Cambodia - The Rise of the Khmer Rouge and the Genocide (1976-1978)

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During the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia was turned into a giant labor camp creating a system of terror, genocide, and attempted cultural annihilation-a series of drastic events that the country is still recovering from. The years contained within this regime were devastating for the nation of Cambodia, with the establishment of the Khmer Rouge, a left-wing Communist political party whose actions have had an overwhelmingly detrimental effect on the political, economic and social structure of Cambodia-ruining the lives of millions. As a strong communist organization with aims for Cambodia that would leave the country in dire need of help, the Khmer Rouge defectively impacted the easy-going life Cambodians knew. With much determination,…show more content…
In 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh and the Cambodian government surrendered (Dennis 1988). With the Khmer Rouge?s power stronger than ever, Cambodia had no chance of rescuing themselves from the bottomless pit that would soon become their fate. With Cambodia?s fragile political and economic structure, the establishment of the Khmer Rouge was not a difficult task. Prince Sihanouk appointed General Lon Nol as Prime Minister of the nation in an attempt to gain support from the rest of the country. Once in power, Lon Nol led a harsh put-down of a peasant revolt, which led to the repression in cities. The revolt forced left-wingers such as Khieu Samphan who was the chairman of the state presidium of Cambodia from 1976 until 1979, to join the Communists in the jungle. In 1970 Prince Sihanouk was deposed in a military coup. The leader of the new right-wing government was General Lon Nol, who became President of the Khmer Republic (Peace Pledge Union 2007). Lon Nol abolished the monarchy in Cambodia, and became a virtual dictator of the country. One of the main reasons that the Khmer Rouge was established was because the Lon Nol government allowed the United States to enter Cambodia in 1970 to liquidate communist sanctuaries (Dennis 1988, p. 127). When the United States began bombing Cambodia in 1969, the Khmer Rouge had only four thousand members. This number rapidly increased as the bombing forced communists deeper into Cambodia (Sutherland 1990). John Pilger, a
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