Supplemental Materials

Teacher's Guide for The Fog of War

An Errol Morris Film
Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature

The Teacher's Guide for The Fog of War provides a series of lesson plans to accompany Errol Morris' Academy Award wining full-length documentary.

Historical Context for The Fog of War

One to three-page summaries of some of the most defining moments in U.S. history provide students with a context for the film.

World War I

Strategic Bombing in World War II

Cold War

Cuban Missile Crisis

Vietnam War

Nuclear Weapons

Activity 2-"Rationality will not save us." The Case of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Critical correspondence from the Cuban missile crisis

Khrushchev letter to Kennedy – October 26, 1962

Khrushchev letter to Kennedy – October 27, 1962

Kennedy letter to Khrushchev – October 27, 1962

Castro's letter to Khrushchev – October 26, 1962

Activity 3- "Belief and seeing are both often wrong." The Tonkin Gulf

Case Study-The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
This case study provides a larger context for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution than appears in The Fog of War and its accompanying Teacher's Guide.

President Johnson's Message to Congress - August 5, 1964

Joint Resolution of Congress H.J. RES 1145 - August 7, 1964

McNamara's private memo to President Johnson - November 1, 1967

Notes of Meeting of Advisors - November 2, 1967

President Johnson's Memo to the File - December 18, 1967

War Powers Act - November 7, 1973

Activity 5-Just War and Proportionality

Further Reading:

Geneva Convention #4

May 1983 Pastoral Letter on War and Peace
U.S. Catholic Bishops [See the section on Just War criteria.]

Activity 7-Film as Media

Robert S. McNamara - Lessons for The Fog of War – Filmmaker Errol Morris derives eleven lessons from the life of Robert McNamara. Robert McNamara articulates a different list. Compare McNamara's own lessons with the lessons Errol Morris identifies.

An extensive selection of film reviews of The Fog of War is available online. Read what Errol Morris has to say about The Fog of War.

Filmmaker Errol Morris invented the "Interrotron" to capture one-on-one conversation without the distance created by the third person (the camera).


McNamara, Robert S. and Blight, James G. Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing and Catastrophe in the 21st Century (expanded paperback edition, PublicAffairs, 2003).

McNamara, Robert S. In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (Times Books, 1995);

McNamara, Robert S. and Blight, James G. and Brigham, Robert K. (with contributions by Thomas J. Biersteker and Col. Herbert Y. Schandler), Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (PublicAffairs, 1999).

The National Security Archives provide declassified documents on a wide range of topics.