A Czechoslovak Analysis of the
Situation in Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Regime
Max Christie and Emily Kreuger
Cambodia has been caught
up in war and genocide, thrown at the mercy of constantly shifting regimes. The
instability of the Sihanouk regime created extreme anti-foreign policy and opinion,
paving the way for future governments to overthrow it. When the Vietnam War
threatened to desecrate the region, King Norodom Sihanouk attempted to build a
neutral role for Cambodia, siding neither with Vietnam, nor the United States
(USA).1 Eventually, however, after
entering into negotiations with North Vietnam, the
Nixon administration undertook a secret bombing campaign in 1969 against the
border area of Cambodia, and Sihanouk’s government did little to solve the
issue of American violence.2 Cambodia’s precarious
position, caught within proxy wars between the USA and Vietnam, as a result of
the Vietnam War, lead to public dissatisfaction with the Sihanouk Foreign
policy, as French colonization had long planted the need for a strong,
independent Cambodian government, a government that Sihanouk had, in the eyes
of the people, failed to provide. 3 Eventually, Sihanouk received word that Prime
Minister Lon Nol, backed by the military, staged a coup and appointed himself
the Head of State of the Southeast Asian country.4 Appalled by the coup, the
Soviet Union refused to recognize the new government and
aided North Vietnamese forces in invading Cambodia. A civil
war ensued for the next five years, with the US providing air support to Lon
Nol’s forces, at the same time, however, the Khmer Rouge, had been building up
support in the countryside.5 The Khmer Rouge was a
radical communist political part in Cambodia, who considered themselves to be a “party of the
Cambodian people,” rather than aligned with Vietnam or the United States.
Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the Khmer Rouge in April
1975.6 The victorious Khmer Rouge
then evacuated Phnom Penh and began reorganizing Cambodian society, unleashing a
reign of terror and genocide on anyone who opposes their brutal regime,
murdering more than two million Cambodians in the name of the Khmer Rouge.7 The Khmer Rouge began the Cambodian
genocide by forcing the city’s population into labor camps in the countryside,
where executions, physical abuse, disease, exhaustion, and starvation were common,
and the country’s name was changed to Democratic Kampuchea in 1976.8 In the beginning,
executions were unnecessary, as starvation disposed of many populations, but as
more Cambodians were incarcerated, the Khmer Rouge created a system of “killing
fields,” sites of execution worth those deemed unworthy, establishing hundreds throughout
Cambodia.9 North Vietnam played a
significant role in liberating Cambodia from the violent, totalitarian Khmer
Rouge, as the Khmer Rouge dictatorship lasted until January 7th, 1979, when
roughly 15,000 Cambodian insurgents and 100,000 Vietnamese troops freed Phnom
Penh.10 Opposition towards the North
Vietnam government demonstrates support for the Khmer Rouge’s human rights
violations, and the horrific genocide that has been committed. Therefore, the international
community must recognize North Vietnam and the People’s Republic of Kampuche
(PRK) as the true government of Cambodia, establish and support firm North
Vietnamese influence, focus humanitarian rebuilding efforts on the area, and
eliminate the political and social impacts of the Khmer Rouge. Only once North Vietnam
is recognized as the government of Cambodia, can the multi-national dispute and
the immediate impacts on the Cambodian peoples, such as violence, famine, and
economic weakness, be resolved.
-reference UN documents
-creating scholarship program
**Put in name and stuff, and session/committee
-only use sources from the right date
-is the khmer rouge already eliminated by this point?
-cambodian self-governance is harmful
-are khmer rouge and prk the same thing
Why it is important:
Ben Kiernan, “Introduction: Conflict in Cambodia,
1945-2002,” Critical Asian Studies 34, No. 4 (2002): 485, accessed 6
July 2017, http://gsp.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/CAS34-4_Kiernan_Introduction.pdf.
Elizabeth, and Seth Mydans. “Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodian Leader Through
Shifting Allegiances, Dies at 89.” The New York Times. October 14, 2012.
Accessed January 15, 2018.
Ben Kiernan, “Introduction: Conflict in Cambodia, 1945-2002,” Critical Asian
Studies 34, No. 4 (2002): 485, accessed 6, July 2017,
Ajay. “When Moscow helped topple the Khmer Rouge.” USSR Beyond. March
19, 2016. Accessed January 23, 2018.
brutal Khmer Rouge regime.” BBC News. August 04, 2014. Accessed January
24, 2018. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-10684399.
Nol ousts Prince Sihanouk.” History.com. Accessed January 24, 2018.
Pot overthrown.” History.com. Accessed January 15, 2018.
Cambodian Genocide.” United to End Genocide. 2016. Accessed January 28,
Fall of Democratic Kampuchea,” US Library of Congress, accessed 20 July 2017,