Yongusil 7: Woodrow Wilson Center Archive
As suggested in the first Yongusil post of this series, it is not that historical data or published information on North Korea derived from deep research or possessed of an empirical focus is scant or simply does not exist. Rather, the problem seems to be its diffuse and hidden nature. The JPRS archive addressed in Sino-NK’s Yongusil 6, for instance, is a rich repository of not only the analysis of the U.S. intelligence community relating to North Korea, but also extensive translations of KCNA and Rodong Sinmun output during a period from which that material is now otherwise completely inaccessible.
North Korean History, Declassified | If you are among those who might question whether such a database is inherently compromised by virtue of its ideological and institutional locale within the United States defense and intelligence communities, it is still possible to garner the opinion and analysis of the opposing side, though we must rely again on institutions of the United States for our glimpse into this field. (We will later in the Yongusil: External Series focus on material held by the Russian Academy of Sciences Far Eastern Division for some balance.) Specifically, this post seeks to point the reader in the direction of the esteemed Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Revealing Remnants from the Cold War | The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an academic and analytical center, researches an enormous variety of world issues. Within the Wilson Center’s remit is the fascinating and extensive archive of the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP). This project became the analytical repository for a vast collection of material sourced from the Foreign Ministry archives of a number of ex-Communist nations as those nations opened up in the early 1990’s and allowed academics access to their internal documentation. One of the great collections of material focusing on North Korean international relationships was held by the Hungarian government and the CWIHP supported one scholar, Balazs Salontai, to construct one of the first studies of this material. His output, the groundbreaking book “Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Role of North Korean Despotism” and the archival material from which he constructed it are still hosted within the archive, as are a number of other analyses of the archives and documentation of other nations. The project also serves as a home for Charles Kraus, an analyst of China’s borderland regions as well as a supporter and co-founder of Sino-NK.
Also of note, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts the North Korean International Documentation Project (NKIDP). This project hosts a panoply of useful material, both historical and contemporary, for the analyst of North Korea, and publishes a renowned series of digital dossiers containing extensive documentation of North Korean affairs throughout its history. Sino-NK has had a number of connections with the project and it is currently hosting documentation of the relationship between Radical African-American political movements and North Korea in the 1960s provided by Benjamin Young, a Sino-NK contributor. The Research Room recommends the work, approach, and archives of this esteemed academic institutions in its many useful guises.