Lesson Plan on Mass Casualties and Making Decisions About War

Take Home, Open Book, Examination Lesson Plan on Mass Casualties And Making Decisions About War

QUESTION #1. Was it within the range of acceptable ethical decisions for the U.S. to use atomic bombs to kill hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians for the following purposes: (a) ending the war quickly, thereby reducing Allied military casualties and Japanese military and civilian casualties; (b) ending the war fast enough to keep the Russians from having a role in the occupation of Japan; and (c) countering the numerical superiority of the Red Army in Europe by making Stalin understand that we had a military weapon of unparalleled destructiveness and the will to use it?

Use the factual description in Handout #2 and the ethical analysis contained in Handout #3. Assess the importance and legitimacy of the three U.S. policy goals.

QUESTION #2. For each of the possible alternatives set out below: (i) describe how it would affect four major types of stakeholders and their values, (ii) apply four ethical tests: the Golden Rule, the Six Pillars of Character (not all apply), the Rule of Universality, and the Rule of the Most Honoring Choice to the decision; and (iii) discuss the effectiveness of the alternative in meeting U.S. goals described in Question #1. Base your answer on the information contained in Handout #2.

A. Attempting a demonstration of the bomb in a deserted or sparsely populated area or on a military target in a sparsely populated area and using it on densely populated areas if the demonstration didn’t work;

B. Allowing the policy of strategic bombing and blockade to proceed and, if the Japanese didn’t surrender by mid-October, demonstrating an atomic bomb, followed up by using the remaining bombs (by that time it would have been six or seven) for the dual purpose of forcing a surrender or preparing for an invasion; (note that the Russians would have had a greater chance to participate in the occupation of Japan as time went on);

C. Using the two atomic bombs that the U.S. had in August 1945 immediately on urban areas with warning;

D. Using the two atomic bombs that the U.S. had in August 1945 without warning (this was the policy that was implemented); and

E. Not using atomic bombs at all because they kill indiscriminately over a large area, even though it meant that the U.S. risked losing 100,000 soldiers and sailors in an invasion; hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians would also have died in an invasion.

3. Based upon the analysis contained in Section 2, answer the question.


You will be graded on mastery of the content of Handout #2, the quality of your logical analysis, how well you use the ethical analysis in Handout #3, grammar, and punctuation. If you respond with a handwritten paper, you will be graded on penmanship. Estimated time for the test is 2.5 hours.