War nerves

war of nerves

noun
a conflict using psychological techniques, as propaganda, threats, and false rumors, rather than direct violence, in order to confuse, thwart, or intimidate an enemy.

Origin:
1935–40

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war of nerves
 
n
the use of psychological tactics against an opponent, such as shattering his morale by the use of propaganda

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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