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Frontline

The Gulf War (Pt. 1) (#1407)

The first part of this two-program series investigates what really happened during the invasion of Kuwait, the months of diplomatic maneuvering, the air war and ground assault. The show is built around dozens of interviews with key political and military leaders in the United States, its allies, and Iraq, as well as soldiers on both sides of the front line. Key interviews include General Norman Schwarzkopf, General Colin Powell, former secretary of state James Baker, former defense secretary Richard Cheney, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Hosni Mubarek of Egypt, Jordan's King Hussein, and Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir. In this episode, the program focuses on the political climate in Iraq before the Gulf War and how these conditions led to war. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein believed the United States would not do anything about his attack on Kuwait, thinking local Arabs would not work with the United States and that the United States would be reluctant to fight a war similar to the Vietnam conflict. For President Bush's staff, the Gulf War is seen as the first test of the American promise for a post-Cold War world order. Hussein is viewed as another Hitler, due to the extreme violence against the Kuwaitis and his desire to take over other Arab oil fields. After building international support and after the U.N. deadline for the Iraqi retreat passed, the air war began. The program details the air war with airmen interviews and video of their attacks. It became clear that the war could not be won by air power alone; a land army would have to be involved to win the war. Note: This series, which originally aired in 1996 on the fifth anniversary of the Gulf War, takes a historical look at the events surrounding the war. The programs capture such current leaders as Colin Powell and Dick Cheney in their roles during the 1991 conflict. [116 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
9-12
Curricular Areas
Social Studies
Series Length
343 episodes
Average Episode Length
68 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
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Series Description: As PBS' premier public affairs series, FRONTLINE's stature is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human, social and political experience.

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These episodes of Frontline aired in the last few months on Iowa Public Television.

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