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American War Generals

Inspire Students to Learn More about Modern U.S. Military History

Photo: Military helicopters and tanks in stirred up dust.

The "first" Gulf War broke out as Iraq invaded the neighboring nation of Kuwait. This provoked military intervention from Kuwait's allies, including the United States. Here, the 7th Cavalry conducts training exercises during the Gulf War.

Photograph by Steve Raymer, National Geographic

Relive a half century of American military history through the first-person accounts of ten of the U.S. Army's most significant living generals. Their never-before-heard stories take us through the big changes that have transformed the U.S. military. From the first troops to enter Vietnam to the last combat troops to exit Afghanistan, their stories explain the critical personal experiences that shaped their lives and the way they approached modern warfare.

After viewing the film, use the resources on this page to engage students with decision-making strategies and relevant reference materials and to explore the regional geography of areas of war.


Watch the Film

American War Generals

American War Generals  

The National Geographic Channel gathered 11 active and retired U.S. Army generals for American War Generals, a first-of-its-kind look back at a half century of America’s military battles told by the men that led them. 


Teach About It

Use these materials to teach about the geography of key conflicts in U.S. Military history

Kennedy’s Presidential Leadership and Cuba

Kennedy’s Presidential Leadership and Cuba  

Students will examine the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis to evaluate Kennedy’s leadership toward Cuba during the Cold War.

The Geography of Afghanistan

The Geography of Afghanistan  

Introduce students to the physical and human features of Afghanistan with this lesson which includes reference material, videos, and maps.

Languages as a Key to Understanding Afghanistan's Cultures

Languages as a Key to Understanding Afghanistan's Cultures  

This article contrasts the various means of expression in any language, describes the development and current use of the variety of languages spoken in Afghanistan today, and examines the challenges inherent in the multilingual character of this society.

What History Can Teach Us about Contemporary Afghanistan

What History Can Teach Us about Contemporary Afghanistan  

Through an overview of Afghanistan’s history from the 18th century to the present, the author asserts that common beliefs about Afghanistan’s history are refuted by careful consideration of the realities of long years of peace and stability.


Maps

Use these maps to explore the areas of conflict featured in the film. Print and download these maps, and add the location of significant battles for the U.S. military and the opposition. Use mapping skills to add information that will help students understand local resources, political boundaries, and regional topography.


The Generals

Learn more about the generals featured in American War Generals and listen to four-star general Colin Powell speak.

Meet the Generals

Meet the Generals  

Learn more about the generals that are featured in the film.

Colin Powell on TED

Colin Powell on TED  

Colin Powell discusses why kids need the gift of a good start and structure.


Learn More

Explore more of the U.S. Military history with these resources

The 80's: The Decade that Made Us

The 80's: The Decade that Made Us  

What ELSE was happening around the world during the 1980's?

A Nation Goes to War

A Nation Goes to War  

Eric Draper recalls 'the most intense moment' in his role as White House photographer.

Fall of Saigon

Fall of Saigon  

On April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended as North Vietnamese troops captured the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon.

Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook

Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook  

Learn about each country's geography, people, economy, and more.