ATOMIC BOMB SIMULATION

Role: SCIENTIST

You are a scientist in the Manhattan Project. 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 use 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 well. 

You strongly oppose the use of the bomb. As a scientist, your career has been one of increasing human knowledge. It was to that end, and to ensure the Nazis did not get the bomb first, that you allowed yourself to be enlisted in the Manhattan Project. As it turns out, the Germans never did produce an atomic weapon. There is no evidence of a Japanese bomb project. For this reason, you believe the bomb is unnecessary. 

The war can be won and is being won with conventional weapons. Atomic warfare would be needlessly inhumane in an already barbaric war. If it is decided that the bomb must be used, you favor a demonstration of the bombís effect before it is dropped on Japanese cities. You believe that the Japanese would be sufficiently impressed if we gave them the results of one test in New Mexico and then demonstrated the power of the bomb on an uninhabited island, a high mountain or within view of the Japanese coast. A high altitude explosion over Tokyo at night would create immediate daylight. This type of demonstration would surely convince the Japanese leaders to surrender. 

If we do not warn the Japanese and then destroyed one of their cities, we might hasten victory. But we also might wreck the peace. The Soviet Union, our ally in the war, might consider our use of the bomb as a kind of atomic blackmail. They would see it as a threat against them. We built it in secret and have a monopoly on its use. This could damage relationships at a time when cracks are already forming in the wartime alliance. Let us look ahead. We must not use a tactic, which might fail, but which also might poison the whole world against us in the future. Nuclear bombs cannot possibly remain a secret weapon for more than a few years. The scientific facts on which their construction is based are well known to scientists in other countries. We must not trigger a nuclear arms race, which we might lose. If we are honest with ourselves, we can see that the bomb is intended to be both anti-Japanese and anti-Russian. Russia has promised to enter the war against Japan within three months of the end of the war in Europe. That means by the middle of August. Part of the motivation to use the bomb is to keep the Soviet divisions out of Manchuria by ending the war quickly. But we cannot be certain that the bombís use will keep Russia out, particularly since we have been so insistent in demanding Russian assistance for a massive land invasion. 

An additional criticism is that the Japanese would be needlessly embittered if we used the bomb against their defenseless cities. Other than these practical considerations, you have strong moral objections to the use of the bomb. The United States does not support indiscriminate use of this type of weapon. We protested the German use of new rocket weapons on London. Despite the American anger toward Japan after Pearl Harbor and the bloody war that followed, recent opinion polls show that Americans do not support the use of poison gas even if the use would shorten the war. The atomic bomb is much more destructive than gas ever could be. It kills on a much larger scale and its radioactive effects are longer lasting. It can be assumed that if they knew about the bomb, they would not support its use. You believe that the United States should not lower itself to the level of the enemy, especially when it is not needed. We should not abandon our moral beliefs by using the bomb on a defeated and crippled nation. 

The ultimate goal has to be more than a tactical victory over Japan; it has to be a more wide-ranging strategy of continued peace in the world. After the warís end, as Americans, we should be able to say to the world: "See the king of weapons we had but did not use. We are ready to renounce its use in the future if other nations join in the renunciation and agree to the establishment of an efficient international control." 

In summary, dropping the bomb without warning is unnecessary because the present tactics are working. It would also be barbaric because thousands of innocent women and children would die. It will also provoke a major nuclear arms race and thus destroy the long-run dream for peace.