Desert Shield Desert Storm Thesis

Pages: 10 (3213 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … Desert Shield/Desert Storm (the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein in 1990). The Gulf War began in the oil fields of Iraq, and ended with the liberation of Kuwait by American and allied forces through the United Nations. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, which were forged by the Americans, became collectively known as the Gulf War, and much has been documented about the war since its' end.

What actually led up to the Gulf War was Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's desire to raise oil prices to help pay off massive debts his country had incurred during its' war with Iran. The Arab nations bordering Iraq did not support the plan to raise prices, and refused to go along with Hussein's plan. He thought that by entering Kuwait and defeating the country, he would gain access to their massive oil reserves, and save his country. He did not think about the world's reaction to his plan, and "At 0200 2 August 1990, the Iraqi Hammurabi Armored and Tawakalna Mechanized Divisions supported by Iraqi Special Forces and the Median Armored Division invaded their neighbor to the southeast, the sovereign nation of Kuwait."

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Immediately, the United Nations passed a resolution calling the invasion illegal and placing sanctions on Iraq. Iraqi forces were also massing along the Saudi Arabian border, indicating they planned to attack there, too. Then President George H.W. Bush put together ground, air, and sea forces to repel the Iraqi attack, and eventually 30 other allied countries joined in the attack, with another 18 sending aid in some form or another.

Operation Desert Shield was the five and a half month United States response to the invasion, moving a massive amount of military people and equipment into the area. Operation Desert Storm was the five-week assault on Iraq, driving them out of Kuwait and resulting in their surrender on February 28, 1991. The United States spearheaded these operations, and they indicated the mobility and strength of the country's military power.

Documents and Other Source Materials

Bush's Address to the Nation

TOPIC: Thesis on Desert Shield Desert Storm Assignment

On January 16, 1991, President George H.W. Bush addressed the nation regarding the Iraqi invasion. In his "Address to the Nation on the Invasion of Iraq (January 16, 1991)," he chronicles the steps the United Nations, the Arab League, and the United States had taken in an attempt to get Hussein to leave Kuwait peacefully. He shows how Hussein consistently ignored or rebuffed those overtures, and how the United States and other countries, including Great Britain and Canada, had been massing troops in the area, with the consent of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to invade and repel Iraqi forces in Kuwait. He also addresses sanctions, and how they had some effect, but they did not force Saddam out of Kuwait. He says, "While the world waited, Saddam sought to add to the chemical weapons arsenal he now possesses, an infinitely more dangerous weapon of mass destruction -- a nuclear weapon."

This speech is a clear and excellent example of a president taking his country into war with another country, and playing up the nuclear angle to gain the support of the American people, who were extremely wary of another war outside the country that people compared to Vietnam, and was the first major conflict since Vietnam. Bush and his speechwriters continually play on the atrocities Hussein's forces committed in Kuwait, including "maimed and murdered innocent children," and he quotes our brave fighting forces several times in an attempt to swell national pride and support. He ends his speech by saying, "Tonight, as our forces fight, they and their families are in our prayers. May God bless each and every one of them, and the coalition forces at our side in the Gulf, and may He continue to bless our nation, the United States of America."

This is a speech geared to stop argument, defend his position, and gain support for the invasion, and it largely did its' work, because many people supported the war, believing that chemical and nuclear weapons were at stake, and that American forces effectively destroyed them during the war.

The Whirlwind War

The Whirlwind War is a U.S. Army book detailing the war and its participation in the war. The book begins with an overview and background of the region and the reasons for tensions in the region, and it then chronicles the buildup of troops, masterminded by the United States, creating and expanding the shield, building the offensive, the offensive itself, the victory, and the aftermath of the war. Written by and for the U.S. Army, the document is a pro-Army look at the operations and decisions that led to the deployment of troops to the Gulf War. It is a history of the campaigns and fighting forces, but it is also a document designed to place the Army and its' leaders in a favorable light. For example, in one chapter, the authors state, "Cheney's directive unleashed what became the most concentrated and complex projection of American military power since World War 11."

Later they write, "Wherever they went in those initial attacks, Peay's troops achieved tactical surprise over the scattered and disorganized foe. By mid-afternoon they had a fast-growing group of stunned prisoners in custody."

This book involves opinion and speculation, something that most history books and source docs avoid, which reduces its credibility.

The book is a very detailed look at the operations and battles in Iraq and Kuwait, and it is a good source for anyone wanting to understand the detailed operations of the units fighting the Gulf War. However, they should weigh that with the fact that the book is clearly a promotional piece for the Army to show their successes in Iraq, and to place the Iraqi operations and dictator in a bad light. Near the end of the book they write, "Even as the men of the 3d Armored Division departed on 7 May, after providing nearly 1 million meals, over 1 million gallons of water, and 28,000 medical visits, they saw the children 'by the sand track, one hand tapping their teeth, another their stomachs in the universal refugee sign language for 'Give me food.'"

This excerpt indicates how the work is essentially a promotional piece, illustrating how many good deeds the Army accomplished in Iraq, but it does give some excellent descriptions of the action Army members faced in the country, and is a good history of the actual pre-invasion build-up and preparation for the attack, too. It also contains numerous illustrations and photos that identify many of the key players, and show much of the action on the ground. The photos may be one of the best aspects of this book, because there are so many of them, and they help the reader get a feel for what was going on in the air and on the ground in Iraq and Kuwait during the operations.

Operation Desert Shield

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: Chronology and Fact Book by Kevin Don Hutchison, in contrast, is a more neutral look into the operations and combat forces serving in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The author based his book on official source docs and reports available after the war, and he deems it "the most complete history of the war that will be available for years to come."

The author maintains he wanted to present the truth of the war and its activities, in chronological order, without discourse on politics or speculation on motives and desires. He wants to present a factual account of the war, and the book does accomplish this goal.

The book is laid out in a day-by-day format, somewhat like a diary, with entries written at the time they occurred in chronological order. For example, the author writes in the first pages of the book, "To the west, the Medina Armored Division screens any possible counterattack from the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Brigade. At 0530 the battle for Kuwait City begins, and by 1400 is over."

The book continues in this factual account of what happened throughout the campaigns, while showing what the U.S. military did in reaction to the attack on Kuwait. In another example, he writes of the opening moments of the attack on Iraq, when operation Desert Storm begins, "First Coalition missiles strike Iraqi early warning radar sites at 2339Z (Z or Z-time is Greenwich Mean time). They are fired by AH-64s led by M-H-53s. Operation Desert Storm begins at 0200 (local time). By 0230 Baghdad is under heavy attack." He also periodically notes how many troops are in the area and from which military organization, what ships and planes are fighting the war, and how many different divisions are engaging in the attack.

He follows each operation of the attack, noting commanding officers (on both sides, if the information is available), their maneuvers, and the outcome of the attacks. He does not offer personal commentary, he simply offers the information straightforwardly and succinctly, which he said was his purpose… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Desert Shield Desert Storm" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Desert Shield Desert Storm.  (2009, April 1).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Desert Shield Desert Storm."  1 April 2009.  Web.  24 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Desert Shield Desert Storm."  April 1, 2009.  Accessed October 24, 2021.