phony war

(also phoney war) n
a situation in which two or more countries have officially declared war but have not yet started to fight. The best-known phony war was the first six months of World War II. Britain and France declared war against Germany in September 1939, but did not send any soldiers to fight until Germany attacked Denmark and Norway in April 1940
: (fig)

The President spoke of the need for a real war, not a phony war, against drugs.

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(1939–40) Early months of World War II, marked by no major hostilities.

The term was coined by journalists to derisively describe the six-month period (October 1939–March 1940) during which no land operations were undertaken by the Allies or the Germans after the German conquest of Poland in September 1939.

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Universalium. 2010.

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