Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


The ethical reasoning behind the Japan bombings – John and Kevin


When you first think about this, you would think to yourself: “how the hell could there be ethical reasoning behind the bombings of Japan?” You could say that there is no morally correct reasoning behind the killing of approximately 129,000 people, however when you think of it in a more tactical way, you may think otherwise.

Operation Downfall, aka the two nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan on August 6, then another one following just three days after. Now, if we look at this on a different level, we see that there was actual ethical reasoning behind this.

First, “thousands of Asians and allied prisoners were dying daily throughout the still-occupied Japanese Empire, and would do so as long as Japan was able to pursue the war.

So, the U.S thought of a more extreme approach. To waste time and the lives of thousands of their troops, or to drop a nuclear bomb and end it once and for all. And so they took that approach and it helped them tremendously in the world war.

Second, according to Hanson, “Major General Curtis LeMay planned to move forces from the Marianas to newly conquered and much closer Okinawa, and the B-29 bombers, likely augmented by European bomber transfers after V-E Day, would have created a gargantuan fire-bombing air force that, with short-distance missions, would have done far more damage than the two nuclear bombs.”

If you now look at it this way. you see that even with the combined damage of both nuclear bombs, it would still cause less damage than the European bombers that would occur after V-E day. So when you think of the topic as just as simply as “the bombing of Japan” you tend to think negatively towards the topic. However, once you look at it in a different perspective, you see it as a more tactical strategy. Both countries were at war. You can however argue that Japan was defenceless in this situation. That leads us to the questions: Was dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a military necessity? and Was the decision justified by the imperative of saving lives or were there other motives involved?


The answer to the first question is simply no. The Japanese had lost control of their air force and they were essentially hopeless at the time before the first bombing. It was not a military necessity that the U.S had to bomb Japan two times. Now, it did help the U.S in the war, however. The results of the bombings led to a peaceful surrender by the Japanese. So, you can say that it was not a necessity, but it did lead to a quicker victory brought upon by the U.S.

The second question: was the decision justified by the imperative of saving lives or were there other motives involved? In my opinion, there were other motives involved. The U.S wanted a quicker victory and they got one. Dropping the two bombs brought Japan to a surrender, and that’s what they wanted the entire time. You can also tell that the U.S did not want any more casualties with their military so they thought of a extreme decision that led to them winning the war over Japan.

So in conclusion, there was ethical reasoning behind the bombing of Japan. The reasoning for that is that they were at war. They didn’t just drop the bomb on Japan for no reason. It was a war strategy and it worked out well for them in the end.



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