The use of the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II remains one of the most controversial decision in world history. The arguments for and against its use are a perfect introduction to debate for your history class, and examining both sides is also a great way for students to understand the views of the people during the mid to late 1940s.
For this activity, students will research both sides of the argument to and not to use the atomic bomb on Japan. Students should create a T-Chart that examines each argument and the points they make. For each argument, students should include the title of the argument, a visualization of the central aspect of the argument, and a written description that summarizes the focal point of the argument.
Students will use their research from the initial activity to take part in a classroom debate about whether President Truman and the United States government were justified in the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. Teachers should either assign the “team” that the student will be on or let them decide for themselves. For students that argue that Truman should not have dropped the Atomic Bomb, have them decide what he should have done instead. Students should use their previously created storyboards to help the class understand while they present their arguments to the class. Depending on teacher’s decision, they may score the debate as it unfolds, have the students vote on which side won, or if another class is available, you can have the other class serve as the un-biased voters.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard outlining arguments for and against the use of the atomic bomb during World War II.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group