Cambodia Genocide
Led by Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge (Red Cambodians)
1975-1979- 2 million deaths
Background
 In 1949 Pol Pot went to college in Paris
 Became interested in Marxism
 1953 returned to Cambodia and led a
communist movement
 1954- Cambodia gained independence
from France
 1962- Became leader of Cambodian
Communist Party
 But had to flee to the jungle because Prince
Sihanouk did not agree with him
 Formed the Khmer Rouge and waged a war
against Sihanouk
 1970- Prince Sihanouk was ousted by US
military and joined Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge
 US bombed North Vietnam which killed 150,000
Cambodians
 These events led to economic and military
destabilization in Cambodia
 Support for Pol Pot grew
 April 17, 1975- Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army
marched into Phnom Penh and seized control of
Cambodia
 Wanted to create an agrarian utopia inspired by Mao
Zedong
 Declared “This is year zero” and society would
be “purified”
 Capitalism, western culture, city life, religion and all
foreign influences were to be gone
New Society
 Wanted an extreme form of peasant communism
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Foreigners expelled
Embassies closed
Foreign economic or medical assistance refused
Foreign language banned
Newspapers and TV stations were shut down
Mail and telephone use banned
Religion, education, health care all gone
How was the genocide carried out?
 2 million people were evacuated from Phnom
Pen by foot at gunpoint
 20,000 died along the way
 Forced into slave labor
 Worked from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. with 2 rest periods
 Every 10th day was a day of rest
 3 days off during Khmer New Year festival
 Many died due to overwork, malnutrition, and disease
 Diet consisted of 1 tin of rice every 2 days
 Purges were held to get rid of “old society”
 Educated, wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers,
teachers, former government officials
 Anyone who was disloyal to the Khmer Rouge were shot
 “What’s rotten must be removed”
 Unsupervised gatherings of more than 2 people were
forbidden
 20,000 people were tortured into false confessions