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Independence Is A Gun Behind Every Blade Of Grass

May 15, 2014


I would never invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass. — Admiral Yamamoto


We have no proof Yamamoto ever said the ‘blade of grass’ quote, but of course we don’t know that he never said it, either. Admiral Yamamoto was a graduate of Harvard and the US Naval War College, who spoke fluent English and would have encountered Americans’ love of self-defense living here in the early part of the 20th century.

He did say this, which is very near to the spirit of the other quote:

Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.
– Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II

Via Wikiquote:

It has been declared this attribution is “unsubstantiated and almost certainly bogus, even though it has been repeated thousands of times in various Internet postings. There is no record of the commander in chief of Japan’s wartime fleet ever saying it.”, according to Brooks Jackson in “Misquoting Yamamoto” at (11 May 2009), which cites Donald M. Goldstein, sometimes called “the dean of Pearl Harbor historians”, writing “I have never seen it in writing. It has been attributed to the Prange files [the files of the late Gordon W. Prange, chief historian on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur]”.

In a related story, the Chinese, of course, would like nothing better than for the United States to disarm its civilian population. The New York Times, also of course, agrees:

Private ownership of guns — whether pistols, rifles or shotguns — is almost unheard of in China. Handgun permits are sometimes (but rarely) given to people living in remote areas for protection against wild animals.