November 30, 2022

How sourcing for North Korean studies has changed over time

Access to documents from 70s and 80s 'dark era' still most difficult, but may improve in future

All high-quality studies of North Korean history have one unusual tendency: when it comes to the 1940s, the normally-referenced official documents are those of North Korean and Soviet authorities.

When it comes to the later ages, however, the focus gradually shifts to documents of foreign embassies in the DPRK, official North Korean publications, and, ultimately, testimonies of people who escaped from the DPRK, mixed with occasional secret documents of North Korea.