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Title: Cambodia

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Economy and Land
Napoléon III
  • French arrived in Southeast Asia to colonize
    Cochin China (southern Vietnam)
  • September 1858 France occupied Da Nang 18
    February 1859 they conquered Saigon
  • 1863-Cambodia became a French Colony
  • French Indochina was formed in October 1887 from
    Annam, Tonkin, Cochin China, and the Kingdom of
    Cambodia Laos was added in 1893.
  • The federation lasted until 1954

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  • French Protectorate, 1863-1948
  • Kingdom of Cambodia, 1948-1970
  • Khmer Republic, 1970-1975
  • Democratic Kampuchea, 1975-1979
  • State of Cambodia, 1989-1991
  • 1991-1993 (UN administration)
  • Kingdom of Cambodia, 1993-

  • 1st Cambodian political upheaval in 1941, when
    King Sisowath Monivong (1875-1941) died
  • denied the Sisowath family (including their
    rising star prince, Sirik Matak -1914-1975) the
    right to the throne.
  • The French instead selected a king from the house
    of Norodom, close cousins of the Sisowaths.

  • 19-year-old Norodom Sihanouk
  • Political instability

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The French return
  • northern Vietnam, though, Ho Chi Minh,
    nationalist leader of the communist guerrilla
    force known as the Viet-Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh
    (League for the Independence of Vietnam, or Viet
    Minh for short), refused to allow Bao Dai and his
    French-supported monarchy to run the nation's
  • August 2, 1945 - before the allies could stop him
    - Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh forces entered
    Hanoi, declaring the birth of a new Vietnamese
  • speech modeled after the US Declaration of

  • French did not accept Ho's authority
  • Helped by British troops they eventually forced
    Ho to sign a truce in 1946
  • Viet Minh regrouped in the bush and began a war
    of attrition against the French

  • Ieng Sary, Saloth Sar, Son Sen
  • Khieu Samphan

Sihanouk's Rise to Powerand the Geneva Accords
  • October, 1953 France recognizes Cambodias total
    independence why now? (Vietnam?)
  • France maintained some authority over economic
    policy, but foreign affairs and the military were
    now in the hands of Sihanouk.

Dien Bien Phu, March 13 May 7, 1954
  • French (13,000)
  • Vietnamese (50,000 and 200 artillery pieces)
  • General Vo Nguyen Giap
  • F -1,142 dead and 1,606 missing
  • V - 7,900 dead and over 15,000 wounded
  • Geneva Accords, July 1954

  • communist North Vietnam led by Ho Chi Minh
  • Hanoi
  • South Vietnam led by prime minister Ngo Dinh
    Diem, who had been appointed by emperor Bao Dai
  • Saigon
  • Laos and Cambodia would be guaranteed their right
    to remain neutral, nonaligned nations
  • Geneva accords also scheduled Cambodia's first
    national democratic elections.

The Cold War Threatens Cambodia the U.S.
Communist Containment
  • tensions between North and South Vietnam
  • Sihanouk foreign policy engage Ho Chi Minh
    why? Also China and Soviet Union
  • Western reaction?
  • Sihanouk's own ministers were steadfastly
    anti-Vietnamese anti-Ho Chi Minh

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Vice-President Richard Nixon
  • "He (Sihanouk) seemed prouder of his musical
    talents than of his political leadership, and he
    appeared to me to be totally unrealistic about
    the problems his country faced."
  • domino theory
  • post-WWII Eastern Europe and the Balkans
  • 1947 both Greece and Turkey

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Sec. of State, General George Marshall
  • "do whatever it is able to do to assist in the
    return of normal economic health in the world,
    without which there can be no political stability
    and no assured peace."
  • Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan
    cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy in Europe

Domino theory East Southeast Asia
  • Chinese Communist revolution and victory,
  • South Vietnam
  • Laos/Cambodia
  • Thailand, India, Indonesia, Australia
  • Etc.
  • former Indochina colonies - including Cambodia -
    were considered a collective domino waiting to

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JFK and Diems murder
  • November 1, 1963 coup
  • succession of coups led by various military
    leaders followed the November 1, 1963 Revolution

Vietnam escalation by Kennedy (1961-1963) and
Johnson (1963-1969) administrations
  • Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) South
  • North Vietnam Army (NVA), the North's regular
  • Viet Cong (VC), an intricate guerrilla network of
    armed South Vietnamese citizens

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  • September 1959, North Vietnam formed Group 959 in
    Laos with the aim of building the Pathet Lao into
    a stronger counterforce against the Lao Royal
  • Group 959 openly supplied, trained and militarily
    supported the Pathet Lao. The typical strategy
    during this era was for North Vietnamese regulars
    to attack first but then send in the Pathet Lao
    at the end of the battle to claim "victory".
  • middle 1960s, Laos fell into proxy warfare
    between pro-American and pro-Vietnamese irregular
    military groups
  • 1968, the Army of North Vietnam launched a
    multi-division invasion of Laos. Pathet Lao
    reduced to the role of an auxiliary force to the
  • Royal Army of Laos took itself out of the
    conflict after heavy losses
  • 1960s and early 1970s, the communists battled the
    U.S. irregular forces in Laos

  • 1962 to 1975, Air America
  • General Vang Pao
  • Hmong/Mong

  • China forced Sihanouk to open up his southern
    port city of Sihanoukville to clandestine supply
    smuggling to the Viet Cong
  • previous smuggling route along the Ho Chi Minh
    Trail through Laos had been hampered by covert US
  • No protest from Sihanouk
  • Port route for Cambodia
  • pro-US ministers allowed them to take a piece of
    the concessions
  • illicit profits gave these ministers and the
    Cambodian armed forces an early taste of the
    rampant corruption that would later erode
    military discipline to the breaking point.

CIA intervention
  • Kampuchea Krom Lower Cambodia
  • CIA began to recruit Vietnamese of ethnic
    Cambodian descent - Khmer Krom
  • Son Ngoc Thanh, a Krom, helped with volunteer
  • infiltrate the border and stop the flow of
  • search-and-destroy missions, as fate would have
    it, were not very successful
  • encouraged more VC and NVA units to cross into
    Cambodia to protect their operations

General William Westmoreland, 1914-2005
  • commanded American military operations in the
    Vietnam War at its peak from 1964 to 1968
  • served as US Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to
  • Promote full-scale invasion of Cambodia
  • Johnson refuses prefers diplomacy with Sihanouk
  • Cooperation try to keep Cambodia out of the war

  • South Vietnamese army (ARVN) making little
    headway against the Vietcong
  • Operation Rolling Thunder February 1965
  • air strikes, armed reconnaissance, and photo
    reconnaissance against selected targets and lines
    of communication (LOC)
  • Hanoi and Haiphong off limits?
  • Blunder

  • 1966-1967 major U.S. offensives 485,000 troops
    be late 1967 forced more NVA over the Cambodian

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution 500,000
  • 31 January 1968 the North Vietnamese Army (NVA)
    and Vietcong launched a large-scale offensive
    during the Vietnamese holiday of Tet
  • 36 provincial capitals and five of the six major
    cities, including Saigon where they penetrated
    the US embassy compound
  • communist forces failed to hold any sites for
    more than a few days
  • city of Hue, which they held for three weeks
  • Graphic film footage of the fighting reinforced
    concerns about casualties
  • Political support for President Johnson waned
  • March he halted bombing, called for peace talks
    and said he would not run for a second term in
    elections in November 1968

  • February 9, 1969, US military intelligence
  • significant NVA base just inside Cambodia - the
    Central Office for South Vietnam, Headquarters,
    or COSVN HQ
  • General Creighton Abrams commander of US forces
    in Vietnam
  • B-52s airstrikes most lethal non-nuclear forms of
    attack in the Air Force's arsenal
  • carpet bomb large swaths of land, targeted in
    "boxes" of approximately two miles by one half
    mile square

Operation Breakfast
  • President Richard Nixon
  • Sec. of State Henry Kissinger
  • 9th of March, 48 boxes - approximately 48 square
    miles of Cambodian territory
  • Over the course of the next 14 months, the US
    conducted 3630 B-52 bombing raids in Cambodian
    territory. Each major operation followed on a
    tradition set out by Breakfast subsequent plans
    included Operations Lunch, Snack, Dinner,
    Dessert, Supper.
  • Kissinger stated, "It was not a bombing of
    Cambodia, but it was a bombing of North
    Vietnamese in Cambodia."

General Wheeler informed his staff
  • "In the event press inquiries are received
    following the execution of the Breakfast Plan as
    to whether or not US B-52s have struck in
    Cambodia, US spokesman will confirm that B-52s
    did strike on routine missions adjacent to the
    Cambodian border but state that he has no details
    and will look into the question."
  • Did Sihanouk approve? Sihanouk denies it
    entirely, while Kissinger has stated otherwise

  • bombings did little to curb NVA activities
  • Communist forces actually crept further and
    further into Cambodia
  • US bombers followed suit
  • Khmer Rouge, previously a weak guerrilla force
    run by disenfranchised leftist politicians, grew
    in the wake of the bombings
  • each attack on Cambodian land legitimized their
    virulent hatred of Sihanouk.
  • Sihanouk, whose greatest evidence of his mandate
    from heaven was that he had kept his people out
    of the war, no longer had the right to that claim

The CoupOpportunities for Nixon and the Khmer
  • January 1970, Prince Sihanouk embarked on another
    whirlwind tour, with plans to visit France, the
    Soviet Union and China
  • Lon Nol, prime minister had been abroad seeking
    medical treatment in France
  • Prince Sirik Matak as acting prime minister

March 1970
  • Lon Nol organized anti-Vietnamese demonstrations
    across Cambodia and gave the Vietnamese an
    ultimatum to leave Cambodia or face an attack
  • March 12, thousands marched in Phnom Penh,
    sacking both the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
  • Sirik Matak canceled the secret smuggling deal
    through the port of Sihanoukville
  • Sihanouk, still in France, was furious and
    threatened to arrest his ministers.
  • Did not return home to settle the growing rift
    continued his travels, flying onwards to Moscow.
  • March 15, Lon Nol's ultimatum deadline had come
    and gone
  • requested and received shelling from South
    Vietnamese artillery against North Vietnamese
    forces entrenched near the border

  • Prince Sirik Matak concluded a coup was now in
  • Lon Nol initially wavered at Sirik Matak's plan
  • They successfully convinced the National Assembly
    to remove the prince from power
  • For the first time since 1941, Sihanouk was no
    longer the supreme leader of Cambodia
  • Lon Nol/Sirik Matak coup end of Cambodian
  • Lon Nol requested military support from South
    Vietnam, the US concluded that this meant Lon Nol
    would even support American military involvement

Sihanouk exiled in China
  • made a public demand for Cambodians to revolt
    against the new regime
  • Reaction?
  • Urbanites and business community welcomed the
  • villages, where support of Sihanouk remained
    strong, rioting soon broke out
  • Lon Nil murdered
  • communist forces of China, North Vietnam and the
    Pathet Lao of Laos, ready to supply his fledgling
    army with weapons and training

Communist China
Pathet Lao
Khmer Rouge
North Vietnam
Urban Professionals
Rural farmers
Khmer Republic, 1970-1975 Lon Nol Sirik Matak
Using Sihanouk
  • April 1975 made figurehead of state
  • April 4, 1976, the Khmer Rouge forced Sihanouk
    out of office again and into political retirement
  • Khieu Samphan as head of state
  • What happens to Sihanouk?

"Mad Man Theory"
  • Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman later quoted how Nixon
    had explained the theory to him
  • "I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've
    reached the point where I might do anything to
    stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them
    that 'For God's sake, you know, Nixon is obsessed
    about communism. We can't restrain him when he's
    angry - and he has his hand on the nuclear

  • expand attacks into Cambodia in the hopes of
    eliminating COSVN Central Office for South Viet
    Nam - HQ reputed to be in Tay Ninh province
    northwest of Saigon, near the Cambodian border
    (or Cambodia / Laos)
  • April/May 1970 15,000 US troops supported by over
    4,000 ARVN troops crossed the Cambodian

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Reaction in the U.S.
  • Hundreds of American universities shut down as
    thousands of students protested and marched
    against the Cambodian invasion.
  • Kent State University in Ohio students sacked the
    campus ROTC building
  • Ohio governor James Rhodes responded by ordering
    National Guard troops to quell the riots. Within
    a day 15 students had been shot by the Guard,
    four of them killed.
  • Cooper-Church Amendment
  • forbade Nixon from military engagements in
    Cambodia beyond June 30th as well as prevented US
    support of the Cambodian armed forces through
    training and bombing raids
  • first time in US history that the legislative
    branch had ever restricted the war powers of the
    executive branch

  • US ground forces pulled out of Cambodia by the
    end of June
  • administration continued its B-52 bombing
  • tens of thousands of ARVN ground troops fighting
    the North Vietnamese within Cambodia
  • US encouraged the South Vietnamese air force to
    engage communist targets in Cambodia, which they
    often did with little regard for collateral
    civilian casualties
  • implement a long-term strategy for assisting Lon
    Nol's army with weaponry, cash and military
  • Nixon Doctrine described by Nixon as protecting
    American interests by supporting foreign troops
    in the fight against communism
  • Colonel Alexander Haig sent to Phnom Penh on an
    appraisal mission

Lon Nol
  • indecisive and emotionally unstable - broke out
    into uncontrolled weeping and tremors
  • faith in the occult and other mystical matters
    far overshadowed his leadership skills
  • consult with monks who claimed to be spiritual
    channels to the ancient kings of Angkor
  • "The only thing we know about Lon Nol is that Lon
    Nol spelled backwards is Lon Nol."
  • Nixon administration, committed to pursuing an
    honorable end to the war in Vietnam, adopted Lon
    Nol and began to supply his forces.

The War Rages in CambodiaLon Nol Loses Ground
  • spring 1970 to Jan. 1973, Cambodia suffered
    hundreds of thousands of casualties as North
    Vietnamese communist forces engaged US-supported
    Cambodian troops
  • Cambodian military lost one engagement after
  • Corruption among the ranks led to many officers
    lying about their unit strengths
  • each unit received a certain amount of money for
    each soldier, so officers pocketed huge sums over
    non-existent soldiers while their undermanned
    units were sent into battles they could not win

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Refugees and Phnom Penh
  • Pop. 600,000
  • Now almost 1.5 million with refugees
  • City under siege
  • 1975 2,000,000

The Khmer Rouge
  • Khmer Rouge with the Vietnamese to gain ground in
  • grew in strength and size
  • Nixon administration - Khmer Rouge were a puppet
    militia of the Hanoi government - if the war with
    Hanoi could be settled, the civil war in Cambodia
    would end with it
  • Was this evaluation accurate?

Paris Peace Accords Jan. 1973
  • North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the United States,
    Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) that
    represented South Vietnamese revolutionaries
  • ceasefire, U.S. troops (along with other foreign
    soldiers) would begin to withdraw
  • P.O.W. exchange repatriate remains
  • negotiations between the two South Vietnamese
    parties -- the Republic of Vietnam and the PRG --
    towards a settlement that would allow the people
    of South Vietnam to decide their future in free
  • Reunification of Vietnam, "carried out step by
    step through peaceful means.
  • Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger (Nobel Prizes)

  • Khmer Rouge immediately broke with Hanoi why?
  • February 1973 US reinstituted its massive B-52
    bombing campaign in Cambodia in the feeble hope
    of sustaining the Lon Nol government
  • eight months 540,000 tons of US bombs fell across
    Cambodia - more than the entire tonnage dropped
    on Japan during all of World War II
  • any place outside of Phnom Penh was fair game for
  • thousands of small Cambodian villages were
    flattened or abandoned
  • 100,000 casualties
  • late 1972 the Khmer Rouge army had grown to some
    50,000 soldiers why?

Aug., 1973 - Neak Luong
  • 125 residents were killed, bombardier was fined
    only 700 for his mistake
  • Congress demanded an end to the bombing
  • August 15 president Nixon halted the B-52
  • last direct military intervention in Southeast
    Asia by the United States

Fall of South Vietnam
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Khmer Rouge assault on Phnom Penh
  • New Year's Day of January 1975
  • US airlifts unsuccessfully attempted to feed the
    entire city - less than 600 metric tons of food
    per day
  • Lon Nol's troops quickly fell apart from lack of
    supplies, lack of support, and lack of leadership
  • Khmer Rouge, strengthened by a steady stream of
    supplies from Hanoi and emboldened by surviving
    years of sustained US bombardment, made their
    push into the Phnom Penh suburbs

  • Lon Nol, crippled by nervous breakdowns and a
    series of minor strokes, fled Phnom Penh for
    Hawaii with his family and entourage
  • Prince Sirik Matak and other Lon Nol supporters
    remained behind in the hopes of organizing a
    last-minute peace talks
  • Khmer Rouge rejected the talks and pressed
    further into the capital

Ambassador John Gunther Dean
  • made plans to evacuate US embassy staff and their
    families along with key Cambodian government
  • Sirik Matak, Lon Nol's brother Lon Non, and
    acting prime minister Long Boret
  • three declined the offer

Sirik Mataks response
  • Dear Excellency and friend,
  • I thank you very sincerely for your letter and
    for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I
    cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.
  • As for you and in particular for your great
    country, I never believed for a moment that you
    would have this sentiment of abandoning a people
    which has chosen liberty. You have refused us
    your protection and we can do nothing about it.
    You leave us and it is my wish that you and your
    country will find happiness under the sky.
  • But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the
    spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad
    because we are all born and must die one day. I
    have only committed the mistake of believing in
    you, the Americans.
  • Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my
    faithful and friendly sentiments. Sirik Matak.
  • All executed within 2 weeks

  • April 12th U.S. embassy staff evacuation from
    Phnom Penh

April 17, 1975 Day Zero

The young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers wave flags 17 April 1975 as they enter Phnom Penh 2,000 years of Cambodian history now meaningless
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The young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers atop their US-made armored vehicles enter 17 April 1975 Phnom Penh.

The young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers carry mortar shells 17 April 1975 as they enter Phnom Penh, the day Cambodia fell under the control of the Communist Khmer Rouge forces. The Cambodian capital surrendered after a three and a half-month siege of Pol Pot forces.

The young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers enter Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975, the day Cambodia fell under the control of the Communist Khmer Rouge forces. The Cambodian capital surrendered after a three and a half-month siege of Pol Pot forces.
"The Americans are going to bomb the city!
Everyone must leave no exceptions!

Cambodian people leaving Phnom Penh after Khmer Rouge forces seized and emptied the Cambodian capital on the17 April 1975. AFP PHOTO/Agence Khmere de Presse Cities are living and breathing tools of capitalism KR cadres referred to Phnom Penh as "the great prostitute of the Mekong"
Evacuees ordered to write their biographies,
explaining who they were and what type of work
they had done under the old regime 20,000
people died in the evacuation  
Pol Pots Eight-Point Program for Year Zero
  • 1. Evacuate people from all towns.2. Abolish all
    markets.3. Abolish Lon Nol regime currency, and
    withhold the revolutionary currency that had been
    printed.4. Defrock all Buddhist monks, and put
    them to work growing rice.5. Execute all leaders
    of the Lon Nol regime beginning with the top
    leaders.6. Establish high-level cooperatives
    throughout the country, with communal eating.7.
    Expel the entire Vietnamese minority
    population.8. Dispatch troops to the borders,
    particularly the Vietnamese border.

The old people- noble peasant
  • simple, uneducated, hard-working and not prone to
    exploiting others
  • way of life had not changed for centuries, yet
    they always managed to survive
  • old people - as the ideal communists for the
    new Cambodian state

new people or "April 17 people"
  • New people were the root of all capitalist evil
  • teacher, a tailor, a civil servant or a monk new
    people were the embodiment of capitalism
  • personal political ideologies irrelevant
  • new people had made an active choice to live in
    the cities and thus declared their allegiance to
  • Khmer Rouge saying made the point clearly "To
    preserve you is no gain, to destroy you is no

Life and dependency under Angkar
  • revolution was supposed to tear down class
    barriers and make everyone equal
  • revolution had to be "pure"
  • How?

  • no markets and currency
  • population was entirely dependent upon "Angkar"
  • Books and all printed materials were forbidden
  • all private property was banned except for
    clothing and a handful of personal effects
  • Everything was the property of the state
  • Buddhism was outlawed
  • No travel was allowed without permission

"to build socialism in the fields" "With rifles
in one hand and hoes in the other, our workers,
peasants, and revolutionary armed forces are
striving grandly to build democratic Kampuchea."
Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK)
  • secrecy was one of the best tools for controlling
    the population
  • Cambodian people didn't even know the CPK existed
  • Only told that the country was now run by
    Angka/Angkar the organization
  • Angka were known only among themselves until
    September, 1977, when Saloth Sar - using his nom
    de guerre Pol Pot - introduced the world to
    Democratic Kampuchea through a public radio
    broadcast (see handout members)

Living in the Work Camps / Farming Cooperatives
  • all people would have to live and work in the
    countryside as peasants massive irrigation
  • "four-year plan"
  • expected to produce an average national yield of
    3 metric tons of rice per hectare (1.4 tons per
  • during pre-Khmer Rouge, peacetime Cambodia, the
    average national yield was only one metric ton of
    rice per hectare
  • 12 hours a day to increase production
  • Many new people lacked any experience in manual
    labor and became ill and died
  • traditional medicine of the peasants and
    hilltribes over modern western medicine
  • Not capable of working - executed

  • men and women were organized into separate work
  • families were often split up as members were sent
    to work in different areas
  • children as young as six were assigned to "weak
    strength" work groups which also included the
  • weak strength groups performed such tasks as
    collecting manure, tending small gardens, or
    raising chickens
  • full strength" groups did the heavy work
    digging canals and reservoirs, building dikes,
    logging, planting and harvesting the rice fields
  • Most areas followed a schedule of ten days of
    work, then one day of rest
  • All required to wear black clothes no

The myth of irrigation
  • Angkor Wat myth suggests that Angkor's ancient
    system of moats, ponds and canals, formed a
    'super' irrigation system which not only was the
    basis for its rice - cultivation based wealth but
    that it also cannot be surpassed by contemporary
    water wisdom
  • vigorously promoted upgrading water management,
    and self - help projects were planned and carried
    out countrywide by the local population under the
    supervision of local civil authorities or
    Buddhist monks.
  • Little knowledge was required to rescale
    traditional structures into larger ones, using
    concrete instead of wood and woven rattan. Many
    reservoirs in the floodplains were formed by
    constructing dams.

  • entire population was forced to grow rice during
    the wet season
  • construct water management and irrigation systems
    during the remaining five to eight months of the
  • Goal turn country into a super irrigation
    system, making it independent of rainfall
  • few persons with the required technical knowledge
    had either fled, been killed or were not
    consulted during this process
  • Today very small percentage of these structures
    can be incorporated in any future water
    management system, and they will require much
    additional investment. Most of the structures are
    useless or, even worse, disruptive to water

Keeping new people is no benefitlosing them is
no loss." Hard work alone will not save you!
  • foraging for extra food was a capital offense
  • family relationships were now banned (for parents
    exploited their children)
  • associating with a relative without the
    permission of Angka execution
  • spoke French execution
  • Educated execution
  • Wore glasses execution
  • Member or related to someone in the former
    regimes execution
  • Survive try and pretend to be one of the old
  • Of 270 doctors who remained in Cambodia after
    1975, only about 40 survived Pol Pot's reign

  • Publicly speaking a language other than Khmer was
    punishable by death
  • 100,000 ethnic Vietnamese were executed
  • 225,000 ethnic Chinese and 90,000 Chams are
    believed to have died of disease, starvation, or

  • Definitions and interpretations
  • Handout

  • victims were taken away to "killing fields"
  • forced to kneel in front of trenches before being
    killed by a blow to the head with a pickaxe or
  • large groups of people were shot together
  • individuals were suffocated by a plastic bag tied
    over their heads
  • Executions were also sometimes performed publicly
  • victims were beaten to death others were
    disemboweled, and their livers were cooked and
    eaten by their killers
  • Whole families were often killed for the minor
    infractions of a single person
  • Infants were smashed against trees, or thrown
    into the air and impaled on bayonets or bamboo

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Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh (S-21)
konlaenh choul min dael chenh - "the place where
people go in but never come out"
  • originally been built as a secondary school
    during Sihanouk's regime
  • Most of those incarcerated at Tuol Sleng were
    Khmer Rouge cadres who had fallen under suspicion
    during a series of purges
  • DK foreign ministry which described these
    individuals as "pests buried within" noted that
    1 to 5 of all Cambodians were "traitors
  • No one was immune from the purges including
    committed members of the Khmer Rouge leadership
  • Information minister Hu Nim Deputy Prime
    Minister Vorn Vet
  • Many were women, and about 2,000 were children
    who had been taken to the prison along with their
  • prison records at least 14,000 persons had been
    imprisoned there by January 1979
  • extract confessions from political prisoners
    before execution outside of the capital near the
    farming village of Choeung Ek
  • 20,000 people are known to have entered Tuol
    Sleng of these only seven are known to have

  • children were seen as being pure and untainted by
    capitalism and family influence
  • believe in nothing but Angka - even their parents
    might become their worst enemies
  • children would spy on their parents or report on
    their families' activities during the Lon Nol
  • If parents were disguising themselves as
    uneducated peasants, their children would be
    rewarded for identifying them as enemies of the
  • some farming collectives there were so many
    adolescent Khmer Rouge cadres it seemed their
    were no adults running the camps

"livelihood meetings" (prachum chivapheap)
  • Daily lectures by Khmer Rouge cadres
  • served as propaganda sessions where people could
    be indoctrinated into Angka's communist ideals
  • meetings were opportunities for people to confess
    their past political and ideological sins,
    denounce fellow Cambodians
  • many saw these livelihood meetings as
    opportunities to confess their pasts and be
    redeemed in the eyes of the Khmer Rouge
  • Confessions- rewarded by applause and praise,
    perhaps an embrace from the Khmer Rouge cadres in
  • Later in the evening/afterward quietly escorted
    from camp and executed

  • "Politics were everything. Political formation
    dominated every other activity."
  • They Khmer Rouge political cadres attacked the
    individualist idea successively, in material
    terms, in terms of thought, and in terms of
    feelings. Materially, we had to denounce those
    who had more than the people. In terms of
    thought, each of us had to keep an eye on
    everyone else, to disclose any attitude that
    didn't conform to the line of the party.
    Everything was interpreted words, gestures,
    attitudes. Sadness was a sign of spiritual
    confusion, joy a sign of individualism, while
    an indecisive point of view indicated a petty
    bourgeois intellectualism."
  • David Chandler in The Tragedy of Cambodian
    History (Chandler, 284)

Life in the work camps contd
  • quality of life in these farm cooperative varied
    greatly from district to district
  • Conditions worsened in 1977 and 1978 as Angka
    increased demands on rice production
  • more and more difficult for malnourished
    Cambodians to farm efficiently
  • distain of technology made it next to impossible
    for workers to reach their increased rice quotas
    when forced to farm by hand only
  • If farm met its rice quota, this didn't mean they
    would be rewarded with a proper diet
  • bulk of the rice was earmarked for Khmer Rouge
    soldiers and political cadre
  • New people could only eat the scraps that were
    given to them
  • if caught supplementing their diets with grass or
    even insects - execution

Rural areas starvation and death
  • By 1976, communal eating was instituted
    throughout most of the country
  • regions, the food was generally rice,
    occasionally with some fish most regions watery
    rice soup
  • cause of the food shortages?
  • rice was not distributed
  • Production quotas for each region were determined
    by Phnom Penh
  • local authorities were expected to send a set
    amount of rice to the central government
  • Quotas were wildly unrealistic
  • when they were not met, local leaders were faced
    with a choice send the amount requested to Phnom
    Penh and let their people starve, or admit
    failure to their superiors
  • What would you do?

  • lack of food was compounded by a lack of medical
  • explained that only the methods of their
    ancestors would be used to treat illness
  • nothing would be taken from Western science
  • purchasing medicines from abroad would have
    compromised the "purity" and "self-sufficiency"
    of the population

  • demoralized work force succumbing to disease and
  • country could no longer sustain itself
  • Need scapegoats thousands of CPK members
    imprisoned and executed
  • Need an external threat to unify the country
    who would Pol Pot focus on and why?

Target Vietnam
  • Paris Peace Accords and Khmer sense of betrayal
  • Vietnam was firmly rooted in the Soviet camp
  • Khmer Rouge were allied with the Chinese
  • ancient Vietnamese and Khmer rivalries
  • Khmer Rouge, having withstood US bombing and
    triumphed against Lon Nol, believed themselves
  • Pol Pot saw minor border disputers as proof of
    Vietnamese desire to invade
  • Pre-empt the Vietnamese by invading Vietnam
    heavy fighting in 1977
  • Khmer losing vs. Vietnamese Pol Pot purges
    eastern Khmer party members, officers soldiers
    as Vietnamese spies
  • Many eastern Khmer Rouge flee to Vietnam
  • Heng Samrin Khmer Rouge division commander fled
    to Vietnam

  • Heng Samrin returns
  • 90,000 Vietnamese and 18,000 dissident Cambodians
  • Pol Pot's army, 73,000 17 Feb 1979-Mar 5 1979
    Sino-Vietnamese War
  • two weeks, the Vietnamese had captured Phnom Penh

  • was sent to New York to speak against Vietnam
    before the United Nations. After his speech, he
    sought refuge in China and in North Korea.

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Cambodia under Vietnamese occupation
  • 1987, per capita income was estimated to be only
    160 annually -- ranking 195th out of the world's
    203 countries
  • End of Cold War, costs, and continual fighting
    Vietnam withdraws by 1990
  • State of Cambodia, 1989-1991
  • Pol Pot might return to power in the vacuum
    created by the Vietnamese withdrawal!
  • Incentive for various political factions and UN
    to be more involved
  • 35,000 troops contain guerillas still unstable

Framework for peace, 1991-1993
  • 1990 the five permanent members of the U.N.
    Security Council helps create put Supreme
    National Council (SNC) representing all warring
  • October 23, 1991, the agreement signed and
    formally accepted by all sides
  • plan called for each army to demobilize 70 of
    their troops
  • U.N. began the massive task of repatriating the
    nearly 370,000 refugees from the camps in
  • interim functioning of the government would be
    handled by the U.N. until elections could be held
    in May 1993

  • largest and costliest peacekeeping operation ever
    undertaken by the U.N.
  • 22,000 soldiers and administrators
  • October 1991 government internal dispute led
    to the removal of Heng Samrin (General Secretary
    of the communist party)
  • Hun Sen (former Foreign Minister ex-Khmer
    Rouge cadre who defected in 1977) runs for
  • May 1993, UN-sponsored general elections
  • coalition government was formed by Prince Norodom
    Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party, which won a
    plurality of votes, and Hun Sen's Cambodian
    People's Party (CPP).
  • Khmer Rouge boycotted the elections Khmer Rouge
  • sustain military threat from the border, funded
    by illegal trade in gems and timber 10 million
    each month
  • Hun Sen as P.M. gained the international
    legitimacy necessary for obtaining urgently
    needed donor funding

Hun Sen
  • one of the world's longest-serving prime
    ministers, in power in various coalitions since
  • Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won general
    elections in 2003
  • June 2004 - struck a deal with the royalist
    Funcinpec party
  • 2004 Sihanouk abdicates and is succeeded by his
    son - King Norodom Sihamoni

  • January 1994, the Cambodian National Assembly
    passed legislation outlawing the Khmer Rouge
  • assimilate remaining K.R. forces into the Royal
    Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)

Trial of Khmer Rouge
  • supported by the U.S. on moral grounds
  • international donor community as a means for
    assessing the reliability of the Cambodian
    government's legal and economic institutions
  • April 1994, the US Congress passed legislation
    aimed at bringing the Khmer Rouge leadership to
  • "Consistent with international law, it is the
    policy of the United States to support efforts to
    bring to justice members of the Khmer Rouge for
    their crimes against humanity committed in
    Cambodia between April 17, 1975, and January 7,
  • December 1994 - establishment of the Cambodian
    Genocide Program (CGP) Yale University (see
    course web page)

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  • pursued a trial to the extent necessary to
    appease the international community and
    intimidate the remaining Khmer Rouge leadership
  • careful not to jeopardise its strategy of
    assimilating the Khmer Rouge forces into the RCAF
  • redefined justice in terms of national
  • Peace and stability, the government claimed, were
    preferable to pursuing disruptive legal
    proceedings against the Khmer Rouge for past
  • September 15, 1996, when it provided amnesty to
    Ieng Sary, former Deputy Prime Minister of the
    Khmer Rouge government
  • amnesty of Ieng Sary brought former Khmer Rouge
    troops loyal to him and his territories to Hun
    Sens side
  • Khmer Rouge broadcasts accused him of embezzling
    up to 25 million from party coffers

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  • April 1997, when Son Sen, the former Khmer Rouge
    Deputy Prime Minister, and his family were killed
    by Pol Pot at the Khmer Rouge stronghold in
    Anlong Veng
  • Pol Pot, in turn, was placed under house arrest
    by rival Khmer Rouge leaders Ta Mok, Nuon Chea
    and Khieu Samphan
  • (Ta Moks house Anlong Veng)

  • May 1997, Pol Pot was tried by rival Khmer Rouge
    forces Anlong Veng
  • April 1997 - UN Commission on Human Rights
    adopted resolution 1997/49 which requests "the
    Secretary General, through his Special
    Representative, to examine any request for
    assistance in responding to past serious
    violations of Cambodian and international law."
  • March 1998, Khmer Rouge units led by Khmer Rouge
    commander Ke Pauk mutinied against Ta Mok and
    joined forces with the Cambodian government.

Pol Pot d. April 15, 1998, Pol Pot heart attack
  • UN-backed trials are due to start in 2007
  • Ta Mok Grandfather Mok (c. 1926 21 July
    2006), Chhit Choeun the Butcher
  • Khieu Samphan (former PM) and Nuon Chea (PM
    deputy) 1998 Pardon, live in Pailin, once the
    movement's jungle headquarters
  • deny being involved in the atrocities
  • Khang Khek Ieu Duch (b. 1942) head of S-21
    name Haing Pin in custody
  • Chinese Government still opposes the tribunal

  • United Nations pardons cannot protect someone
    from prosecution

  • Pardoned 1996
  • Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith (wife) live in a
    luxury villa in Phnom Penh, as well as
    maintaining a home in Pailin

January 2004
  • Cambodia is the only country in the world where
    all of the three most important human indicators
    (poverty, mortally, and illiteracy) have worsened
    over the last ten years

Poverty (percentage of the population living on
less than 0.75 a day)
  • - 1992 38.
  • - 1998 36.
  • - 2004 43.
  • - 2005 (est.) 45.
  • (Sources World Bank, UNDP).

Infant (under 5) mortality rate
  • - 1990 97 / 1,000.
  • - 2001 138 / 1,000.
  • - 2003 140 / 1,000 compared to 23 / 1,000 for
    Vietnam, and 5 / 1,000 for Singapore.
  • (Sources UNDP "Human Development Report" 2003
    Unicef "Childhood Under Threat The State of the
    World's Children 2005" Report).

Adult (age 15 and above) illiteracy rate in 2003
  • - Analphabetism (no knowledge of the alphabet)
    36 .
  • - Illiteracy (some knowledge of the alphabet but
    inability to read and write properly) 27.
  • - Total adult illiteracy rate 63, compared to
    less than 60 in 1990.
  • (Sources UNDP, Cambodian Ministry of Education).