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The Vietnam War: The Rise Of The Khmer Rouge

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The Khmer Rouge rose through their ability to convey their ideology in a way that struck many citizens. A communist party, they were able to form alliances with other factions such as the Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao during the Vietnam War. As such, they garnered a large following and initiated the steps to overthrow the government in Cambodia. The tide essentially turned when the United States bombed the Khmer Rouge militants, attempting to aid Lon Nol’s forces, and killed many civilians. That led to new recruits in the Khmer Rouge, bent on destroying anything anti-communist. When their power was cemented in Cambodia, their conveyance toward the public turned into a life-or-death option. Intellectuals were massacred, women and children forced…show more content…
In reality, there were several strikes similar to that, which resulted in the deaths of more than 300,000 thousand individuals. The Khmer Rouge used these events to their recruiting process, playing on the themes of revenge and unity. For the average person, if someone they knew or loved was killed from one of the strikes, they would see the United States as an enemy, thus believing that communism could be the answer to peace. As such, the Khmer Rouge were able to build a capable army. Once they had their recruits snared, there were consistent propaganda viewings where phrases, images, and thought processes that were drilled into their minds, effectively brainwashing some to commit entirely, regardless of their orders because they believed it was in the best interest of Cambodia. An example of this in First They Killed My Father was when Loung Ung was promoted to soldier status. From there, constant propaganda against the Vietnamese was constantly used to ensure they would fight against them. Ironically, Loung Un, who always resented the Khmer Rouge, developed a fear of the Vietnamese and at one point, actually shot into foliage as she believed the Vietnamese were near due to the…show more content…
Besides having the known intellectuals killed and those who displayed intelligence, even individuals who wore glasses were executed just for being suspected of possessing intellect. All schools were closed permanently and re-education facilities were opened to brainwash individuals to the regime. Of course, after the first wave of intellectual assassination, many educated reverted to acting simple-minded to avoid their demise. Examples of that can be seen in both First They Killed My Father and The Killing Fields. In the former, Loung Ung’s father, Seng Im Ung, constantly had to remind his family not to mention anything about their previous life, and that included being educated. In The Killing Fields, when Pran was first brought into the work camps, he had to feign a lack of
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