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Ninth Graders Debate Truman's Atomic Bomb Decision
Ms. Moskow's Grade 9 U.S. history classes recently debated the pros and cons of President Truman's decision to use atomic bombs against Japan at the end of World War II. The debate centered around the question: To what extent was President Truman's decision justified?
The students had to research both military and diplomatic considerations, such as the ferocity of the fighting in the Pacific Islands; how many lives would be saved; the U.S. decision to target civilian populations; Japan's already weakened state by the time of the bombings; and the role of the Soviet Union and growing tensions between the U.S. and and U.S.S.R. The classes were split into two teams: pro and con, and two sub-teams: opening, military, diplomatic, and closing. The debate lasted two days, and the students did an excellent job on research, speech writing, and arguing their cases.