Leveraging Uneven Cooperation: Socialist Assistance and the Rise of North Korea, 1945-1965
This dissertation examines the transformation of exchanges between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Soviet-led socialist bloc, arguing that this structural change from “selfless” assistance to equal cooperation accelerated the realization of Juche (meaning self-reliance) in North Korea from 1945 to 1965. Based on a range of North Korean publications and Russian archival documents, this dissertation analyzes how intra-bloc flows of experts and knowledge for mass industrial production steered North Korea’s quest for uplifting the nation through “North Korean” techno-science. Revising politics-centered, nation-centric accounts of North Korean history, this dissertation shows how the global pursuit of a strong economy, changing geopolitical situations, increasing costs of “socialist cooperation,” and the short-term success of homegrown technologies coincided to propel North Korean planners to enact Juche as a mode of development and lasting national identity. Offering an original narrative of North Korea’s exploitation of socialist assistance, this dissertation provides a useful lens to better understand the origins of North Korea’s diplomacy and techno-scientific policy-making, tracing the roots of its technological confidence to defy the U.S.-led global order.
1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022
PhD defended at
University of California, Los Angeles
Global Asia (Asia and other parts of the World)
Health and Medicine