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
The Communist Party of Kampuchea, also known as the Khmer Rouge, took control of Cambodia on April 17, 1975, which lasted until January 1979. For their three-year, eight-month, and twenty-one day rule of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge committed some of the most heinous crimes in current history. The main leader who orchestrated these crimes was a man named Pol Pot. In 1962, Pol Pot had become the coordinator of the Cambodian Communist Party. The Prince of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, did not approve of the Party and forced Pol Pot to flee to exile in the jungle. There, Pol formed a fortified resistance movement, which became known as the Khmer Rouge, and pursued a guerrilla war against Sihanouk’s government. As Pol Pot began to accumulate power,
Pol Pot played a role in mass violence in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge. While taking over Cambodia, people were relocated, starved, and executed. The total death toll of the Cambodian genocide was around 2 million. Mao Zedong was perhaps the biggest advocate for mass violence. His plan, the Great Leap Forward, was a plan in which farmers would report higher agricultural gains than in reality. This would bring about a deficit within China and many people would soon start to starve and die from starvation. After the Great China Famine, the Cultural Revolution and Red Guards came into play. Red Guards roamed the cities and humiliated, persecuted, and or killed enemies of the state.
With inspiration from Mao’s Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot was determined to convert the entirety of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge into a full agrarian Marxist state without the intermediate state of socialism. Under the newly named Democratic Republic of Kampuchea, Pol Pot declared that the Cambodia was going to be cleansed with “Capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences” to be removed and replaced with peasant Communism. In order to accomplish this task, Pol Pot forcibly relocated all inhabitants of urban areas to agricultural communes where they were forced to work long hours from 4am to 10pm (“Pol Pot”) with the abolishment of Money, private property and religion (“Pol Pot (1925-1998”). This helped contributed to the death of over 2 million Cambodians to the Regime (Halverson-Wente). Intellectuals that were considered a threat to the state were also tortured and then killed in detention centers such as the S-21, a prison located in Tuol Svay Pray High School (“S-21”). One out of 12 victim and survivor of such events is Chum Mey who was “arrested on 28 October 1978 and taken straight to S-21” and still without reason to this day. Mey’s experience consisted of him being taken out for three times a day to be tortured in an interrogation
Later that same year, Pot and the Khmer Rouge took control over Cambodia. Pot wasted no time in starting his mission to reconstruct Cambodia. He thought that all the educated people needed to be killed (Melicharova). Also he thought that all noncommunist aspects of Cambodia needed to be wiped out. All rights you had were now gone. Religion was banned and if you were any kind of leader among the Buddhist monks, you were killed instantly (Melicharova). All kids were taken away and sent to work in the fields (Melicharova). If anyone was currently working and had a job, they were immediately killed along with their family members. It got so bad that you could be killed for just laughing, crying, and knowing another language. The Khmer Rouge motto was “To spare you is no profit, to destroy you is no loss” (Melicharova). If you were lucky enough to escape death, you were put into the fields working usually from 4am to 10pm unpaid (“Pol”). From lack of food and sleep, people often became very ill which sadly led to death.
Some say that Pol Pot was responsible for the power and control of Cambodia because “Pol Pot cut Cambodia off from the world. He banned foreign and minority languages and attacked the neighboring countries of Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand in an attempt to regain ancient ‘lost territory’” (The life of Pol Pot- Cambodia 4). This statement is true because the Khmer Rouge did gain part of their power by isolating the country, but Pol Pot is not fully responsible for that. There were other people involved, like Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan all of these people were also leaders in the Khmer Rouge. Nuon Chea was the second leader in the Khmer Rouge he is known as “The evil genius of the movement” (Chandler 1), because he is the one who was in charge of the prison system. He was one of the one’s with a heartless mind, planning tortures and executing innocent people.
Cambodia became one huge labor camp under the Khmer Rouge. After deposing Lon Nol on 1975, the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot began one of the most brutal regimes in human history. This not only changed the Cambodian society but also ultimately destroyed it. This was due to the extreme vision of communism, which Pol Pot wanted to implement for a perfect and a peaceful society.
In Cambodia in the 1960s The Khmer Rouge Regime rose to power, which lead to the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s. Pol Pot, the leader of this group, believed in a new country without evils. He describes evils such as money and religion as the cause for the corrupt and terrible world he lives in. Pol Pot's goal was to bring Cambodia back to the middle ages. Pol Pot dreamed of a ‘perfect’ Cambodia in which the society “build a prosperous and happy Cambodian society in which all enjoy equality, happiness and a society free from all class or individual forms of exploitation, in which everyone strives to increase production and to defend the country (pg 415)”. He began enforcing communal farming as a new way of living. Pol pot states “When we have rice, we can have everything” is their ‘slogan’ (Journal of Contemporary Asia pg 414). Pol Pot along with the rest of the Khmer Rouge Regime believed strongly in the perks that come out of farming. They
The underlying foundations of the Cambodian genocide are found in the Maoist political and economic beliefs of the Khmer Rouge administration. The most important leaders, all of whom studied in Paris in the 1950s and became active in the communist movement together, were Saloth Sar (who would later re-brand himself as Pol Pot), Ieng Sary, and Khieu Samphan. 30 The significance of their time together in France is that they developed what to them seemed a coherent political and economic model for the future of their home country, Cambodia.31 The last real stage in transforming
Vietnam eventually overthrew the Khmer Rouge and effectively installed a socialist regime consisting of Khmer Rouge defectors. Most members of the Khmer Rouge escaped and fled to Thailand to receive assistance from the western countries. The Soviet Union would end up fighting the Khmer Rouge with help from China and Vietnam for over a decade. Due to economic sanctions that the U.S. placed on Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge had to withdraw their troops and leave. Afterward, a peace agreement was signed and a coalition government was formed and former monarch, Prince Sihanouk, was elected to run. Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge until 1997, when he was placed under house arrest until he died of natural causes without any charges being pressed against him (“The Cambodian Genocide”). The Khmer Rouge lasted until 1999, when most of it’s members died off or been arrested (“The Cambodian Genocide). After the genocide, the world was silent and refused to talk about it. Craig Etcheson, a Cambodia expert from George Mason University, felt that “For many years, their was a virtual taboo on even speaking of the Khmer Rouge, as if their words were … a malevolent spirit lurking in the corner of every room (Hume and Coren). Most of the Cambodian citizens were too afraid to speak up because they did not want to relive the horrors of what occurred. In essence, the Cambodian genocide was one of many genocides throughout history that share similarities with other
Cambodia is a small country of Southeast Asia, less than half the size of the state of California (“World Without Genocide: Cambodian Genocide”). The Cambodian government in the mid 1970’s was unstable as Lon Nol, the Cambodian prime minister, and his forces were being stretched dealing with conflicts of Vietnamese communists, and a rising group of Cambodian communists called the Khmer Rouge Party. (Peace Pledge Union) As the government grew weaker and began to loose control, The Khmer Rouge Party overthrew the country. They began killing for their cause in 1975. The Khmer Rouge Party, under the rule of a man called Pol Pot, enforced a new way of life following values and rules similar to Maoist-Communism (“World Without Genocide: Cambodian Genocide”). The Khmer Party attempted, in simplistic terms, to nationally centralize the middle or farming class of Cambodia (“World Without Genocide: Cambodian
In the years of 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot became the head of the most murderous revolution of our time. His communist regime with the Khmer Rouge created one of the largest, yet greatly under-looked atrocities of the time. The genocide in his Democratic Kampuchea has created a death toll that could be as high as 3,000,000 people, or 25% of the country's population. (Chandler, 1999; Cambodia Genocide) In an attempt to refashion his country, "people were simply sacrificed to our struggle, not killed," as Pol Pot himself stated. (Pol Pot: Life of a Tyrant, 2000)
The next two decades of Pol Pot’s life are best characterized by his endless political maneuvering within the Cambodian Communist movement. Having struggled to gain independence from French colonialism during the 1940’s, and again during the First Indochina War of the 1950’s, there were already several prominent Communist factions active in Cambodia upon Pol Pot’s return to his country. His initial task as a clandestine operative of the Marxist Circle was to evaluate each of these factions, and to rise to power in the most promising
There is a Khmer word that describes the fate of two million people, about a quarter of the Cambodian population at the time – “Kamtech”, whose meaning is “to destroy with no traces left behind”. The responsible party is the Khmer Rouge, a political group who during the mid to late 1970s enacted a revolution according adopted the communist ideal of elimination of a social class system, and attempted to force that ideal on the population of Cambodia. Their leader was Pol Pot (born Saloth Sar), who promised that the policies set by the Khmer Rouge will bring the country to a state of utopia (Ly). If one were to look at film and pictures taken during the Khmer Rouge’s rule, there would be nothing to indicate that Pol Pot’s promises did not come to fruition: the surviving footage is almost entirely propaganda produced by the Khmer Rouge, and depicts Cambodia as the promised utopia (Panh). How can it be though, that in a country where the communist ideal has come to be, where everyone is equal and has their needs provided, that two million people are killed over the span of four years? Rithy Pahn, a film creator, tells the story of the missing people through his film The Missing Picture. In it, he tells stories of his experiences as an adolescent during the Khmer Rouge’s regime. The Missing Picture is ultimately about providing a replacement to the footage of Panh’s experiences (that was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge)—as a memorialization of the events that took place under the
In 1975 in Cambodia, Asia a warlord named Pol Pot with his party named Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia. You may asked what their plans were there plan was to change the country into a communist agrarian utopia. If you are asking what is Agrarian utopia this means perfect society. So to complete this goal he evaluate millions of people in the city of Cambodia. Then the Khmer Rouge took the citizen of Cambodia to labor camps where they were starved, tortured, and abused. Doctor, Teachers, Monks, Rich people, and other educated people where the people who were mostly tortured and killed. This genocide had a humongous death toll of 1.7 to 2 million Cambodians that died in the four years of the Khmer Rouge rain. With little to no help from