There are a couple of sites that show the quote "You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass." attributed to Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto are bogus--except for the pro-gun sites that go around quoting it...
Anyway, beside the fact that invading the US would be a logistical nightmare (just look at all the work that went into D-Day), they would like to think that a nation that invaded China during the "age of War Lords" (which as Matthew White points out should clue you in that it was a pistol packer's paradise). So, they offer some serious nonsense as to why they didn't attack the US mainland as an argument for unrestricted access to firearms...
But this quote 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.
How do we know? We contacted Donald M. Goldstein, sometimes called "the dean of Pearl Harbor historians." Among his many books are "The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans" (1993) and the best-selling "At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor" (1981). He is a professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He told us the supposed Yamamoto quote is "bogus."
In an exchange of e-mails he said:
Prof. Goldstein: 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] but no one had ever seen it or cited it from where they got it. Some people say that it came from our work but I never said it. … As of today it is bogus until someone can cite when and where.We included this in an update to an Ask FactCheck item we posted May 10, debunking an error-filled "gun history lesson" circulating by e-mail.
We make no argument either for or against gun ownership. But we do object to fabricating quotes and passing them off as historical fact.
Posted by Brooks Jackson on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm Filed under The FactCheck Wire. tagged with social issues.
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