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Online Class: The Gulf War

Historical Studies Picture
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Course Description

In 1990-1991, the United States of America, under President George H. W. Bush, along with several allied nations launched a massive military operation in the tiny nation of Kuwait at the northern boundary of the Persian Gulf. This was the first war following Viet Nam in which America was actively involved in a combat role. Indeed, the United States played a key part in organizing, funding, building, executing, and maintaining the war. It was a historic confrontation in that it was the most widely-seen war in history, covered heavily on television, radio, internet, and other media outlets across the globe.

Beginning with Operation Desert Shield, which yielded to the much larger Operation: Desert Storm, this conflict became known as the First Gulf War. This course will examine the history and setting of the Gulf War, the motivations for fighting it, the strategies and tactics that were used, and the battles that were fought. In addition, an examination of how the Gulf War changed the nature of war, the reaction to the conflict at home, and dealing with the aftermath will be undertaken to provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of the conflagration.

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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Course Lessons

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Lesson 1: Setting the Stage: A Very Brief History of the Middle East, Part I

This lesson provides part one of a brief history of the region, beginning with the geographical location of Kuwait and Iraq. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Brief Middle East History; Imperial History of the Middle East; Timeline of History of the Middle East
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: Setting the Stage: A Very Brief History of the Middle East, Part II

This lesson examines the various religious sects within Islam and also provides a political background that lead to the Iran-Iraq War and, ultimately, the Persian Gulf War at the end of the 20th century. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: The Difference between the Sunnis and the Shiites; Understanding the conflict- Sunnis vs. Shiites; Sufi
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: The Nations of Iraq and Kuwait: Their Geography and History

This lesson will examine the geographical features and relevant historical details for each country, beginning with Iraq. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: Exploring the History of Kuwait; Facts about Kuwait; Iraq History Timeline; Iraq's Rich and Diverse History
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Major Players - Who's Who in the Gulf War

This lesson introduces briefly some of the major players in the Gulf War and explains their importance relative to the events related to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s. 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review Article: Major Actors in the Gulf War
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Gulf War & Middle East Glossary, Part I

This lesson provides basic definitions for a number of organizations, philosophies, regions, and other terms relevant to our study of the Gulf War. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Acronyms and Terms Used During the Gulf War; Persian Gulf Vocabulary
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Gulf War and Middle East Glossary, Part II

This lesson continues the essential definitions of Middle East and Gulf War terminology begun in the previous lesson. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Glossary; Middle East Glossary
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Saddam Hussein: The Leader of Iraq

Saddam Hussein was and what his motivations were for invading the tiny nation of Kuwait. This lesson examines the role of this nefarious leader up to the beginning of the Gulf War. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: Iran-Iraq War; Map of the Iran-Iraq War; Saddam Hussein's 'Official' Biography; Saddam Hussein Life and Death
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Israel, Oil, Terrorism, and Hostages: The Decade Before the Storm

Beginning in the late 1970s and running through the decade of the 1980s, the situation in the Middle East really began to intensify. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini; Lebanese Civil War; Reexamination of the Iran Hostage Crisis; Timeline of the state of Israel
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Saddam's Battle Plan: Rationale and Weaponry

This lesson will provide an overview of Saddam's rationale for the war, as well as the types of weapons he would employ from his arsenal. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Iraq invades Kuwait; Several Reasons why Saddam invaded Kuwait; Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: A New Breed of Soldier, A New Kind of War

This lesson takes a look at the new American soldiers, their equipment, and the aspects of the Persian Gulf War that redefined the way modern wars would be fought. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: An in-depth examination of the Gulf War; Gulf War Syndrome; Gulf War Weapons; Citizen-Soldier
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: The Iraqi Invasion

This lesson describes the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, as well as America's rationale for getting involved. 79 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Archive Article: "Iraq Invades Kuwait -- Saddam's Goal: Higher Oil Prices More Say In Opec"; Why did Iraq Invade Kuwait?; The War in Iraq
  • Complete Assignment: America gets involved in the Middle East
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12: The United States Mobilizes

This lesson examines the political debate in the United States regarding whether to get involved in the Persian Gulf. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: George H.W. Bush Address to the Nation on invasion; Opinion article: Why the Gulf War served the National Interest"; Saudi Arabia's Security Perception and Policies; Inside the Kuwaiti Resistance
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13: Operation Desert Shield

This lesson discusses the various aspects of Operation Desert Shield and how it was gradually changed from a defensive to an offensive measure (i.e., Operation Desert Storm). 26 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Glossary: Operation Desert Shield; Start of the Gulf War video:; Timeline for Operation Desert Shield
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14: Operation Desert Storm, Part I: Setting the Stage

This lesson details the naval blockade of Iraq and the opening salvos of what would become Operation Desert Storm--the proactive phase of the Gulf War. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Review 4 Articles: Military Operations for Desert Storm; The National Security Archive on Operation Desert Storm; Blockade as an Act of War; General Norman Schwarzkopf
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Exam

Lesson 15: Operation Desert Storm, Part II: Air War

This lesson recounts the major battles and events of Operation Desert Storm. 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Air Force Fact Sheets; Iraqi Air Defense Equipment
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Exam

Lesson 16: Operation Desert Storm, Part III: Ground War

It was time to implement phase two of Operation Desert Storm: the ground war. This lesson details the major events and battles of this final phase of the war. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video
  • Review Article: Ground War for Operation Desert Storm
  • Review 2 Videos: Video: Bush Announces Ground War; Video: Operation Desert Storm Ground War
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Exam

Lesson 17: The End of the War, the Media, and the Aftermath

This lesson will cover the details of the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, as well as the unique media coverage that made this war a uniquely modern one. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 17 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: 10 Years After the Gulf War; Aftermath of the Gulf War-
  • Review Video: Video of George H.W. Bush Address on the End of the Gulf War
  • Complete: Lesson 17 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 17 Exam

Lesson 18: Appendix: General Timeline of the Gulf War. Works Sited.

Appendix & works sited. 52 Total Points
  • Lesson 18 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Key Players; The Gulf War: A Chronology
  • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: The Gulf War
Course Number: 7550444
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
CEU Value: 1.6 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: C. Michael McKenna
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $75.00

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Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know the reasons and evidence for going to war.
  • Know the history and conflicts of the nations involved.
  • Identify who's who in the gulf war.
  • Describe Saddam Hussein.
  • Describe the history leading up to the war, including the role of Israel, oil, terrorism, and hostages.
  • Describe Saddam's battle plan.
  • Know the Iraqi invasion.
  • Operation Desert Shield
  • Know Operation Desert Shield.
  • Know Operation Desert Storm.
  • Know the end of the war, the media, and the aftermath, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Student Testimonials

  • "This course helped me to have a clearer understanding of the complex situations in the Middle East...the history of terrorism and the Gulf War were my 2 favorite lessons...." -- Evelyne B.

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