necessarily have predicted all those scares? Maybe not, but they could have predicted an arm’s race, even if they had no way of knowing how it would play out. That alone presented an existential threat to all nations, something Pro seems quick to dismiss.

    However, this is a general impact. The clash over building nuclear weapons is bad, but it may have happened anyway. The US could and should have set the precedent that nuclear weapons should never be used under any circumstances, though the fact remains that they haven’t been used since.

     

    The deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, are not general. They are not vague, they are not uncertain, they are not insignificant. At no point in this debate has Pro ever challenged several important facts about these bombings. I’ll reiterate them here.

     

    1. They were indiscriminate. Regardless of the enmity any individual Japanese civilian might have had or their willingness to continue the fight, they were targeted, and they were murdered. It didn’t matter if they were infirm, an infant, in a coma, mentally ill, or anything else. Regardless of their choices, regardless of their capacities, they were targets. And make no mistake, unlike a normal bombing raid where some civilians might be killed by misplaced bombs, these were dropped specifically to kill these targets. A normal bomb raid might be dehumanizing for its misses, but an atomic bombing is dehumanizing for its actual targets.

    2. They were almost all civilians. No matter their mentalities, they were not trained soldiers. For all the harm they may have been willing to cause, it was in defense of their country, not in assault against the US or any other country. They may have been prepared to defend their homes against invaders, but that does not mean they were subject to mass murder. Targeting civilians is nothing less than an atrocity.

    3. It was a war crime. The act of targeting a civilian population with any amount of force, much less the amount of force found in an atomic bomb, is on its face a war crime. Pro concedes that these bombings were war crimes, which means these actions were criminal. The US has no basis whatsoever for calling out the war crimes of other countries when it has committed such egregious war crimes of its own.

    4. These numbers are incomparable to those of any conflict. Pro says I dropped his justification for the D-Day numbers, but that justification relied on the plausibility of invasion by either Russian or American forces. I’ve already shown that Japan would always surrender before it allowed the USSR to reach their shores, which is long before the US would invade. This means that Pro effectively concedes the incomparability of combat deaths to those caused by the atomic bombs. He also concedes that targeting civilians is inherently a war crime, whereas other measures of warfare may be considered reasonable for the purposes of combat. That automatically lends these numbers more weight.

     

    In fact, the only response Pro has had to any of this is this whole argument regarding the “just war theory”, yet every example he has brought to the fore of individuals being used in kamikaze attacks does not apply to them. Know why? Because they were still alive! They hadn’t made the decision to attack the US or sacrifice themselves. Pro seems dead set on treating every Japanese civilian as though they were a soldier, as though they had already made the decision to kill as many Americans as they possibly could. Make no mistake: this is not Minority Report. The US did not have access to precognitive children who could see how each and every Japanese civilian would behave if given the opportunity. They were innocent, by Pro’s own words. A potential threat, perhaps, but not one that invalidated their status as civilians, not one that took away their innocence before they could even act.

    Pro cannot justify the decision to engage in a war crime since the enemy also engaged in a war crime. Their violation does not justify a violation by the US. The US would not have been justified placing the Germans into concentration camps because of the Holocaust, yet Pro seems to favor a similar argument for the Japanese. The actions of the Japanese government and its military, however horrendous, does not justify the US targeting of civilians within Japan. Those lives were not forfeit, regardless of Pro’s efforts to classify them as war criminals in their own right.

     

    III. How exactly do the counter plans function, and how do they compete with these bombings?

    Voters, you are comparing two worlds: one in which the US bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and one in which they do not. So, we’re comparing historical reality to a historical hypothetical. My alternatives provide two separate lenses through which to view the hypothetical, examining how and why each hypothetical leads to peace with Japan, regardless of the usage of nuclear bombs. Without those alternatives, voters would have no conception of what such an alternate world would look like, and therefore no basis to discern the comparative net benefits of those two worlds.

    As such, when Pro states that this isn’t a comparison of the net benefits of these alternatives to the reality of dropping the atomic bombs, he’s missing the point of how they function. They are the sole basis for comparison in this debate, and without them, neither of us can establish the net benefits of our cases. Without them, we cannot establish the strength of our arguments because we have no basis for comparison. Net benefits requires that comparison. Voters, use that comparison to determine the outcome of this debate.

     

    Now, onto the counterplans themselves.

    I feel like I’m clarifying these an awful lot in this debate, but every round, it seems that Pro has found some new way to misrepresent the contents of these two counterplans, particularly the first.

     

    So, let’s start there. I was very clear how this counterplan functioned: the US signs onto the Potsdam Declaration, with all the parts that that Declaration contained, save 3. First, the Declaration would not include the words “unconditional surrender.” Second, it would include terms for allowing the continued figurehead status of the Japanese Emperor to be maintained. Third, it would leave the door open to possible negotiations with regards to the size and flexibility of the military forces in Japan, allowing for negotiation over those issues. Pro argues that the counterplan does not guarantee that Japan is required to submit its war criminals to international courts, restructure its armies, or deal with the occupation of their nation after war, yet all these terms were contained within the Potsdam Declaration in its original form and none of them are altered by this counterplan.

    This undermines all of Pro’s attempts to declare a conditional surrender insufficient to alter Japan to the point that they would not repeat past actions. Pro concedes that allowing the Japanese Emperor to be maintained as a figurehead was fine, though he argues that having it as a gift given to the Japanese after the fact is somehow better. I argued last round, and Pro dropped the point, that Japan would be much more likely to engage in a negotiation over a treaty that offered them conditions for their surrender. Pro concedes that Japan was already seeking a peace agreement with conditions, and he never argues that Japan’s leadership was do or die when it came to any of the conditions I listed, so there is a very good chance they would have accepted any option that would have preserved the Emperor and their capacity for self-defense. That means fewer lives lost on all sides, and fewer resources spent. Pro also concedes that offering the Japanese a stronger capacity for self-defense post-war better respects them as a country and gives them meaningful benefits. He even tries to tack this onto his own case (though adding it on in the last round should absolutely not be allowed by the voters).

    Now, why would the US have done this? Because Truman would have been listening to his top brass in the military. He’s the only one who would have had to change his mind, and Pro provides no reason why he would never have done so. Considering how difficult the decision to drop the atomic bombs must have been, there is no reason to believe that Truman was completely incapable of making the much more minor decision of offering basic conditions that represented no threat to the US or any other nation, particularly as they would still occupy Japan after the war, still hold their war criminals responsible, and still reorganize their military. There are no “hidden factors” here: the US sets the Japanese on the right course, and the US, USSR and China continue to hold their feet to the fire.

    Both of us employ material means (the atomic bombs/the threat of invasion) to get at an idealistic end (dismantling Japanese ideologies that led them to build an empire). There is no real difference in what we are arguing for insofar as we are both arguing that an idealistic change to how Japan functioned was necessary. The differences beyond that (their means of self-defense and keeping the Emperor as a figurehead) are comparatively minor. So, when Pro argues that he has some increased solvency because he better affects the ideologies of the Japanese, he fundamentally misunderstands how this case functions. This counterplan is no less effective because it does no less to modify those ideologies.

     

    Onto the second counterplan. Pro seems to just love that hard sell quote, ignoring both of my responses from last round. The key one to remember is this: a hard sell does not mean an impossible proposition. Pro’s argument suggest that Japan had to be pushed to unconditional surrender, so the only difference between our cases is our solutions. I’ve already been over, in great detail, why nuclear weapons did not meaningfully add to the threat posed by the USSR. Given that the USSR was by far the greatest threat to Japan at the time and given that they would have still declared war on Japan and sought to invade within a very short time frame, Japan would still have been pushed to surrender. The process would have been slower than with conditional surrender, but the time constraints would have been exactly the same as with the atomic bombs.

    So, what does a “harder sell” mean? It means that conditional surrender could have happened earlier than it actually did, and unconditional surrender would have happened at the same time as it actually did. The Japanese were already at the mercy of the world. They had already run out of options. Pro keeps trying to push the argument that the atomic bombs somehow brought them to this point, but I’ve already shown in great detail how the Soviets were responsible for the shift in mentality, how they were the ones that forced the hands of the Japanese. It doesn’t matter that the Japanese were forced by the Soviets because they had nothing to accept from the Soviets except ruin. The Soviets unwittingly pushed the Japanese to surrender to the US, ending the war and placing Japan under US power.

     

    Conclusion:

    I’ll finish by simply explaining how each of these arguments function, and why they should win your vote.

     

    If you perceive the Soviets as the greater threat due to the inability of the Japanese to counter their attack and the far greater degree of harm they could inflict, then by definition, the nuclear threat from the US is the lesser. This invalidates Pro’s whole argument. The only way he wins this debate is by showing that the atomic bombs dramatically shifted their mentalities, forcing them to submit. However, if they were only a minor threat, they could not possibly have accomplished this goal. That, compounded with the lack of novelty, the lack of tactical utility, and the terrible ideology behind the nukes sinks Pro’s case by showing that the atomic bombs could not possibly have been responsible for Japanese surrender. The fact that the bombs came before the threat of invasion does not mean that the bombs were the threat they regarded as most dangerous, and Pro’s argument fails to establish the atomic bombs as anything more than another weapon of war.

    If you perceive an inherent harm from the bombs that goes beyond simple loss of life, then that adds to the negative impact Pro must overcome to win this debate. I’ve already shown how the numbers game he is trying to play ignores a great deal of suffering caused by the atomic bombs, the very reason why they would be called a war crime. This isn’t a simple act of taking lives to spare lives – Pro is trying to use the corpses of innocent, Japanese people as justification for a lasting peace with Japan. He’s destroying hundreds of thousands of lives on the basis that they may revolt against us, turning them into martyrs for a cause they may or may not actually fight for. The stain on American history and the shift in the world’s perception of nuclear weapons was neither short-lived nor unimportant. Even if you believe there was reason to sacrifice these lives, the very concept of American exceptionalism vanished in those two flashes of fire and light with hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives.

    Lastly, if you think that there is even a reasonable probability that the Japanese would surrender without the usage of the atomic bombs, you vote on the counterplans. Neither of them incurs the loss of life that the two atomic bombs did. The conditional counterplan would have ended the war sooner, explicitly keeping the Japanese Emperor in power and allowing them a strong self-defense force, both of which Pro agrees would have been beneficial outcomes. The unconditional counterplan would have ended the war at the same time as it did in history. The Japanese were already under a time crunch as the Soviets encroached on their shores, and they would have agreed to the Potsdam Declaration as it was written regardless of whether the atomic bombs were dropped. They already had plenty of incentive to do so.

     

    Let’s roll them all together. If I have convinced you that the atomic bombs caused an incredible and irreversible harm to both the way America is perceived and to the Japanese (sorry, future population growth doesn’t erase a mass killing), then you buy that avoiding the usage of those bombs is paramount. Any alternative that is likely to succeed without the usage of those bombs should be favored. If you buy my arguments regarding the Soviets, then you already know that the alternatives will succeed. They put more than sufficient pressure on the Japanese to ensure a swift surrender, and by rejecting diplomatic terms and moving with all speed to invade Japan, the USSR showed that surrender was only possible if it occurred through the US. Japan, facing certain destruction, would have surrendered. That automatically means you are buying both the solvency and the improved impacts of both counterplans, which means I clearly outweigh his case.

     

    Voters, you may have a strong incentive to justify the dropping of these atomic bombs. That’s completely understandable – we want to be able to justify this kind of indiscriminate slaughter as having a purpose. Without it, we would have to accept that the US engaged in two massive war crimes for little to no reason. However, just because we want to be able to justify it doesn’t mean that these bombings we justifiable. Our desire to bring meaning to mass murder doesn’t erase the fact that they were mass murder. Accepting that the US may have been responsible for a heinous and unnecessary act like this isn’t easy, but it’s part of the healing process. We can accept that the Soviets scared the Japanese into submission and still appreciate the fact that the US was responsible for cleaning up their government and ensuring a transition to a peaceful and prosperous post-war society. The Soviets were a tool used to end the war, just like the bombs were supposed to be. America didn’t need those bombs. The US did not need to sink to such a deplorable level to win the war. We only needed to wait.

     

    At this point, I’ll leave it to the voters to decide. I know it’s a long debate, but I hope that you take the time to examine it in full. It’s worth the time.

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