Escalation (20TH CENTURY)

A theory of war which asserts that in military encounters there is a tendency (which can be checked or avoided) for each action by one side to be met by a more violent response by the other. Hence a conventional war can escalate into a nuclear one.

David Robertson, The Penguin Dictionary of Politics (London, 1986)

Escalation is the process of increasing or rising, derived from the concept of an escalator. Specific uses of the term include:

  • Cost escalation, an increase in the price of goods
  • Conflict escalation, an increase in the intensity of a conflict
  • Escalation of commitment, an aspect of game theory
  • Privilege escalation, a computer security process
  • Technological escalation, a technological version of an arms race


  • Escalation (1968 Italian film), a 1968 Italian film
  • Escalation (1968 animated film), a 1968 anti-Vietnam War animated cartoon, directed by Ward Kimball
  • Escalation Studios, an American video game developer

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