(I’m not sure if this is a valid question here†, as the phrase is arguably not common enough to be classed as a fixed expression.)

Is there an ascertainable origin of Peace Through Superior Firepower?

It’s most probably a derivation of “peace through strength”; there are citations of its first appearance in a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Wikipedia only knows a music DVD by this title, Urban Dictionary cites no quotes, and while image seaches yield many gatling guns and patches with this slogan, Quora references a removed Wikipedia entry (lack of sources) and a 2001 novel by John Ringo.

Even though this is perhaps impossible to answer definitively, it’d be interesting to know if say Star Trek writers first came up with this motto.

† … or if it’s rather suitable at scifi, asking: “Was Star Trek the first to come up with ~?”

‡ There are hundreds of thousands of web results, but incomparable ngram graphs.

  • 1
    This book was puublished 1981, and describes George Wallace's opinions...so that must mean going back to the 60s or 70s at least. Jun 24, 2022 at 16:02
  • Strength is an attribute with unlimited application. Fire power is an attribute with a very limited application. If the fire-power phrase derived from the strength one, then it must have been done as a spoof.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 24, 2022 at 18:43
  • It seems the distinction has long been recognised - "The phrase and the concept date to ancient times. Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 76–138) is said to have sought "peace through strength or, failing that, peace through threat."[2] Hadrian's Wall was a symbol of the policy.[3] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_through_strength
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 24, 2022 at 19:11
  • A notable example is Ricco Frost's shirt in Aliens (1986).
    – Laurel
    Mar 21 at 23:58

2 Answers 2


“Peace Through Superior Firepower”

In cases like this, Google Ngram is sometimes helpful, however it is not definitive.

enter image description here

As you can see, the earliest usage in print in English as a phrase probably dates back to the late 1970s, but it may have been used as a shibboleth in jingoistic rhetoric before that.

For example, I found a quote on Google books going back to early 1970s referring to a bumper sticker issued by Brown's Magazine.

There may be more obscure references which are only viewable on pay-walled sources.


It's in Point Break (1991), in the van, right before the robbery.

The only other reference with this that I know of is Cradle of Flith's live DVD from 2005.

  • This is 20 years after the example given in the other answer.
    – Laurel
    Mar 22 at 0:01

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