How were Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge able to maintain power in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979?

2236 WordsFeb 20, 20079 Pages
Section A: Aim of Investigation After they seized power in Cambodia in April 1975, Saloth "Pol Pot" Sar and the Khmer Rouge were responsible for the death of 1.5-3 million Cambodian's and were perhaps one of the most ruthless regimes of the 20th century. The aim of this investigation is to evaluate Pol Pot's means of maintaining power from 1975 to 1979. An account of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge's drastic internal reforms including the slaughter of millions, economic reorganization, political restructuring, and the cultivation of social/ethnic groups will appear in section B. External forces including funding from China and the United States and repressive measures such as censorship, torture, and execution will be assessed. This…show more content…
2. Propaganda: Until 1975, the Khmer Rouge were popular. Originally, they had promised to raise the living standards of the poor, thus assuring the support of the people. When they took over they collectivized everything: cattle, buffalo, plates, everything (Kiernan 185). Pol Pot wished to set up an agrarian utopia inspired by Mao Zedong. Like Mao Zedong, Pol Pot implemented a policy similar to the Great Leap Forward declaring "Year Zero" in an attempt to purify society of all Western influences including "capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences" and transform Cambodia into a peasant - Communistic state (Cook). "The CPK [Communist Party of Kampuchea] attempted to distract people's attention from their situation by informing the peasants that life in Cambodia was superior to that in Vietnam, where people were reduced to eating chaff, while Chairman Mao's socialism was bringing progress in China" ensuring that Cambodia would soon follow (Kiernan 185). Pol Pot insisted that Cambodia would not be independent until the economy and society grew collectively. "To achieve our independence, domestic peace, and unity, we must mobilize the people's forces to build an egalitarian society without rich or poor...if the economy grows, society grows too..." (Ponchaud 74). During Pol Pot's stay in power, Marxist books became widespread, including the Communist Manifesto. Libraries had reopened and shared these communist books with lycées (Ponchaud

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