A quote often associated with Hermann Göring, (Jan 12, 1893-Oct. 15, 1946) a member of the Nazi party who was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials.

The original quote was not actually from Göring, but from Act 1, Scene 1 of Hanns Johst's play Schlageter, which was performed in 1933 for Adolf Hitler's birthday. The original line was: "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!" which means "When I hear "culture" I release the safety catch on my Browning!"

The phrase Göring is said to have been fond of is the slightly modified "When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun." Or sometimes "When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my Browning." Perhaps he modified the quote for his own usage, or over the years, translation has become garbled.

The quote has been modified to suit various purposes in recent times. See: "When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my checkbook" and "When I hear of Schrödinger's Cat I reach for my gun."