ATOMIC BOMB SIMULATION
|You are a high
ranking official in the State Department. At the specific request of the
President, you have been invited to appear before the Interim Committee
to express your views on the atomic bomb and its uses against Japan. The
Committee, after hearing the views of you and other experts, will then
formulate recommendations and send them to the President. He will make
the final decision of whether or not to use the bomb. It is important that
you organize and present your views as persuasively as possible as your
testimony may prove to be the deciding factor in the decision to drop the
bomb. Your presentation will be limited to five minutes. You may use any
or all of the following arguments as well as any additional arguments.
The committee may direct questions at you during your presentation so prepare
You strongly urge the use of the bomb. While you believe the Japanese appear to be defeated you cannot estimate when they will surrender due to their fanatical resistance in the past. The Japanese peace proposal would allow retention of some of their conquered territory as well as their Emperor. The Japanese leaders have ignored all of our recent demands for surrender. Not even our devastating fire bombing has compelled them to quit. Our information indicates there are factions within the government which will never surrender. On the other hand, we have broken the Japanese code and know that overtures are being made to Russia for a negotiated settlement. We might be able to persuade the Emperor to command his people to surrender. This will require a new compelling circumstance. The use of the bomb will furnish the required instrument.
Consideration has been given to demonstrating the explosive implications of the atomic weapon before dropping it on the Japanese city. There are several technical difficulties. First of all, we are just beginning to produce the bombs and only two will be ready as early as August. On average, each bomb has already cost us one billion dollars. We cannot afford to waste one. Secondly, we will not be able to test detonating the bombs from aircraft. So we cannot be certain that the bombs will even explode. There are additional political problems. If, in a demonstration, the bomb proved to be a dud, the Japanese would hardly be frightened. In fact, they might assume we were bluffing and decide to resist with even greater fanaticism. Eventually, the American people would also learn that we had a powerful weapon, which we chose to waste, rather than use to shorten the war. We understand that the Scientific Advisory Panel you have been consulting agrees with this position: that a mere demonstration of an atomic bomb explosion is not likely to end the war and the only acceptable alternative is dropping it on a military target.
As we reach a climax in our war with Japan, we must not protect the role of the emperor. That would be too much like appeasement with serious political repercussions here at home. It might imply a continuation of the feudal privileges of a Japanese ruling caste. This legacy of the past must be replaced by the concept of equality before the law.
Finally, the use of the bomb might end the war before the Russians entered it against Japan. We have sought the entrance of Russia, but that was when we expected a costly land invasion of the home islands and needed help in pinning down the Japanese army in Manchuria. It may be more important now to try to postpone Russian involvement. Furthermore, the devastation of the bomb could make Russia more manageable in reconstructing a postwar Europe. The atomic bomb may serve as a superior master card in the diplomatic future.
In summary, there are important political advantages in using the bomb directly on military targets, in addition to ending the war quickly and saving millions of lives.