Argumentative Essay Sample on Moral Justification of Japanese Bombing

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1661 Words
Date:  2022-11-04


The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred on August 6th and 9th 1945 and marked the end of World War II. The first bomb which the United States dropped on August 6th, 1945 resulted in the death of approximately 135, 000 individuals. The second dropping resulted in the death of about 50,000 individuals. However, it is also estimated that it killed about 70,000 individuals. There are debates over the moral justification of the United States dropping the atomic bombs which led to the mass loss of lives and long-term adverse effects. The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary, hugely unjustified and immoral. The paper attempts to show how the attack was greatly unwarranted, unnecessary and unethical.

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History of Rivalry Between U.S. And Japan

According to Zinn and Damon (1), the conflict between the United States and Japan traced its origin in 1853 when Japan's black ships arrived at Uraga Bay under the command of Perry Mathew. Japan and the United States signed Treaty of Peace and amity in 1854. Selden, Iriye, and Selden (44) agrees that the establishment of this strong partnership, however, ended up failing and the two countries bitterly engaged each other on war. President Theodore Roosevelt involved himself with the Russo-Japanese war of 905 as a way of persuading Japan to drop its demand for war preparations. Ten years later, several countries found themselves involved in the First World War. Japan played a minor in engaging German colonial forces after joining as an allied power. The United States took a neutral stance during the war. When the German U-boat attacked the United States Ship Lusitania, the U.S. joined the conflict in 1917. She joined the Allied Powers which was the side of Japan.

Zinn and Damon (1) further explain that the relation between the two countries started growing worse in the 1930s. Both the United States and Japan had industrial prowess but differed on their ideologies about the political and economic future of East Asia, more so, China. During the 1920s and 1930s, Japan was a stable country but lacked rubber, oil and other natural resources. Japanese businesses identified possible markets for their products in China and Korea. Japan, therefore, wanted to sell its manufactured products and gain natural resources which directly conflicted the American plans for Asia (Zinn & Damon, 3). Iriye, and Selden (44) explains that the objective of the United States was to keep the natural resources of China free from Japanese control, and any other nation. The primary concern of the United States was to protect the import of tin, oil, and rubber from South East Asia. It, therefore, meant that the U. S. was contending for the equivalent Asian markets and resources. However, Japan relied on the U.S. for copper, metal, and oil. The root of the conflict before the Second World War was, therefore, a conflict of resources, markets, and economics.

How War Broke Between Japan and U.S

According to Iriye, and Selden (77), most of the oil, metal and other materials which Japan used for its war in China were from the United States. The United States did not like the idea of selling Japan war materials which it used against China. The U.S government ended its agreement with Japan to sell weapons in 1939. Japan decided to reconsider its expansion plans through signing a non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union and Germany. Japan managed to gain more influence over foreign policy. German invaded Europe and captured Norway, Denmark, Belgium, France, Netherlands, and Luxemburg. Japanese government saw this German victory as an opportunity to launch their attack on the Europe colonies in Asia. Japan negotiated with Hitler to form a new alliance which overthrew the moderate government in Tokyo. Japan demanded the closure of Burma Road to the Chungking, Chinese City. Iriye, and Selden (61) elucidates that the road was the primary route that the United States used to source China with munitions. The closing of this road worsened the relation between Japan and U.S. Roosevelt banned the exportation of oil and metal products to Japan in the second half of 1940 (Zinn & Damon, 1). After Japan invaded Indochina, President Roosevelt reacted by taking control of all the Japanese currencies in the United States, and bringing armies to the Philipines under the American command. He also closed the Panama Canal to prevent Japanese shipping. War broke between the two countries during the final months of 1941 after the United States learned that Japan was planning an attack.

The Disproportional Losses of Japanese Lives Compared to U.S. Lives

There were attempts to conduct negotiations between the two countries after the conflict arose. However, Japan and the United States were already at the edge of World War II. The military officials of the United States accomplished capturing furtive communications from Japan and learned that Japan was planning an attack. Zinn and Damon (2) note that the Japanese military leaders were preparing a surprise attack on the United States Pacific naval base, Pearl Harbor. The US forces were defending their country from invasion while USSR and China were defending themselves from Japanese and German Invasion.

There were fewer casualties among the United States forces unless they went overseas. Other countries such as Japan lost vast numbers of lives. The United States expertly prepared itself before they went for war. They also mobilized their military. In as much as other nations were also developed and mobilized their military, they faced hyper-aggressive militaries which they could not effectively contain. During the fight between the two countries, the United States dedicated minority of their resources to the Pacific Theater. The US combat involvement consisted of conducting bombing raids in Western Europe and fighting in Italy and Africa.

The Events Preceding Dropping the Bombs

The Bataan death march proceeded the lunch of the bombings in 1942 when Japan managed to capture 70,000 United States troupe at the Philippines. These soldiers were forced to walk 100 miles in hard conditions. Most of them died before finishing the match. According to Zinn and Damon (3), before the United States dropped the bombs, they managed to capture some cities. For instance, between 1944 and 1945, the United States occupied the island of Iwo Jima which was 700 miles south of Tokyo. The island was strategic for attacking the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it is from this point that the United States had planned to launch the atomic bombs.

The Bombing

The United States dropped the first bomb on 6th August 1945. According to Hayashi (81) The atomic bomb was nicknamed "Little Boy" and was released from the Enola Gay. The primary assumption of the United States officials was that the bombing would force the Japanese government to surrender unconditionally. The United States officials dropped the second atomic bomb on 9th August 1945. The atomic bomb was nicknamed "Fat Man," and the original target was Kokura, Japan. Due to the cloud cover, the atomic bomb destroyed Nagasaki which was an alternative location and managed to kill approximately 75, 000 lives (Zinn & Damon, 1).

Justification of the Bombing

The dropping of the two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be justified as immoral, and unnecessary even though it marked the end of the Second World War. Zinn & Damon, (300) says, "The war came shortly after the opening of the twentieth century, in the midst of exultation (perhaps only among the elite in the Western world) about progress and modernization. " The bombing was immoral because, at the time, Japan had no allies. Its navy was also almost destroyed. It meant that Japan was weak and helpless. Its islands were under a naval blockade. The Japanese cities also underwent constant attacks at that time. The United States, therefore, weakened the Japanese military prowess. At the battle of Iwo Jima, the United States had also managed to capture the islands. The death toll at both sides of the warring nations was already high at the time of the bombing, meaning that both the two countries were very bitter. Japan was bitter because it had loosed its two Islands to the United States. The United States formulated unconditional demands for Japan which Japan could not meet. The United States knowingly created these demands contrary to the Institute of the emperor and the Japanese ethic of honor. The United States government wanted the Institute of the emperor dead.

The attack was also immoral because the use of the atomic bomb was a way of avenging the lost American soldiers while ensuring that the USSR was in check. The objective of using the nuclear bombs was to keep the SSR in check. However, an atomic bomb is a weapon of mass destruction which caused over 20,000 deaths who were mostly civilians. Hayashi (xvi) says, "The Strategic Bombing Survey provided precise figures for what can only be the crudest estimates: in that single raid on Tokyo, 87,793 people died, 40,918 were injured, and 1,009,005 people lost their homes. Richard Rhodes, estimating the dead at more than 100,000 men, women, and children, suggests that probably a million more were injured and another million were left homeless."

From a religious perspective, Hayashi (84) agrees that the use of the atomic bomb was immoral because it showed that the United States leadership was evil. The government lacked humanity since they killed very many people without discrimination. The effects of the bombing are still evident in Japan, and there are Japanese civilians who are still hostages of the war.


In conclusion, based on utilitarian argument, and moral decision making, the objective of the United States government was to save the lives of their soldiers while sacrificing those of the Japanese. The decision to drop the bombs was based on military personnel at the expense of the civilian Japanese men, women, and children.

Works Cited

Zinn, Howard, and Matt Damon. A people's history of the United States. New Press, 1998.

Selden, Kyoko Iriye, and Mark Selden. The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Routledge, 2015.

Hayashi, Hiro Mitsuo. "A Tale of Two Cities: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Literature and Comparisons with Depictions of Post-War Hiroshima." (2018): 81-90.

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Argumentative Essay Sample on Moral Justification of Japanese Bombing. (2022, Nov 04). Retrieved from

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