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"Artzy" Art During World War II

Introduction Unit Objectives
Unit-At-A-Glance/Lesson Plans Artzybasheff Bibliography
Teacher Resources Supplemental Activities
World War II WebQuests Literary Terms and Vocabulary
Student Chatroom Student Portfolios
Home University of North Texas
TEKS/TAKS Standards Online Tutorials
WWII Letters Links Initial Artzybasheff images

The Decision to Drop the Bomb

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Introduction |Task |Process |Resources |Evaluation |Conclusion



Imagine it is 1945 and World War II has just come to a conclusion. Just before the end of the War, the Atomic Bomb was dropped on and Nagasaki. Many wonder whether dropping the bomb was necessary but others think it was in order to limit the amount of Allied casualties and bring the long arduous war to an end. A community in California is getting together to discuss the reason for dropping the bomb. Four teams of people representing a Japanese citizen, President Truman's advisor, the Secretary of Defense, and a nuclear physicist will congregate to debate this controversial issue. Your role as one of these people is to research your particular point of view and decide whether dropping the Atomic Bomb was necessary or not.


You are going to participate in a town meeting in which a board of experts will be speaking about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There will be groups representing Harry S. Truman, the American military, the Japanese, and the scientists who worked to develop the bomb.

There will be four students in each group who will research the decision to drop the bomb from their given perspective. After the research is complete, within each group a spokesperson will be chosen to voice the group's opinion in answering the question: "Should the United States have dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" Those not chosen as the spokesperson will sit in the audience and help their spokesperson by asking questions of the other spokespeople and supplying any information their spokesperson may need to make his points more convincing. Your teacher will serve as the moderator of the meeting.



1. Your classroom will be divided into teams of four groups of people with one spokesperson for each group. Each group will represent a Japanese citizen, President Truman's advisor, the Secretary of Defense, or a nuclear physicist. Your teacher will act as the moderator.

 2. Once you have been designated a certain role, your team will research that particular person for a week.  See the chart below for a description of the roles and links to sites for your research.

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Advisor to President Harry S. Truman-Truman was president when the bomb was dropped. He was the person who made the final decision to drop it. The advisor will be representing the Commander-in-Chief and speaking in favor of his decision.

Sites for Advisor to President Truman
Enola Gay Perspective

Hiroshima-Was It Necessary?

Truman Digital Archive

Atomic Bomb Decision

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American Military Personnel-This person represents the military's point of view. He looks at things from a purely military perspective. Keep in mind that he is obligated to fulfill the orders of the President. While he personally may or may not have favored the decision, he has to do what is decided to be militarily necessary.

Sites for American Military Personnel

The Dropzone

Air Force Cartoon Journals

Hiroshima-Was It Necessary?

Major Effects of the Atomic Bomb

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 Japanese Survivor-This person is Japanese and has survived the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Although he was fortunate enough not to have perished, he has witnessed several deaths and injuries. He does not believe that dropping the bomb was necessary, being that it caused much devastation to his homeland.

Sites for Japanese Survivor

Take a Closer Look at Hiroshima

Japanese Perspective

Voice of Hibakusha

The Nagasaki A-Bomb Disaster


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 Scientist for Manhattan Project- This person helped research and develop the atomic bomb and was there when it was tested in New Mexico a few years before it was actually detonated in Japan. He was excited about the scientific discoveries before the bomb, but soon realized the great implications it would have for much more serious and dangerous warfare in the future.

Sites for Scientist for Manhattan Project

Major Effects of Atomic Bomb

Robert Oppenheimer

Invention and Discovery: The A-Bomb

Manhattan Project

 3. While individually doing your research keep in mind not only your arguments but also opposing views and how you will defend yourself. Analyze how you relate to the other teams involved.

 4. Brainstorm in your group, strategies you will use to support your arguments using your research material. In formulating your arguments do not take a personal bias towards the subject.

 5. Once you have thoroughly discussed your role in your group, you must organize a clear team action plan. Think of yourselves as a team of lawyers, all trying to prove your case and convince the jury that your arguments are favorable. As a team your arguments must concur. Feel free to use visual aides.

6. Role-play within your group to practice debating and perhaps this will help you strengthen your position.

 7. After the week of preparation is over, it is now time for THE DEBATE.

Before the teacher asks any questions, each group will present their opening remarks (3-5 minutes for each group). Once each group has introduced themselves, the teacher will start questioning certain groups. Each group will have five minutes to defend its position. Members of the team may talk quietly amongst themselves and advise their spokesperson during those five minutes. Each team will be given a chance to speak about each question. During the other groups' presentations, your team should take notes in preparation for your rebuttal. At the end of the debate, your team will be allowed 3-5 minutes to refute previous arguments and summarize your position.

 9. After the debate, you will be asked to produce a type-written paper on your feelings about this subject. Use your previous research materials and notes that you take during the debate as a guide. Consider these questions while writing your paper:

Now that you have completed your teamwork, how do you feel about this issue?
How would your arguments be different if this was an individual project?
Defend your point of view?


Use these links for general backbround information.

Lycos Guide: WWII

WWII Commemoration

Guide to Japanese A-Bomb

Hyperwar:A Hypertext of WWII

A-Bomb Museum


Your teacher will grade you on the following:

10% Preparation work = 10 note cards on day 3
50% Debate = How well you present your information
10% How well you worked in a group, based on evaluation from members within your group
30% Written Paper: historical content, analytical thinking, writing style, and overall presentation


 After this assignment, you will be able to:

 - Plan and organize arguments
- Think critically
- Execute a plan of action
- State the sequence of events during World War II
- Draw your own conclusion about the necessity of dropping the bomb
- Research and analyze the issue of the atomic bomb using technology
- Work effectively under time constraints
- Collaborate in teams
- Improve your public speaking and leadership skills
- Take on the role of a given character
- Make decisions about controversial issues

This document was created by Nathalie Ettzevoglou-Hoyer, Hunter Hammond, and Tracey Mueller, students at the University of Richmond studying in the department of Education. They completed the original version of this document as a project for the class EDUC 343: Technology in Education, during the spring semester of 1999.

Assistance for this project was provided by Dr. Patricia Stohr-Hunt. She has maintained and revised this document as an interactive resource for educators, students and parents. All inquiries and comments regarding this document should be mailed to her at the following address:

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