Background Knowledge

Teacher Background Guide

teacher with studentsAs classroom educators ourselves, we know that your time is valuable and often in demand.  To quickly acquaint yourself with the basic facts of the conflict with North Korea, we recommend that you read The U.S. and North Korea On the Brink: A Timeline, published by PBS Frontline, on February 28, 2019, as well as watch the short video from VOX entitled “The growing North Korean nuclear threat, explained”, published July 6, 2017.  We also suggest that you briefly acquaint yourself with any of the public policy offerings from our friends at 38 North, as well as North Korea Nuclear Timeline Fast Facts, from CNN Library, published September 4, 2017. This background information will make our lesson plan materials easier to use.

If you have additional time at home, we recommend watching:


Secret State of North Korea, PBS Frontline, published May 2017
With unique access, PBS FRONTLINE goes inside the secret state of North Korea to explore life under its new ruler, and investigate the enigmatic “Morning Star King” as he tries to hold onto power. Using new footage smuggled from inside and never-before-told stories from recent defectors living in South Korea, the film offers a rare glimpse of how some North Koreans are defying authority in a country where just being caught with illegal DVDs could mean immediate imprisonment. (53:41 in length)

Secret State: Inside North Korea, CNN, published September 2017
CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June 2017 and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland. They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family. (41:38 in length)