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
  • On January 12, 1991, the U.S. Congress voted to allow military action against Iraq for its annexation of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, had sent Iraqi troops to occupy the neighboring state of Kuwait in August 1990, a move that upset the international community. In fact, by the time Congress approved the use of military force, President George H.W. Bush had already sent more than 500,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region. Bush approved the Congressional resolution two days later, and within the week, the U.S. officially entered the Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Storm.

    The Gulf War, which lasted about six months, resulted in the removal of Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait. Roughly 30,000 people, military and civilian, lost their lives in the conflict.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    annex Verb

    to add or incorporate land into an existing parcel, state, or nation.

    civilian Noun

    person who is not in the military.

    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    Congress Noun

    legislative branch of the government, responsible for making laws. The U.S. Congress has two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    troop Noun

    a soldier.