Assignment no. 6 - Part 6

Assignment no - Assignment no. 6 introduction. 6

            In order to achieve an objective evaluation of the arguments made by two contradicting views it is important to understand all the points made by each view. For this purpose, it is necessary to break down each statement point by point in order to assess whether the arguments, from the premises to the conclusions, are sound and consistent.

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HISTORIAN A

MAIN ARGUMENT: The US was not justified in dropping the bombs in Japan.

SUPPORTING ARGUMENT #1: The purpose of the bombs was not to end the war in Japan.

PREMISES:

The Japanese were almost totally defeated in 1945.
American ships and planes pounded the island without any response from Japan.
American leaders were aware that Japanese leaders were already trying to surrender.
Japan was asking Russia to mediate in the peace settlement with the United States because they wanted to keep their emperor.
The US never discussed any surrender terms with Japan and after they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki although they allowed Japan to keep its emperor.
SUPPORTING ARGUMENT #2: The US intended the bombs to intimidate Russia.

PREMISES:

The US had a disagreement with Russia over Europe in 1945.
The US wanted to show Russia that they had a powerful weapon in order to convince them to agree with their terms in Europe and Asia.
US President Truman was scheduled to meet Russian Leader Josef Stalin and he wanted to have the bombs to be completed and tested before he went to the meeting in order to pressure Stalin during their negotiation.
The bombs gave US President Truman an advantage over the Russians.
The Russians were fully convinced of the power that the US government possessed because of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
SUPPORTING ARGUMENT #3: The US wanted to end the war against Japan before Russia could get involved.

PREMISES:

The Russians already expressed their intention to enter the war in Asia three months after the war in Europe ended.
Japan was already prepared to negotiate their surrender but the US wanted then to surrender in a matter of days. Surrender negotiations could take weeks which could allow Russia to enter the war against Japan.
The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945.
Russia entered the war on August 8, 1945.
The second bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945.
SUPPORTING ARGUMENT #4: The US did not want the Russians to enter the war in Asia because it would allow them the opportunity to spread Communism to China and other countries in Asia including Japan.

l  For economic and political reasons, the US would not want the Russians spreading Communism in Asia.

CRITERIA:

1. What is the purpose of the reasoning? What is the reasoning attempting to accomplish? What is the objective?

The purpose of the reasoning by Historian A is to argue that the US was not justified in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan. By citing facts that show that the US was not justified in bombing Japan, Historian A is trying to establish that the US bombed Japan not for the purpose of ending the war but for political and economic reasons. These reasons are not sufficient to justify the bombing which resulted to the death of hundreds of thousands of Japanese including innocent civilians. The points presented in these arguments aims to enumerate the facts that would prove that the US was not justified in bombing Japan.

2. What is the question at issue or the problem that is being raised that needs to be solved, concluded, or decided upon? State it in the form of a question.

Was the United States justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War?

3. What language is being used and how is the language being used? How is the reasoner using key concepts, menaing terms and what does he/she mean by them?

Historian A is using terms that are clear and specific. The use of language is not vague or ambiguos and the key concepts of the argument are clarified further by using specific concepts that are based on historical facts and explanations that support them.

4. What conclusions is the reasoner coming to regarding the question at issue or problem to be solved?

With Historian A’s reasoning, it is evident that the conclusion regarding the question, “Was the United States justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War?” is, “No. The US was not justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War.”

5. What reasons and evidence does the reasoner use to support their conclusion(s)? What information do they use and is the information relevant and pertain to the goals and conclusions of the reasoner?

Historian A uses historical facts, interpretations on these facts, statements made by scientists and generals, and interpretations on these statements to support his conclusions. These information are consistent to the argumments made by Historian A because the manner in which they are presented is convincing. The interpretations made on these information are not far-fetched.

6. What assumptions are being made? What are the underlying assumptions of the reasoner? What is the reasoner taking for granted?

The arguments made by Historian A rests on the several assumptions, such as, the Japanese were already prepared to surrender, the US meant to scare Russia with the bombs, the US was in a hurry to make Japan surrender so that Russia could not get involved in the war in Asia, and that the US feared that Russia might spread Communism in Asia if it got involved in the war against Japan. If at all, Historian A is taking several facts that Historian B raised later on, although considering the information that Historian A made emphasis to, his arguments are airtight.

7. What other points of view is the reasoner engaging when they make their argument and come to their conclusions? Are they looking at the issue from multiple perspectives?

It is evident that Historian A is mainly looking through one perspective. Although he considers several information concerning the Japanese, the US leaders, the Russian sentiments, the scientists, and the military officers, he interprets these information in a way that supports his argument further.

8. What are the consequences of the reasoning? What does accepting the conclusion of the reasoner imply? What would follow from the conclusion?

If Historian A’s arguments are to be considered and if his conclusion is to be accepted, then it is imperative to agree that the US was not justified in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan during the Second World War. Historian A does not recommend any actions although accepting his conclusion will have a significant impact on how we perceive the US.

HISTORIAN B

MAIN ARGUMENT: The US was justified in dropping the bombs in Japan.

SUPPORTING ARGUMENT: The US wanted to ensure that Japan surrendered unconditionally.

Japan did not want to surrender unconditionally.
The Germans did not surrender unconditionally in World War I, and as a result, they rose again to start World War II.
The US did not want to repeat the same mistake.
Japan was still hoping to divide the US-Russian Alliance by getting Russia to mediate their peace negotiations with the US. If the Allies would disagree, Japan might get off easy.
Japan also hoped to inflict enough casualties on the American troops, or hold out long enough, to get the American public to pressure their leaders to accept something less than unconditional surrender.
The Americans believed that allowing Japan to keep their emperor would encourage the militarists in Japan to further resistance.
The Americans also felt that granting Japan their request would weaken the war effort in the US since it would deviate from their well-publicized policy of unconditional surrender.
Some Japanese leaders also wanted more than just keeping their emperor. Some of them wanted their troops to surrender to them, they did not want Japan to be occupied by the US, and they did not want their leaders to be tried for war crimes.
Even after the bombing, some of the Japanese leaders were still not willing to agree to surrender.
COUNTER ARGUMENT ON HISTORIAN A’s ARGUMENT #3: Problems concerning the argument that the US dropped the bomb on those specific dates in order to prevent Russia from entering the war:

The US did not know the exact date that Russia was going to enter the war against Japan.
The bombs were dropped because a military officer decided that the weather was appropriate.
If US President Truman wanted to stop the Russians from entering the war then he should have dropped the bombs sooner, or he could have given in on unconditional surrender.
COUNTER ARGUMENT ON HISTORIAN A’s ARGUMENT #2: Problems concerning the argument that the US dropped the bomb in order to intimidate the Russians:

The US was not successful in getting the Russians to agree to US policies in Europe proves that the bombs were not used for the purpose of intimidating the Russians.
ADDITIONAL POINTS:

            There was a recommendation that the bombs should have been demonstrated on an uninhabited island, however, after this recommendation was studied by the Interim Committee, it was agreed that demonstrating the bombs in an uninhabited island would only waste one of the bombs and valuable time.

            The fact that two bombs had to be used in order to bring about Japan’s surrender proves that demonstrating the bomb on an uninhabited island would have been ineffective. The committee, however, recommended drop the bombs on military targets.

            It is also important to note that the US leaders warned the Japanese that they would use the bombs if they did not accept unconditional surrender. The Japanese leaders ignored the warnings therefore the loss of life due to the bombings was the result of the decision of the Japanese leaders, not the Americans.

            The US was right in insisting unconditional surrender since Japan was not prepared to surrender unconditionally. Since a demonstration bombing would not have been effective, the only alternative to using the bombs was an all out invasion of Japan which could have cost hundreds of thousands more lives. In conclusion, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not only shorten the war, it also saved lives.

CRITERIA:

1. What is the purpose of the reasoning? What is the reasoning attempting to accomplish? What is the objective?

The purpose of the reasoning by Historian B is to argue that the US was justified in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan. Historian B seeks to establish that the US was justified in dropping two atomic bombs in Japan for the purpose of ending the war earlier and ultimately reduce the casualties that would resulf from a full scale invasion. Historian B cites historical facts that shows that the US had sufficient reason to utilize the atomic bombs for everone’s benefit.

2. What is the question at issue or the problem that is being raised that needs to be solved, concluded, or decided upon? State it in the form of a question.

Was the United States justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War?

3. What language is being used and how is the language being used? How is the reasoner using key concepts, menaing terms and what does he/she mean by them?

Historian B presents his arguments by employing a clear and specific use of language. The points that Historian B raised were clear and he furthered his argument by using specific premises that were not vague or ambiguous.

4. What conclusions is the reasoner coming to regarding the question at issue or problem to be solved?

Granting that all of Historian B’s arguments and his are sound, on the question, “Was the United States justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War?” the answer is clearly, “Yes. The US was justified in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War.”

5. What reasons and evidence does the reasoner use to support their conclusion(s)? What information do they use and is the information relevant and pertain to the goals and conclusions of the reasoner?

Just like Historian A, Historian B uses facts and interpretations on these facts to support his conclusions. Although he presents his facts in a manner that supports his arguments, some of his points assume conclusions that do not necessarily follow. In short, some of the arguments made by Historian B are not sound.

For example:

            “The fact that two bombs had to be used in order to bring about Japan’s surrender proves that demonstrating the bomb on an uninhabited island would have been ineffective. The committee, however, recommended drop the bombs on military targets.”

This line of argument does not necessarily follow. Unless there were some other information that Historian B is privy to, such as a proof that Japan was still not willing to surrender unconditionally even afrer the first bomb, or that the use of the second bomb was necessary to make Japan surrender unconditionally, this argument is not sound.

Another example:

            “The US was not successful in getting the Russians to agree to US policies in Europe proves that the bombs were not used for the purpose of intimidating the Russians.”

Still, this argument lacks sufficient evident. The fact that the Russians did not agree to the terms that were proposed by the US does not prove that the bombs were not used for the purpose of intimidating Russia. It only proves that two atomic bombs are not enough to convice Russia.

6. What assumptions are being made? What are the underlying assumptions of the reasoner? What is the reasoner taking for granted?

Historian B makes several assumptions as I have pointed earlier that do not necessarily follow the conventional stream of logic. In order to accept some of his arguments, it is necessary to grant several claims that Historian B failed to raise of if he did, did not have any evidence to support such claims.

7. What other points of view is the reasoner engaging when they make their argument and come to their conclusions? Are they looking at the issue from multiple perspectives?

Based on Historian B’s line of reasoning it is clear that he is looking at the issue through one perspective, however, Historian B made several conclusions that are not supported by the  premises he raised.

8. What are the consequences of the reasoning? What does accepting the conclusion of the reasoner imply? What would follow from the conclusion?

Accepting Historian B’s arguments imply that we grant several propositions that he did not raise or that he did not support with evidence, to be understood as already implied by his other propositions or that they should already be taken as fact and need not be supported by evidence. Granting all that, we can therefore conclude with Historian B that the US was justified in bombing Japan during the Second World War.

            In conclusion, both Historian A and Historian B requires us to grant some of the information that they raised in their arguments as truths. Since these details are no longer verifiable because history can be written to favor those who won the war, it is more important to consider the line of reason made by each opposing view. In considering the consistency and the structure of the arguments made by each perspective, I find Historian A’s arguments more compelling.

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