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massive retaliation

a strategy of military counterattack that involves the use of nuclear weapons.
Origin of massive retaliation
1950-55, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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massive-retaliation in Culture

massive retaliation definition

The doctrine that the best way to deter aggression is to threaten a potential aggressor with devastation by atomic bombs. (See hawks and doves.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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