Definition of scorched earth policy in US English:

scorched earth policy


  • A military strategy of burning or destroying buildings, crops, or other resources that might be of use to an invading enemy force.

    • ‘For starters, Buller opposed farm burning, a war policy perfected and refined by Field-Marshall Kitchener, who introduced the scorched earth policy, in which everything was razed, including fruit trees planted by farmers.’
    • ‘With the chivalrous concept of war cast aside and the scorched earth policy of the Russians extended to the burning of Moscow, Napoleon was uncharacteristically beset by indecision once he took up residence in the Kremlin.’
    • ‘Therefore, it becomes a prudent idea not to practice scorched earth policies when besieging an enemy city.’
    • ‘As Peter withdrew, he used a scorched earth policy destroying anything that might be of value to an advancing army.’
    • ‘He comes across as an ambivalent figure, despicable for his favoured status with Hitler, but almost heroic when he disobeys Hitler's orders to follow a scorched earth policy that would have killed many innocent Germans.’
    • ‘‘Most of the targeted violence resulted from a scorched earth policy which was adopted by armed militias,’ Mr Annan said.’
    • ‘He refused to implement his orders for a scorched earth policy as German forces retreated into the Reich, leaving much of Germany's new military industries to help with the post-war economic revival.’
    • ‘And if invading soldiers took wrecking balls to hospitals and schools, broke into chemical works and spread toxins all over the country, it would appear to be some brutal scorched earth policy.’
    • ‘However that may be, Australia will, if invaded, fight to the last man and will apply the scorched earth policy.’
    • ‘He introduced, in the course of those wars, the practice of a scorched earth policy.’
    • ‘It was Kitchener who changed this policy to a scorched earth policy, in which everything was razed, including fruit trees planted by farmers.’


scorched earth policy

/skôrCHt ərTH ˈpäləsē//skɔrtʃt ərθ ˈpɑləsi/