|Socratic Seminar: Debate Time!
The Socratic Seminar is one of the oldest learning devices in history! It helps students engage in critical thinking, while presenting personal opinion, along with factual information. Everyone participates, as we will be sitting in a large discussion circle.
On 6 August 1945 the United States exploded an atomic bomb over Hiroshima and revealed to the world in one blinding flash the start of the atomic age. As the meaning of this explosion and the nature of the force unleashed became apparent, a chorus of voices rose in protest against the decision that opened the Pandora's box of atomic warfare.
The decision to use the atomic bomb was made by President Truman. There was never any doubt of that and despite the rising tide of criticism Mr. Truman took full responsibility for his action. Only recently succeeded to the Presidency after the death of Roosevelt and beset by a multitude of problems of enormous significance for the postwar world, Mr. Truman leaned heavily on the advice of his senior and most trusted advisers on the question of the bomb. But the final decision was his and his alone. The justification for using the atomic bomb was that it ended the war, or at least ended it sooner and thereby saved countless American-and Japanese-lives. But had it? Had not Japan been defeated and was she not already on the verge of surrender?
This week, we will be having a Socratic Seminar discussion/debate on the ATOMIC BOMB. Was the bomb justified and needed to end WWII? Was there an alternative measure/war strategy that would save civilian lives? Do you consider the act inhumane by a democratic country? Was the dropping of the atomic bombs morally justifiable? Historians even argue the pros and cons of the use of the Atomic Bomb.
These are the questions you MUST respond to in our debate. Some of you may agree with the bomb, some of you many not. In order to discuss and debate these questions, you must have concrete information on this topic. Today we are going to the library to do some research, and tonight, you must put together a notecard with points you would like to make during our discussion. You are welcomed to use your articles in the discussion, but it’s easier if you have a notecard with points highlighted from your research.
You may also find graphs, stats, charts, etc. to help make your case. Remember, everyone must participate! The more you contribute during the discussion, the higher your grade will be. Remember, while talking show respect for others thoughts and opinions.
ATOMIC BOMB DEBATE WEBSITES
Here are some websites but please remember to search for more!
http://www.doug-long.com/quotes.htm (primary sources quotes about the bomb)
(decision to drop the bomb documents)
http://www.dannen.com/decision/hst-jl25.html ( Truman Diary entry on the use of the bomb)
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/mpmenu.asp (great for statistics, effects, graphs, damage, etc.)
http://www.authentichistory.com/1939-1945/1-war/4-Pacific/4-abombdecision/ (background information, pros and cons to dropping the war with primary sources!)