To Bomb or Not To Bomb?
An Internet WebQuest on the Atomic Bomb

created by Jason Emory

Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


The United States' decision to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II was one of the most controversial actions ever undertaken in the history of modern warfare. Opinions vary greatly as to whether or not the United States was justified in using the bomb. Some say that dropping the bomb actually saved lives because it prevented the United States from having to invade Japan which would have resulted in massive deaths and casualties. Others feel that that by dropping a bomb that we knew would level the cities and kill hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, the United States committed a horrible act. Your task it to decide if the use of the atomic bomb was the best course of action for the United States.

The Quest

Should the United States have used the atomic bomb against Japan?

The Process and Resources

You will be working in groups to answer the Quest(ion). You will be exploring various Websites to find information about the United States' decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan during World War II. It is important that you take multiple points of view into account to help provide a more complete picture historical events. To achieve this goal, you will be examining the Quest(ion) from different perspectives.

But first, let's get some background information on the atomic bomb and the United States' decision to use it during World War II.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

To make sure that everyone is on the same page, click on the following link. It will give you a brief overview of the history, development, and use of the atomic bomb. After reading this you should be able to think critically about the Quest(ion).

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives


1. Choose one of the perspectives below to explore.

2. Access the links for your perspective. Either print them out and underline the important passages or copy and paste important sections into a word processor.

3. Write down or copy and paste the URL of the file that you take the passage from if you need to refer to it later.

4. Remember which perspective you have chosen, and try to form an opinion on the Ques(tion) using the informaton from the links.

U.S. Soldier

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to U.S. Soldier:

1. How would you feel about being sent to invade Japan?

2. Do you think the invasion would been successfull?

Japanese Bombing Survivor

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Japanese Bombing Survivor:

1. What was it like after the bomb was dropped?

2. If Japan had developed the atomic bomb first, should they have used it against the United States?

American Scientist

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to American Scientist:

1. Should all scientific advances be used for military purposes?

2. What are the advantages of using the atomic bomb? What are the disadvantages?

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all explored the decision to use the atomic bomb from a different point of view. You must now put these different perspectives together to answer the Quest(ion) as a group. Use what you found in the Webpages you explored to convince your group of importance of your position. Although you will not all agree, the group must write out an answer that everyone in the group feels is appropriate.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

Now that you have reached a consensus opinion on the atomic bomb, it is time to get some real-world feedback from other people who have an opinion on the subject. As a group you are going to draft a statement of your opinion to post online. Here is the process:

1. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

2. Have each person on the team proofread the message.

3. Go to the link below. Choose the post icon. Use the guest post option and submit your statement to the Website.

Your Contact is: The Fence


As you can see examining a historical topic such as the United States' use of the atomic bomb from different perspectives gave us different opinions about that topic. Recognizing and exploring multiple perspectives is important because it allows us to see more than just one side of history. In your groups you put toghether or synthesized the information gathered from you individual perspectives to form one opinion or view about the atomic bomb. If your group had only been exposed to one perspective, your opinion would have been very different from the one that you hammered out and eventually posted. What other perspectives on the use of the atomic bomb could you explore? How would they reinforce or reshape your opinion? The more perspectives you take into account, the more your own view of history changes. The possibilities are endless.

 created by Filamentality Content by Jason Emory,
Last revised Tue Jun 19 14:38:52 US/Pacific 2001