In the grand scheme of Cambodian history, 45 months of communist rule may seem seem like a random tangent when compared with over a thousand years of
Cambodian culture. But the Cambodian holocaust is much more complex than that - a long series of events encompassing the entire 20th century may all
be seen as contributing factors.
In Cambodia Before the Holocaust you can explore the many interconnected episodes of modern Cambodian history that led to the Khmer Rouge regime.
Nixon's War ; "There are no American combat troops in Cambodia. There are no American combat advisers in Cambodia. There will be no American
combat troops or advisers in Cambodia. We will aid Cambodia. Cambodia is the Nixon doctrine in its purest form...." - President Richard M. Nixon,
Opportunities for Nixon and the Khmer Rouge
In January 1970, Prince Sihanouk embarked on another whirlwind tour, with plans to visit France, the Soviet Union and China. Lon Nol, who was now
Sihanouk's prime minister, had been abroad seeking medical treatment in France and had left Prince Sirik Matak as acting prime minister. Soon after
Sihanouk arrived in France, Lon Nol returned to Cambodia and began a series of conspiratory steps with Sirik Matak that would soon spell the political
end of Sihanouk.
From the 9th to the 13th centuries, the Cambodian empire of Angkor was the most powerful political force in Southeast Asia. Their expertise in
irrigation and public works allowed the Khmer people to build their 250-square-mile capital of Angkor, while their military prowess expanded their
control into modern-day Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Beginning in the fifteenth century, though, the Thai kingdom of Siam began its ascendance in the
region. After several half-successful attempts, the Siamese sacked Angkor in 1594. The once great city of Angkor never recovered, and the Khmer empire
soon fell to pieces.
By the early 1800s, much of modern Cambodia's territory was either a part of Siam or was a vassal state paying tribute to the Siamese court.
Additionally, significant portions of its land were occupied by Vietnamese who were migrating west at a steady rate. Not unlike Siam, Vietnam was
Cambodia's historical enemy, but Vietnamese expansion into Cambodian territory proved to be the more humiliating experience. Cambodia managed to
maintain its monarchy, but the Khmer kings of this period were largely powerless.
Sihanouk's Rise to PowerAnd the Geneva Accords
By February 1953, Norodom Sihanouk was ready to make his move and consolidate his authority over Cambodia. As part of what he called his "royal
crusade for independence" the young king traveled to France and demanded complete Cambodian sovereignty. When the French ignored his requests (to no
one's surprise), Sihanouk hit the road, visiting Europe and the United States as part of a brilliant PR campaign. With each stop the king lambasted
the French while boasting how he would not make enemies the communist Viet Minh forces. His travels were followed by a self-imposed "exile" near the
ancient city of Angkor. The French, who were losing the war with Ho Chi Minh's forces, were in no position to stop Sihanouk antics, so in October
they allowed the king to declare Cambodia's independence. France maintained some authority over economic policy, but foreign affairs and the military
were now in the hands of Sihanouk.
The End of Cambodia;The Beginning of a Nightmare
On New Year's Day of January 1975 the Khmer Rouge launched what it hoped was the final assault on Phnom Penh. The Cambodian capital was now swollen
with over two million refugees. Access to food supplies in the countryside was completely cut off, and Phnom Penh starved slowly as a stream of US
airlifts unsuccessfully attempted to feed the entire city with less than 600 metric tons of food per day. Despite a brave fight, Lon Nol's troops
quickly fell apart from lack of supplies, lack of support, and lack of leadership. The now-fanatical 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. By the end of March it
was clear there was no way of stopping the Khmer Rouge siege.
If there's a person's opinion I would like to hear from on this matter,It'll have to be Dr,Horacid's...
I have a close friend who has been in the region at the time,He was a Nepalese Ghurka captian...one of the best mountain soldiers ever,whom the
British had the Honor recruted as one of their specialized teams...
I have done a small search on them and guess who showed up....ATS has had a thread on the 12 soldierds who died in Iraq...
My Friend's name Is Gagahan...he has been with the Ghurkas for 11years,only to retire and become an travelers guide here in Europe.He spoke a couple
of Asian languages and eglish..I've learned alot from Him during the years,going with him on wlks through the bushes and hills,He can see things with
a very detailed perspective..The man Is phenomenal to say the least....
[edit on 23-12-2004 by Horus_Re]