Skip to Main Content

Korean Studies: History

eBooks on Korea History

Resources on Korean Textbooks

Resources on Korea's Democratization

Open Access Databases:

Resources on Korean History

GW Subscribed Database on Korean History

Open Access Primary Resources on Korean History

Resources on Korean History Under Japanese Rule

GW Subscribed Databases: 

Open Access Databases:

Resources on Korean War

Primary Resources on Koreas' Foreign Relations

GW Subscribed Databases:

Open Access Databases:

Wilson Center Digital Archive International History Declassified

  • BROWSE THE COLLECTION : Explore historical documents in the Digital Archive using the tools below. Select areas on the map to find documents about a specific location. Use the timeline and subject selector to focus on documents from a specific year or about a specific topic.
  • CONVERSATIONS WITH KIM IL SUNG: This collection of primary source documents assembles a record of Kim Il Sung's conversations with foreign allies and other outsiders from 1949 through 1986, providing insights into DPRK foreign policy and domestic politics from North Korea's highest leader. (Image, NARA, RG 242, SA 2006, Item 6/38.)
  • NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR HISTORY : This is a collection of documents about North Korea's nuclear program. Drawn from the archives of North Korea's former communist allies, the collection highlights that North Korea's nuclear ambitions began as early as the 1950s.
  • SOVIET UNION-NORTH KOREA RELATIONS : This collection of documents is about the relationship between the Soviet Union and North Korea.
  • CHINA-NORTH KOREA RELATIONS : This collection of documents probes the relationship between China and North Korea from the 1940s through the 1980s. While often described as being "as close as lips to teeth," this collection highlights instances of both cooperation and mistrust between China and North Korea. See also the Digital Archive collection on Repatriation to North Korea.
  • JAPAN AND THE KOREAN PENINSULA : This collection documents the interactions and dynamics between Japan and the two Koreas since 1945. (Image: A nightime view of Japan and the Korean Peninsula, 2014. NASA photograph.)
  • INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS : A comprehensive collection of documents about the relationship between North Korea and South Korea from 1953 to the present. The collection highlights periods of conflict between the two Koreas as well as periods where one or both countries promoted cooperation and compromise in order to achieve the reunification of Korea. For more focused collections that deal with specific periods in inter-Korean relations, see (1) Inter-Korean Relations after the War, 1954-1961; (2) Inter-Korean Competition, 1961-1970; (3) Inter-Korean Dialogue, 1971-1972; (4) Demise of Detente in Korea, 1973-1975; and (5) Inter-Korean Dialogue, 1977-1980. Other related collections include: Korea at the United Nations1988 Seoul Olympic Games, and the Two Koreas and the Third World. (Image: Press Briefing by Permanent Observer of Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the UN, 7 July 1976. United Nations Photo #191917).

Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) Documents (Office of the Historian-US Department of State)

The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication. The series is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian and printed volumes are available from the Government Printing Office. Below is the list of links to some Korea related FRUS (Foreign Relations of the United States) volumes:

United States Forces Korea (SOFA) documents

[2018: The Year on Pen] U.S. Military Forces on the Korean Peninsula, Strategic Digest iii (2019)

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC