is the phenomenon of something getting more intense step by step, for example a quarrel, or, notably, military presence and nuclear armament during the Cold War
. (Compare to escalator
, a device that lifts something to a higher level.) The term is often said to be originally coined by Herman Kahn
in his 1965 work On Escalation
. While the OED
first used in that work, escalation
is recorded as early as 1938.
In psychology it is a change in behavior, usually from stable or acceptable towards unstable or unacceptable.
In early 2007, the term "escalation" was used to describe a troop increase mandated by president George W. Bush during the War in Iraq. The term was under contention for implying an increase in violence.