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Atomic Bomb Debate


Atomic Bomb Debate
1) CAST OF CHARACTERS and duties (you will be allowed to choose a role)
* As this Grand Jury has never been convened, there are a number of liberties being taken here. The witnesses are bound by their affidavits and a reasonable extrapolation. The information in their affidavits comes from sources listed on the next page. If the prosecution or defense wishes to present exhibits, there is a great collection of primary sources at
Every lawyer should look up information on their people. The websites listed below will help you…
Lawyer Form
Every lawyer should complete one of these for each witness they will be questioning: LAWYER FORM
WITNESS NAME______________ # in Order_____
Identify what points help your case?
 Develop a list of questions you would use to get that information out in court.
What about this witness hurts your case?
Are there any objections you can use to suppress this? (Hearsay, Relevance, Opinion, Leading)
1) The witnesses will go in the order on the sheet.
2) The witnesses must stick to their affidavits.
3) Make your questions flow into one another
4) You will read the Opening Statement to the Jury(Prosecution only)
5) Always address the Judge as "Your Honor" and witnesses by their last name
6) Rules of Evidence
(Very simplified)
* NOTE - During a Grand Jury, Hearsay is Allowed. But it will not be here.
A witness may not repeat something that someone else told to him/her
This includes written information. There are several exceptions, but the only ones needed here are:
Party Opponent Exception - If the person repeats something that one of the defendants said.
Prior Statement Exception - The other witness has already testified at the trial and said the same thing your witness is about to repeat
Not intended to prove truth of matter herein - If the person is simply stating that the person said something, but is not trying to prove what the person said.
IF THE OTHER SIDE OBJECTS and WINS, you may not ask the question, go onto the next one.

Is this relevant to the case?
Attorneys frequently use this one to try to suppress something by trying to make it seem that its not relevant, even though it may be.
IF THE OTHER SIDE OBJECTS you need to argue why it is relevant. Sometimes this means giving away a bit of your strategy such as: "Your Honor, this will show that the defendant lied about where he was that night."
IF YOU WIN, read the question. IF YOU LOSE, go onto the next one.

A witness may not give his/her opinion on a matter unless he/she is considered an expert.
For example: A Doctor can testify about what may have caused an injury, but a regular person can not. There are common sense things though that anyone may say.
Such as: "Well I knew the TV was on because I could see the light flickering.."
HOWEVER, nobody can give an opinion on whether or not the defendant is guilty. That is called The Ultimate Question Objection

On Direct you can not ask questions that lead the witness into an answer. Such as: "You were home that night weren't you?" IF YOU GET OBJECTED LOSE , rephrase: "What were you doing that night?"
On cross you can use leading questions.
a) Prosecution - on behalf of the people of Earth
Attorney#1 - [direct, Fmr.President of United States Harry S. Truman, Fmr. US Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Fmr. Los Alamos Lab Director  J. Robert Oppenheimer]
Attorney#2 - [ Direct Fmr. Japanese Minster of War Korechika Anami, Fmr. Japanese Prime Minister  Suzuki Kantaro]
Attorney #3 - [Direct Fmr. US Major Thomas Ferebee, (witness not on trial) US Scientist Leo Szilard]
Stick to the script.
For example - Oppenheimer says - " In Nov. 1942 I was appointed Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, which would design and construct the atomic bomb, by General Leslie Groves. I was anxious to use my skills to support the war and I found the project to be "technically sweet" I was also an advisor to the Target Committee, which recommended Japanese targets for the atomic bombs."
So ask - When were you appointed Director?
What was the goal of the Los Alamos Center?
Did you support the war?
Did you participate in recommending targets?
and so on and so on.

Here's the basic theory:
Truman ordered it, Stimson advised him to do it, Oppenheimer made it, Ferebee delivered it. Also, Truman backed the Japanese into a corner by creating too harsh an ultimatum at Potsdam and not letting them know he had the bomb. For the other side Anami would never surrender and Suzuki should have surrendered after Hiroshima. Both men left their people open to the attack. Only Oppenheimer said he wished they hadn't used it.
Ask Szilard and Yamaguchi to just go over what they said kind of like a speech.


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. Today we have a unique opportunity. We get to finally bring to justice the murderers of over a quarter million people. 250,000 people dead because of the actions of these men.
Its very simple. President Truman ordered the bombings. Secretary of War Stimson advised him to do it. Professor Oppenheimer created the weapon, and Major Ferebee delivered it. War Minister Anami refused to save his people by surrendering, and Prime Minister Suzuki looked down the face of destruction and decided his political career was more important than the lives of the residents of Nagasaki.
Furthermore, President Truman refused to listen to advice that would have made the Japanese more willing to surrender, and instead insisted on a harsh surrender which he knew the Japanese would never agree to. He boxed them into a corner and then he slammed the door shut! Never mind that after the bombings he agreed to the very issue the people of Japan wanted - namely the saving of the Emperor. Why did he agree after he had killed 150,000 in two days, not before?
Simple, President Truman, Secretary Stimson, Professor Oppenheimer, Major Ferebee, War Minster Anami, and Prime Minister Suzuki wanted death before honor. Their egos contributed to the unnecessary death of these people and opened the floodgates to the Cold War.
We ask that you return an indictment of ________________ against these 6 men. You will hear their testimony. You will hear President Truman call the Japanese people beasts, you will hear of the destruction that Major Ferebee witnessed as he rained down terror on the people of Hiroshima. We will call two other witnesses, one, the man who created the weapon in the first place, who pleaded with the President to be moral and just. Another, a man who was 14 at the time of the attack. Who knew none of this, yet suffered tremendously because world leaders did not care about his life, only their power.
The decision is in your hands. Make it wisely.

 b) Defense
Attorney #4- [cross Truman, Stimson]
Attorney#5 - [cross Anami, Suzuki]
Attorney #6- [cross Ferebee, Oppenheimer, Szilard]
Stick to the script.
For example - Oppenheimer says - " In Nov. 1942 I was appointed Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, which would design and construct the atomic bomb, by General Leslie Groves. I was anxious to use my skills to support the war and I found the project to be "technically sweet" I was also an advisor to the Target Committee, which recommended Japanese targets for the atomic bombs."
So ask questions like: Who appointed you?
Were you under orders?
Did you pick the targets or were you an advisor?


Here's the basic theory
Truman was trying to save more lives by avoiding invasion and was acting on advice. Stimson tried to get the President to make surrender easier for the Japanese, but since he wouldn't he followed the same line of thinking as Truman. Oppenheimer was a scientist - do you arrest gun makers when their guns are used in crimes? Ferebee was following orders and had no idea how massive the bomb was, he was also repentant. From the Japanese side, Anami refused to surrender just as any other soldier would, Suzuki tried to surrender but based on the Potsdam Declaration he could never do it.
Its ok to pin the blame on each of your defendants. ie. Stimson tried to get Truman to change on Potsdam, Truman was acting on Stimson's advice on the bomb. Suzuki would have surrendered but Truman made it too difficult
When you cross examine, ask leading questions such as:
Isn't it true that you were under orders to drop the bomb?
Would I be correct in saying that you were just the maker of the bomb?
Did you not express sorrow after you realized what had happened?
c) Judge
Will keep order in the hearing. Ask lawyers for witnesses, etc.

d) Characters
7 characters to play the roles listed above: will need to research information on your person in order to answer the questions Be sure to read your information at (this is where you will find the affidavits) and also look at other cites or books to help your character. You will be graded on how well you portray your character in the trial.

e) Jury

Remainder of class will be listening to the trial and rendering a verdict.
Complete the activity below, before the court date: JURY FORM
Go to and answer the following questions - ON A SEPARATE SHEET.
Click on the Next Button at the bottom of each page. Each slide is about 1 page
1) What were the radioactive elements in each bomb.
2) IN Hiroshima, what percentage of the deaths were military men?
3) What occurred 30-40 years after exposure to the bomb? (see graph)
4) Were there any effects of birth defects for exposed women?
5) Identify some diseases that have been linked to the A-bomb.
You will listen to each of the 6 suspects as the evidence is presented to you by the Prosecutor. You will also hear from 1 witness, who are not on trial. Each suspect will be given an opportunity to be defended by their attorney. This is a luxury not afforded most grand jury suspects.
Your job is to return an INDICTMENT listing
a) The charge - mass murder, genocide, crime against humanity, murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or NO CHARGE
b) A separate listing for each individual
c) WHY.
You will be graded on how well you listen, deliberate, and decide on a verdict.
7. The trial process
Opening Statement for prosecution : 1 minute
Opening Statement for defense: 1 minute
Prosecution Examine Truman: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Truman: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Stimpson: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Truman: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Oppenheimer: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Oppenheimer: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Anami: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Anami: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Kantaro: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Kantar: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Ferebee: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Ferebee: 2 minutes
Prosecution Examine Szilard: 2 minutes
Defense Examine Szilard: 2 minutes
Closing Statement prosecution: 1 minute
Closing Statement defense: 1 minute
Jury Deliberation: 10 minutes
8. Grading (to be done by teacher)
  • Rubric will be established for each role.