Socratic Seminar questions for Hiroshima, C

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Socratic Seminar questions for Hiroshima, Ch. 2

(Mr. Tanimoto) “met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns – of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white absorbed it and conducted it to the skin, the shapes of flowers they had on their kimonos)” (Hersey 29).

“The change was too sudden, from a busy city of two hundred and forty-five thousand that morning to a mere pattern of residue in the afternoon” (Hersey 40).

Group 1: John Hersey’s Hiroshima describes the first use in history of the atomic bomb, a weapon that inflicts unimaginable damage upon a major Japanese city.

Should the United States have used nuclear weapons against Japan? In thinking about your answer, you may wish to consider:

  • The casualties that might have resulted – on both the American and Japanese sides – from an Allied invasion of Japan.

  • Whether Hiroshima was, as President Truman argued, a military target.

  • Whether the destruction of Hiroshima ultimately prevented a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union.

  • Whether the use of nuclear weapons is ever morally justifiable.

Group 2: In describing the devastation caused by the first atomic bomb, John Hersey’s Hiroshima presents a picture of what might happen if such weapons are used in the future.

Under what circumstances should the United States use nuclear weapons in the future? In thinking about your answer, you may wish to consider:

  • Whether nuclear weapons can be used effectively against military targets, particularly against the kind of enemies the United States now faces.

  • What might happen to world security and stability if the United States renounced the use of nuclear weapons?

  • What the consequences of a prolonged nuclear exchange might be.

  • Whether the use of nuclear weapons is ever morally justifiable.

During the seminar, each participant MUST provide:

  • At least one example from the supplemental materials provided in class.

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