The Khmer Rouge, By Michael Vickery

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In 1975, the Communist Party of Kampuchea, led by Pol Pot, invaded Phnom Penh and overthrew Lon Nol’s U.S. supported military dictatorship. The Communist Party of Kampuchea, otherwise known as the Khmer Rouge, was a Cambodian political party that based its ideals on nationalism, communism, and agrarian socialism. The Khmer Rouge first gained attention during communist movement that emerged from the anti-colonial struggle against France. During French rule, Cambodia was under the influence of western ideas and culture. Because Cambodia had been a French Protectorate since 1863, many aspects of Cambodian culture and identity were lost within French colonial rule. After seizing power over Cambodia in 1975 and it was renamed as Democratic Kampuchea. The Cambodian genocide occurred because a radical idea of nationalism and ended up wiping out one-third of Cambodia’s population. A debate surrounding Cambodian nationalism has been argued while investigating the history of the Khmer Rouge. Michael Vickery, the author of the book Cambodia 1975-1982, argued that the Khmer Rouge was inspired by the peasants to create a nation in which everyone had the same living standards.Ben Kiernan, director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, argued that by favoring the peasants, the Khmer Rouge destroyed the working class. Kiernan also argues that “Pol Potism” rose from the idea of Cambodian nationalism. In 1976, Pol Pot created the “Four Year Plan” to build socialism in

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