Beyond Broadcast


Introduction to FRONTLINE's Gulf War Series

Divided into two, two-hour programs, this series is a comprehensive overview of the Gulf War. The series looks at why and how the United States became involved and gives viewers an understanding of what the war was like from those who mapped its strategic campaign and those who fought its battles. The programs features first-hand accounts of the war with key political and military leaders in the U.S., in the Allied Coalition, and Iraq, as well as soldiers on both sides of the front line. From the perspective of ordinary soldiers and airmen--military leaders like Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell--and policymakers in the Bush White House--"The Gulf War" provides an authoritative history of the largest U.S. combat operation since World War II.

Part I examines the misunderstandings that blinded the U.S. to Saddam Hussein's intentions to invade Kuwait, the struggles inside the U.S. government about how to respond to the invasion, President Bush's diplomatic and domestic political maneuvering to form an international coalition and to gain American support for going to war, and ends with the devastating air war against Baghdad. The first episode sheds new light on the backstage struggles during the first phase of the war, including revealing information on the Scud missile attacks on Israel, the Iraqi invasion of Khafji, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. bombing of a civilian air-raid shelter in Baghdad.

Part II focuses on decisions and tensions inside the U.S. military high command during the one-hundred-hour ground war and chronicles how the stunning victory over Iraq--after just six weeks of war--was shadowed by the war's ragged ending. The second episode details the rivalries between Coalition force leaders and the dissent among commanders of the American military and how the post-war rebellion inside Iraq raised the specter of U.S. involvement in another no-win situation like Vietnam.

Watching these films, your students will see how the troops and commmanders employed an arsenal of high-tech weaponry but struggled with its battlefield carnage. You'll also learn why the legacy of Vietnam deeply shaped the way this war was fought.

Use the programs, this guide, and FRONTLINE's "The Gulf War" web site to explore the many different aspects of the Gulf War as well as the role of war in society throughout history.



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