Curriculum Vitae

Balázs Szalontai

Home address in Hungary:
Botfalu köz 19/a
Telephone: (36-1)-2-46-34-14 (home)

University address in Mongolia:
Mongolia International University
13th Khoroo, Bayanzurkh District


2003: Received a Ph.D. in History at Central European University. Prepared under the supervision of Professors Alfred J. Rieber and Bruce Cumings and reviewed favorably by Professors Carter Eckert and Kathryn Weathersby, the revised manuscript of the dissertation (The Failure of De-Stalinization in North Korea, 1953-1964) was published in book form by Woodrow Wilson Press and Stanford University Press in 2005. The book compares the North Korean political system with other Communist regimes, with special respect to Vietnam, Mongolia and Eastern Europe.

1998: Received an M.A. in History at Central European University (an international university chartered in the state of New York), Budapest. My M.A. thesis, De-Stalinization in Eastern Europe, 1953-1958 analyzed the economic, foreign, and internal policies of the seven Soviet-dominated East European Communist regimes, comparing them to each other in order to explain why there had been massive protests against the Communist regimes in East Germany, Poland, and Hungary, and why no such events took place in the other four countries at that time.

1997: Received a B.A. in History at Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences, Budapest. My B.A. thesis, The Economic, Social, and Political Development of Uruguay, 1958-1985 explains the post-1958 economic crisis that resulted in the collapse of parliamentary governance in this traditionally democratic Latin American country. Comparing Uruguay with five other South American countries, it placed the emergence of Latin American guerrilla movements and military dictatorships in the context of Cold War politics.

Work Experience

2008 – 2009: Visiting Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, D.C. (Fulbright

2008 – : Visiting Professor, Mongolia International University, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

2007: Visiting Professor, Mongolian University of Science and Technology,
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

2007: Visiting Professor, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea

2005-2006: Visiting Professor, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbataar, Mongolia

2001-present: Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C.

2004-2005: Visiting Fellow, National Institute of International Education Development, Seoul, South Korea

2001: Visiting Researcher, St. Anthony College, Oxford University

1997-1998: Researcher, Institute of Political History, Budapest

The courses I taught covered, among others, post-1989 international relations; modern Southeast and Northeast Asian economic, social and political history; and North Korean foreign and domestic policies.

Research Activity

My M.A. thesis and dissertation, as well as my later research, was based mostly on recently declassified Hungarian archival documents. Among others, I have been doing archival research on the following topics:

(1) North Korea’s internal, cultural and foreign policies, with special respect to its cultural diplomacy and its relations with South-east Asia, China, the Middle East and Pakistan;
(2) the dynamics of power politics and WMD programs in 20th-century Northeast Asia (Korea, Northeast China and Mongolia), with a focus on inter-Korean, Soviet-Japanese, Sino-Japanese and Sino-Soviet relations;
(3) post-1945 relations between the countries of the Southeast Asian mainland, with special respect to the Vietnam War, Vietnam’s relations with Cambodia and Laos, and the situation of the Chinese and Vietnamese diaspora;
(4) a comparative analysis of the Asian and European Communist regimes, with special respect to North Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia; and
(5) Russian and Soviet foreign policies toward Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus region, and the Middle East (with special respect to Turkey and Iran) as well as British and U.S. policies to create regional pacts in the Middle East.

My analyses of these materials and my translations of key documents have been regularly published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC., in its Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Bulletin. I also did research on Korean, Singaporean, Taiwanese and Japanese political and economic history in the Asiatic Research Center (Korea University, Seoul) in 2004-2005, on Mongolian history at various Mongolian universities since 2005, and on Korean history at Kyungpook National University. Currently I am doing research at the Woodrow Wilson Center and in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., as the recipient of a five-month grant of the Fulbright Foundation. My research topic is the Korean War in the context of Soviet and American global policy.



Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953-1964. Stanford: Stanford University Press; Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2005.


“Expulsion for a Mistranslated Poem: The Diplomatic Aspects of North Korean Cultural
Policies,” in The Cold War in Asia: The Cultural Dimension (Singapore: Asia
Research Institute, National University of Singapore, forthcoming).

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in North Korea: The Forgotten Side of a Not-So-
Forgotten War,” in Chris Springer, North Korea Caught in Time: Images of War and
Reconstruction. Reading, U.K.: Garnet Publishing, 2009 (forthcoming).

“Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union.” –
„1956: European and Global Perspectives (Reviews).” Cold War History 9, Issue
2 (May 2009, forthcoming).

“Brotherhood Disrupted, Brotherhood Restored: The Process of Sino-North Korean Conflict and Reconciliation, 1965-1972,” in Chen Jian, ed., Limits of the “Lips and Teeth Alliance”: Chinese-North Korean Relations during the Cold War (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University East Asia Series, forthcoming).

“The Diplomacy of Economic Reform in Vietnam: The Genesis of Doi Moi, 1986-1989.” Journal of Asiatic Studies (Korea University, Asiatic Research Center) 51, Issue 2 (June 2008): 199-252.

Entries on “Kim Il Sung,” “Mongolia,” “Show Trials,” and “South Africa,” in Ruud van Dijk, William Glenn Gray, Svetlana Savranskaya, Jeremi Suri, and Qiang Zhai, eds., Encyclopedia of the Cold War. London and New York: Routledge, 2008.

“Mao and the Economic Stalinization of China, 1948-1953 (Review).” Cold War History 8, Issue 1 (February 2008): 127-128.

“Magyarország a hidegháborúban (Review).” Magyar Tudomány 169, Issue 2 (February 2008): 241.

“Szerzetesek és tábornokok Burmában 1-2.” [Monks and Generals in Burma] Élet és Tudomány 62, Issue 48 (2007): 1524-1526; 62, Issue 49 (2007): 1555-1557.

“North Korea’s Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Weapons: Evidence from Russian and Hungarian Archives.” Co-authored by Sergey Radchenko. Cold War International History Project Working Paper #53. Washington, D.C., August 2006.

“Political and Economic Crisis in North Vietnam, 1955-56.” Cold War History 5, Issue 4 (November 2005): 395-426.

“`You Have No Political Line of Your Own.’ Kim Il-sung and the Soviets, 1953-1964.” Cold War International History Project Bulletin 14/15 (Winter 2003-Spring 2004): 87-137.

“Tsedenbal’s Mongolia and the Communist Aid Donors: A Reappraisal.” International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 35 (November 2004):18.

“Their War for Korea (Review).” Journal of Asian Studies 62, Issue 3 (2003): 980-981.

“The Dynamics of Repression: The Global Impact of the Stalinist Model, 1944-1953.” Russian History/Histoire Russe 29, Issue 2-4 (2003): 415-442.

“1956 Vietnamban 1-2.” [1956 in North Vietnam] Élet és Tudomány 56, Issue 42 (2001):1320-1322; 56, Issue 43 (2001): 1353-1355.

“Van-e totalitárius típusú represszió?” [Can One Speak of a Special Totalitarian-Type Repression?] Valóság 44, Issue 8 (2001): 29-39.

“Kína a XX. század el?estéjén 1-2.” [China in the Early 20th Century] Élet és Tudomány 55, Issue 36 (2000): 1126-1128; 55, Issue 38 (2000):1192-1193

“Társadalmi problémák Kínában 1-2.” [Social Problems in the PRC] Élet és Tudomány 55, Issue 12 (2000): 373-375; 55, Issue 13 (2000): 400-403.

“Timor 1-2.” [East Timor: Roots of the Crisis] Élet és Tudomány 54, Issue 41 (1999): 1286-1287, 1298; 54, Issue 42 (1999):1318-1320.

“Hastings Kamuzu Banda.” [Hastings Kamuzu Banda: A Short Biography of Malawi’s First President], in A 20. század politikusai (Budapest: ELTE BTK Politikaelméleti Tanszék, 1999): 89-110.

“Gamal Abdel Nasszer.” [A Short Biography of Nasser], in A 20. század politikusai (Budapest: ELTE BTK Politikaelméleti Tanszék, 1998):103-120.

“A regionalizmus és a fejl?dés problematikája.” [Problems of Regionalism and Development: A Critical Analysis of World-System Theories] Eszmelet 30 (1996):198-209.

“Titkosrend?rség, terror és tolerancia a modern diktatúrákban.” [Secret Police, Terror, and Tolerance in Modern Dictatorships] Eszmélet 29 (1996):211-222.

“Kuba 1-2.” [Castro’s Cuba] Élet és Tudomány 49, Issue 43 (1994), pp. 1347-1349; 49, Issue 45 (1994):1420-1422.

“Egy diktatúra anatómiája 1-2.” [Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Haiti under Francois Duvalier] Élet és Tudomány 49, Issue 37 (1994), pp. 1168-1170; 49, Issue 38 (1994):1194-1196.


2009 – Why Did Stalin Give the Green Light to Kim Il Sung? The Korean War in Soviet
Global Strategy, The Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, George
Washington University (Washington, D.C.)

2008 – Cold War Between Pyongyang and Hanoi: North Korea, Vietnam and the Cambodian
Question, Davis Center, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

2008 – North Korea’s Path to Economic Modernization, Institute for Far Eastern Studies,
Kyungnam University (Seoul)

2008 – The Cold War in Asia: The Cultural Dimension, Asia Research Institute, National
University of Singapore (Singapore)

2006 – Routes into the Diaspora. Panel: The Unreliable People: The Korean Diaspora in the
Former Soviet Union, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)

2006 – Limits of the 'Lips and Teeth' Alliance: The Antinomies of the Chinese-North Korean
Relationship, Cornell University (Ithaca)

2006 – 6th International Conference of the Korean Association of Central & Eastern European
and Balkan Studies, Lorand Eotvos University of Sciences (Budapest)

2006 – International Workshop on North Korea’s Foreign Relations during the Cold War,
Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Kyungnam University (Seoul)

2006 – De-Stalinization: The First Fifty Years after Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, The George
Washington University Cold War Group (Washington, D.C.)

2004 – 4th Triennial Conference of the European Association for South-East Asian Studies.
Panel: New Evidence on the Cold War history of Vietnam (Paris)

2004 – Mongolia and the Cold War, Cold War International History Research Project and
Civic Education Project (Ulaanbaatar)

2003 – Comrades in Arms: Relations between North Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba, Yale
University (New Haven)

2003 – Still Standing After The Fall: Politics and Culture in Vietnam, North Korea, China and
Cuba, The International Center for Advanced Studies (New York)

2003 – The Cold War in Asia, The George Washington University Cold War Group and the
Cold War History Research Center (Budapest)

2003 – Stalin and the Lesser Gods: The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships in
Comparative Perspective, European University Institute (Florence)

2003 – North Korea’s Crisis Behavior, Cold War International History Research Project
(Washington, D.C.)

2003 – North Korea’s Conflicts with the USSR: Comparisons with North Vietnam and
Albania (International History Workshop), University of Chicago

2002 – Inside North Korea, CWIHP (Washington, D.C.)

2002 – The Soviet Global Impact (1945-1991), University of Chicago

1998 – The Impact of the Totalitarian Past on the New Democracies, Open Society Institute
(Chisinau, Republic of Moldavia)


Native fluency in Hungarian and English; excellent reading ability in German; limited reading ability in Russian, French, Korean and Mongolian