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Pol Pot

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Evaluate the impact of the Khmer Rouge on Cambodian society from 1975-1979

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.

Prince Norodom Sihanouk always tried to maintain Cambodia’s neutrality. But with Laos and Vietnam as its borders, he knew this was impossible. After the assassination of Diem in South Vietnam, Sihanouk condemned America’s policies; in turn he allowed Viet Cong bases in Cambodia. America in regard to this started ‘Operation Menu’ from 1969, to destroy the Viet Cong bases. When Sihanouk went to visit China on 1970, the CIA deposed him because he allowed North Vietnamese and Viet Cong to have sanctuaries in Cambodia. Sihanouk was replaced by pro-American and anti-Communist Lon Nol. This marked an end of a peaceful era in Cambodia.

As soon as Lon Nol gained the power, he ordered the communist to leave Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge and the Viet Cong in retaliation to this launched an attack against the Lon Nol government. After a five year civil war between Lon Nol’s Royal Cambodian army, Viet Cong, North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge and over 600 000 Cambodians died, Lon Nol left Cambodia on 1st April 1975. Seventeen days later the Khmer Rouge took over the city with the help of the Vietnamese and Norodom Sihanouk. Many felt relief that the war was over but this relief was short lived.

The Khmer Rouge were a radical political group, which was founded in 1960 as the Khmer Worker’s Party (KWP) under Saloth Sar. Young and Paris educated, Saloth Sar (later changed his name to Pol Pot) and his colleagues developed a...

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