Cambodians Under Pol Pot Cambodia, a small country just west of Vietnam, gained independence after nearly 100 years of French rule. They first faced the problem of Communism during the Vietnamese Civil War. They remained neutral by contributing equally to North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was a Communist country while South Vietnam was advised by the U. S. The Khmer Rouge, a group of Communist rebels, was led by Pol Pot. They soon took over Cambodia, killing hundreds of thousands of people. They transformed the country into a Communist society. The people of Cambodia rebelled because of the harsh dictatorship.
Within days of the Khmer Rouge taking over, changes were made. New policies were created stating that the entire population should become a collective federation of farmers. All educated people (doctors, lawyers, teachers, and scientists) were murdered. Schools, factories, and hospitals were shut down. Any and all kinds of political rights were eliminated as well. The people of Cambodia were purposely placed in working camps as far away from their homes as possible, working for extremely long hours and receiving minimal rations. Racism was also a problem. All Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai’s were murdered.
Certain religions were also not acceptable such as Christianity and Muslim. The children of Cambodia were indoctrinated causing them to become extremely brainwashed and almost everyone was a victim of torture as well. There was very little involvement by the U. S. to stop the genocide in Cambodia. This was because the United States was already involved in the Vietnam War and they were facing many social and political pressures. The only reason they were involved was to stop the spread of communism. Finally, the Vietnamese invaded and overthrew the Khmer Rouge.
They immediately installed a less repressive government but this didn’t stop the fighting. They only wanted to take over Cambodia so that their Communist society would grow. The Vietnamese eventually withdrew and Cambodia adopted a democratic constitution which held free elections. The economy and society of Cambodia has never truly recovered from the genocide. Although Cambodia has made many attempts to change its economy, it is still based mainly upon agricultural development because Pol Pot’s policies destroyed their foreign aid and all of Cambodia’s educated professionals were killed.
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