"Shock and awe" citations

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Mar 23 05:34:29 UTC 2003

>    Some of those 1996 and later citations mentioned the Gulf
> War, but no, I didn't find it before the 1996 book.  People
> did use the phrase (non-military use), however, before 1996.
> For example:

I would imagine that the three-word combination "shock and awe" has appeared
on numerous occasions, but it's not the same thing as the military term.

The text of the Ullman & Wade book is on the web,

Ullman & Wade don't credit anyone else with the phrase. The phrase is
capitalized throughout, "Shock and Awe." Also, the first time the phrase
appears in the introduction, it is in quotation marks, "the principal
mechanism for achieving this dominance is through imposing sufficient
conditions of 'Shock and Awe' on the adversary to convince or compel it to
accept our strategic aims and military objectives." This leads me to think
it's original to the authors.

I've seen various claims attributing the phrase to Clausewitz, but as far as
I can tell he never used the term. Clausewitz does refer to "shock" quite
often and the Ullman and Wade book is very Clausewitzian, but he doesn't use
the term in combination with "awe." Like "fog of war," this is another
phrase attributed to Clausewitz that he never used.

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