Kim Il-sung

The Past and Present of North Korean Belligerence: Rangoon 1983

By | July 07, 2017

The Rangoon Bombing of 1983 remains a piece of hidden history, only to be fully illuminated when the division of the two Koreas comes to an end. In the meantime, the archives of the ROK government give evidence of what motivated the attack. Let Eungseo Kim look back and be your guide.

Revolution and Revival: Ideology and Faith in North Korea

By | June 23, 2017

Today, the North Korean state has all forms of spirituality under its iron fist. But today is but a 70-year blip on the radar of history. As Christopher Richardson writes in this reprisal of a speech delivered in Sydney on June 18, Christianity won’t yield so readily.

The Sino-DPRK Split and Origins of US-DPRK Bilateralism

By | February 20, 2017

Using archival material from the Woodrow Wilson Center, Eungseo Kim dissects the politics of Sino-US détente in 1972. He concludes that Pyongyang’s grievance against Beijing for its refusal to push preconditions for Sino-US diplomatic normalization was why Pyongyang decided it needed to deal directly with the United States.

In the Cradle of Exile: The National Origins of Communist China and Korea

By | August 09, 2016

In this featured piece on “exilic nationalism,” Benjamin Eckton argues that national and revolutionary origins of the North Korean and Chinese state are found in the rough terrain of the Jinggang Mountains and the hills of Manchuria, where Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung would develop and nurture their ideas of revolution and national liberation.

Reinterpreting the Withdrawal of Chinese Troops from North Korea, 1956-1958

By | July 12, 2016

Did Kim Il-sung’s nationalism force the Chinese out of North Korea in the 1950s, or was it an agreed strategy meant to bolster anti-US propaganda? This post reviews new data on a pivotal moment in Chinese-North Korean relations.

North Korean Nationalism: Lessons from Pyongyang

By | June 08, 2016

What is North Korean nationalism? Is it the same as the South Korean variant? In a new essay, Steven Denney pauses to reflect on a recent trip to the DPRK, and considers the answers to both of these questions.

Warfare by Feelings: Strategy, Spontaneity, and Emotions in Kim Il-sung’s Tactical Thinking

By | May 10, 2016

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein of UPenn and North Korea Economy Watch examines the role of emotion in DPRK military and political culture. Real KPA commanders surely see things very differently, but rhetorically the DPRK is at odds with the Western ideal of a modern soldier.

Resiliency and Opacity: A Review of North Korea: Markets and Military Rule

By and | January 05, 2016

Coming temporarily out of retirement, Jacques Hersh and Ellen Brun, European leftist intellectuals and Asianists of yore, review Hazel Smith’s mighty tome on markets and military rule.