I’m wondering how many examples in history there have been of an armed civilian population being a factor in deterring a military invasion by another country (as opposed to a militia/partisans hindering an invasion once it’s started). It would obviously be one factor in many and possibly a small one, but do we know of many cases?
I’ve been looking up two such examples; a probably apocryphal quote said supposedly to the German Kaisar by a Swiss when asked what they would do if the German army invaded; “Shoot twice and go home.” Operation Tannenbaum, the Nazi invasion of Switzerland, was eventually called off for reasons unknown.
There’s also a quote misattributed to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto; “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”. Wiki says this is bogus, but he did say “To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House.”; he goes on to state the difficulty of this, possibly thinking of the theme in spirit.
The Japanese did attempt to invoke this trope, arming civilians with bamboo spears and awls (!). However if push came to shove it wouldn’t have deterred America.