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Teaching Hiroshima and Nagasaki Trough Active History

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1 Teaching Hiroshima and Nagasaki Trough Active History

2 NOTE TO TEACHER: “Effective history instruction requires students to become involved in the process of historical inquiry. Historical inquiry requires locating and interpreting primary sources in the support of an argument. Locating and supporting these historical arguments and claims are the true essence and practice of the historical discipline. This lesson plan contains several examples of thousands of available primary documents on the subject of the WWII pacific theatre. These documents are the building blocks and evidence of history. The process of building a significant argument for the purpose of debate will be both demanding and rewarding. The following activities and procedures may challenge conventional classroom activities, but are essential for the full understanding of an event with the significance and controversy of the atomic bombings of Japan. The student’s final goal will be to utilize the information and evidence they have found in the primary sources in a two-sided debate. Successful completion of this goal will require research skill, critical reading, organization, and collaboration; the skills that are essential to successful learning.”

3 LESSON PLAN OVERVIEW Introduction to Classroom Debate
Presentation of key terms / vocabulary Locating and Primary Sources Primary Sources Interpretation Worksheets Class Debate

4 I. Hiroshima Classroom Debate
INTRODUCTION For this lesson plan the teacher will separate the students off the class into two debate groups. One group will argue that the U.S. was justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Japan while the other will argue that the U.S. was unjust and wrong in deciding to use the atom bomb. These groups may be instructor or student selected, although student selected groups have the ability to form more passionate debate. Before the debate begins make sure the students have sufficient background information on the Pacific theatre of WWII as well as an overview of the atomic bombing itself. The instructor may utilize the official text to convey these basic facts or they may choose to lecture from their own notes on the subject.

5 THE HIROSHIMA DEBATE Question for Debate: Did the United States need to drop the atomic bomb on Japan in order to end World War II?

6 Hiroshima Classroom Debate
GROUP RESEARCH In this step the teacher will give each group time to research and provide evidence for their claims. Time allotted to this research depends on individual classroom time restraints and limitations. However, the instructor should evaluate the general knowledge of the class before the debate by utilizing a short quiz covering the section devoted to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the text. In order for the students to support their debate arguments they must investigate into the materials of history to develop and organize evidence. Primary documents that support both sides of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombing controversy are provided in this lesson plan and are readily accessible around the internet. These sources include declassified government documents, eyewitness accounts, and photographs. Group success with the academic research method will be apparent through the quality of their argument in the classroom debate.

7 II. Important key terms / vocabulary
Hiroshima: Hiroshima is a major city on the western side of Japan’s largest island, Honshu. During World War II, the Second Army and Chugoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima. The city also had large depots of military supplies, and was a key center for shipping. On Monday, August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima by the crew of the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90, ,000. Approximately 69% of the city's buildings were completely destroyed. Hiroshima is the first city ever to be subjected to nuclear war.

8 Key Terms and Vocabulary
Nagasaki: On 9 August 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world's second atomic bomb attack at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 40,000 people were killed. According to statistics given at the Nagasaki Peace Park, the dead totaled 73,884, the injured 74,909 and diseased several hundred thousand. “Little Boy”: Atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima “Fat Man”: Atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki Photo courtesy of GWU

9 Key Terms and Vocabulary
President Harry S. Truman: Truman was the 33rd president of the United States (1945–53), who led his nation through the final stages of World War II and through the early years of the Cold War, vigorously opposing Soviet expansionism in Europe and sending U.S. forces to turn back a communist invasion of South Korea. Truman attended the Potsdam conference and made the final decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan. *Photo courtesy of the Truman Library

10 Key Terms and Vocabulary
Secretary of State Henry Stimson: Stimson was chief adviser on atomic policy to President Roosevelt and, later, to Pres. Harry S. Truman. To President Truman he recommended that atom bombs be dropped on Japanese cities of military importance. He later justified the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on humanitarian grounds, arguing that use of the bomb accelerated the surrender of Japan and thus saved more lives than it cost. *Photo courtesy of the Truman Library

11 Key Terms and Vocabulary
Potsdam Conference: (July 17–Aug. 2, 1945), Allied conference of World War II held at Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin. The chief participants were U.S. President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (or Clement Attlee, who became prime minister during the conference), and Soviet Premier Stalin. While in Potsdam, Truman told Stalin about the United States' “new weapon” (the atomic bomb) that it intended to use against Japan. On July 26 an ultimatum was issued from the conference to Japan demanding unconditional surrender and threatening heavier air attacks otherwise. After Japan had rejected this ultimatum, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

12 Key Terms and Vocabulary
Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer: After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, the physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard warned the U.S. government of the danger threatening all of humanity if the Nazis should be the first to make a nuclear bomb. Oppenheimer then began to seek a process for the separation of uranium-235 from natural uranium and to determine the critical mass of uranium required to make such a bomb. In August 1942 the U.S. Army was given the responsibility of organizing the efforts of British and U.S. physicists to seek a way to harness nuclear energy for military purposes, an effort that became known as the Manhattan Project.

13 Key Terms and Vocabulary
The Manhattan Project: The U.S. government research project (1942–45) that produced the world’s first atomic bombs. Started by FDR and realized by Harry Truman. Enola Gay: Enola Gay was the name of the Boeing B-29 Super-fortress bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Enola Gay was the name of the pilot Paul Tibbets’ mother. *Photo courtesy of the Truman Library

14 Key Terms and Vocabulary
Emperor Showa: Also referred to by his personal name, Hirohito, Emperor Showa aided in the transformation of a rural and agricultural Japan to an industrialized militaristic empire in the 1930’s. These actions eventually lead to Japan’s involvement in WWII, which resulted in the complete devastation of Japan. During the occupation of Japan following the war he saw rise to the rebirth of a highly urbanized modern Japan. Second Sino-Japanese War: Imperial Japan invaded China in 1937, creating a war between themselves and the Chinese Communists and Nationalists. This war which is often forgotten in the U.S. perspective was extremely deadly and fierce. The Japanese committed infamous atrocities on the civilian population of China. Some estimates claim that up to 20 million Chinese were killed during WWII. Chinese Nationalist and Communist forces eventually formed an alliance against the Japanese. The infamous “Rape of Nanking” claimed 300,00 Chinese as the Imperial Japanese army swept through Manchuria.

15 A Word on Primary Documents…
There are literally millions of primary historical documents available surrounding the event of the atomic bomb and the Pacific Theater of WWII. The examples included in this lesson plan constitute a mere fraction of the available historical evidence on the topic. The following documents include government orders, telegrams, eyewitness accounts, personal diaries, memorandums, photographs, declassified material, petitions, and more. Professional historians locate and utilize these sources in order to interpret them and thereby form a claim that conveys significance. While asking students to create original and unfounded historical claims may be asking too much, they can learn a great deal from using primary sources in the classroom. By using a classroom debate to teach and encourage the use of primary documents the students will better understand how interpret information for evidence.

16 Example: Document Analysis
The following is a student document evaluation activity of Atomic Bomb Truman Press-Release on August 6th, 1945 by the Truman Library Source : Whitehouse Press Release August 6, 1945 Question: Read the press release from President Truman on August 6, 1945 following the dropping of the atomic bomb noting important details about its production and the rhetoric used. *Continue to Document Analysis

Distribute copies of the document to each student to read. Ask students to answer the following questions: Who wrote this document? What is the purpose of this document? What date was this document issued? Why is the name of the city left out? Why does the atomic bomb's power have to be explained? Look at the last paragraph of the second page of the press release. What were Truman's plans for ending the war? Did he accomplish those goals in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Why or why not? On page three, Truman advocates the use of atomic power for world peace. How does he propose to fulfill this goal? What reasons does President Truman use to justify dropping the bomb?

Consider some of these questions with your class. What are the moral implications of the atomic bomb? Why would President Truman be against sharing the secret of the atomic bomb with the world? Why would he support sharing atomic technology with Great Britain and only divulge minor details to the Soviets? To what extent did the decision to drop the atomic bomb and subsequent postwar foreign policy decisions of the Truman administration lead to the Cold War? General Douglas MacArthur, one time commander of United Nations armed forces during the Korean War, in a 1954 interview stated that he had wanted to drop "between thirty and fifty atomic bombs" on enemy bases before laying radioactive waste material across the northern edge of North Korea during the war. Why did Truman decide not to use the atomic bomb in the Korean War of How did this precedent dictate warfare in subsequent presidencies?

There a many useful resources on the internet for finding historical documents. Many of these documents will be sourced from the National Achieves and security databases, therefore obtaining permission to use these documents should not present a serious problem. In addition, many university history departments have excellent links to PDF files of primary documents with supplementary explanations and background information. Below are a few examples of useful primary source databases. George Washington University: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162 This university historical database contains a very detailed collection of primary documents focusing on the atomic bomb and the end of World War II. Each individual document is supplemented by a brief description of the purpose of the document and the circumstances that supported its creation.

20 Internet Resources PBS “The American Experience”:
Speeches, letters, and official documents from the Truman era PBS Online The PBS special “the American Experience” on President Harry Truman, and his unprecedented decision, is extremely useful as for understanding the United States government at the end of World War II. This website contains information about the PBS film, a timeline, photograph gallery, primary sources, and teacher guides. The Truman Library: Extensive database of primary documents involving all aspects and perspectives dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. The Truman library contains a truly impressive amount of late World War II documents, photos, and other resources for the motivated history teacher to take advantage of.

The Historical Primary Documents folder contains historical documents and included descriptions, courtesy of George Washington University and the Truman Library, to be utilized for student evaluation and interpretation for debate evidence. *Documents sourced from and

PHOTO DIRECTIONS: The Hiroshima Nagasaki Historical Photographs folder contains historical photographs to be utilized for student evaluation and interpretation for debate evidence. *Images are sourced from the Truman Library and the National Security Archives

This translation of a leaflet dropped on Hiroshima on August, is an excellent example of an extremely useful and relevant primary document Declassified government documents such as this are not only plentiful but very helpful for forming a historical argument and debate Remember interpretation and perspective are at the heart of debate

Students will utilize Truman Library primary source worksheets to evaluate and interpret primary sources to use for evidence. Each student should be expected to contribute at least five evaluation sheets to their group. Document Analysis Worksheets These worksheets guide students to analyze the following types of primary sources: documents and photographs

25 Perspective Questions for Student Consideration
How do the destruction of the bomb and its aftereffects make you feel about America? Have your sentiments about patriotism changed? Explain. Do you feel that the bomb was a necessary or appropriate punishment for Japanese cruelty to Chinese civilians and multinational prisoners of war? Do you believe that the use of the atomic bomb on Japan was necessary to avoid the projected mass casualties of an invasion? Site specific evidence. If you were in the position to make an executive government order to use the atomic bomb, how might you have reacted? The same? Differently? Evaluate the charge that the bomb was utilized to intimidate the Soviets, who were to enter the Pacific theatre shortly after the U.S. deployed the bomb. Site evidence for both sides of the argument and form your own opinion. Does a country like the U.S. “the arsenal of democracy” have the right or the wisdom to make ethical decisions about using nuclear weapons? Support your argument with evidence.

26 Perspective Questions Continued
Were the Japanese ready to surrender before the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs? Site evidence. How might of have the U.S. use of the atomic bomb changed its image to other nations around the world? (free thinking question) Was there opposition to the use of the bomb within the government? By whom? Cite specific cases. Evaluate a picture of the aftermath of the bombing. (use worksheet) Evaluate each document. (use worksheet) What future implications does this initial use of nuclear weapons hold for society? What would you have done if you were in Harry Truman’s position? Do you feel that the Japanese civilians had fair warning? Do you believe that the United States is “the arsenal of democracy?”

27 Organization of an Argument
In order to form a purposeful and successful argument, evidence must be organized in a strategized method that is both clear and supportive of one’s claim. To encourage preparation and effective debate the teacher may consider the following: To aide in debate group organization the teacher may suggest that students create a debate outline to organize their thoughts and evidence Stress to students the importance of organization in coherently proving a point Suggest that students consider assigning evidence detail, organization, opening statements, rebuttals, and other components of debate to certain group members Require debate groups to hold an intergroup discussion regarding the upcoming debate to encourage communication and preparation

Once each debate group has had sufficient time to research and organize their arguments and counter-attacks the class debate may begin. The instructor, acting as the moderator of the debate, will state the topic of the debate, “was the United States justified in using the atomic bomb on Japan?” After the topic is formally introduced the debate may begin. If the debate becomes inactive at anytime the teacher may be free to interject with perspective questions to stimulate class discussion and participation.

29 ASSESSMENT For the assessment of classroom debate consider the following: Student contribution to the group Organization of argument Extent of evident preparation Quality of opening statement / rebuttals Student evaluation of group member performance Professionalism / effort Clarity of voice / overall presentation Debate performance rubric Link to example of debate rubric courtesy of Greece Central School District, NY

30 Conclusion “The purpose of this lesson plan was to create inspiration and provide resources for the active teaching and learning of history. Classroom debate as the final product and goal of this lesson plan offers a fine exercise for evaluating the academic research and collaborative skills of students. This lesson plan may be used as a supplement to the teacher or students for the implementation of active historical learning. This type of learning is essential for the full comprehension of the material and the process of historical fact formation. Issues as controversial and painful as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must be fully understood and evaluated so that future generations of students will be able to use sophisticated historical and academic thought processes to critically examine the issues surrounding the event.”

31 SOURCES George Washington University:
The Harry S. Truman Library: Greece Central School District: Nanking Atrocities Organization: Britannica Encyclopedia:

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