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Cambodia

CambodiaUnderSihanouk(19531970) AfterCambodiawastakenoverbytheFrenchinWorldWar2,thethenKingNorodomSihanouk(full namePreahKarunaPreahBatSmdechPreahNorodomSihanoukPreahmhaviraksat)demanded CambodiasindependencefromtheFrenchcolonistsandtheircompletedeparturefromIndochina. DuetothreatsfromtheFrench,inMay1953SihanoukexiledtoThailandandonlyreturnedwhen independencewasgrantedonNovember9.Criticssay...khmerrouge.admirerssay.Admirersview himasoneofthecountry'sgreatpatriots,whoseinsistenceonstrictneutralitykeptCambodiaoutofthe maelstromofwarandoutoftherevolutioninneighboringVietnamformorethanfifteenyearsbeforehe wasbetrayedbyhiscloseassociate,LonNol Warandrevolution(19701975) Itwasduringthisperiodoftimeintheworld,thatTheUSweresupportingtheSouthVietnamesein theirwaragainstthecommunistNorth.CambodiawassituateddirectlywestofVietnam,makingita strategicallywellplacedforboththeUSandNorthVietnam. AtthistimeinthehistoryofCambodia,theleaderwasKingNorodomSihanouk,whohadinprevious yearsbeenprimeministeranumberoftimes,andheadofstatetwice.AlthoughhedeclaredCambodia asneutral,heallowedNorthVietnamtosendsupplies(weapons,ammunition,foodetc.)through CambodiatotheNorthVietnamesefightinginSouthVietnam. ItwasthenthattheUSbeganmajorbombingontheVietnamCambodianborder,claimingthatthey werebombingvillageswhereNorthVietnameseinsurgentswerehiding.Whenpublicprotestwas sparkedintheUSforthebombingofaneutralcountry,thegovernmentimmediatelyhalted.However, aftertheprotesthaddieddown,theybeganthebombingagain. ,andsoonafteramilitarycoop,leadbyproWashingtonLonNol,deposedofKingNorodom Sihanouk.LonNolwasaweakandineffectiveleader,wholackedpoliticalandpublicsupport.This breathednewlifeontotheKhmerRouge,whohadbeeninexilesincethe60'swhousedthepublic distasteforanAmericanpuppettofurthertheircause. Infiveyears,theyhadgatheredenoughmomentum,andwagedwarontheLonNolgovernment.They evntuallytookoverthegovernment,usingextreemeviolenceandforce.LonNolandhisgovernement retreatedfromCambodia. "DemocraticKampuchea"KhmerRougeGovernment(19751979) DemocraticKampucheawasmoderndayCambodiaduringtheKhmerRougeGovernedera.Itwasan

agrariantotalitariancommuniststate.ItwasmainlyruledbyPolPot.NorodomSihanoukwasthefigure headforthefirstyeartogainpeople'strustasapeacebasedorganization.LaterPolPotputradical reformsintoaction.Heevacuatedmillionsofpeoplefromthemajorcities,phnompenhalonehad2.5 millionpeople,warningofbombings,andproceededtohaveallthosewithagoodeducationkilledwith theaimofremovingallpotentialoppositionleaders,thosewithorganizationalskills.Theentire populationofCambodiawasforcedtoworkinruralfarmland.Manypeoplediedofexhaustionand anyonewithconnectionstoVietnamorrefusedtoworkwasexecuted.TosaveammunitiontheKhmer rougebecameveryeffectiveatkillingpeoplewithasingleblowtothebackoftheneck. CambodiaAsAVietnameseProtectorate,(19791991) ThevietnameseinvadedCambodiaaftertheattrocitiesinflictedontheethnicvietnameseincambodia andacrosstheborder.CambodiawastakenoverandtheKhmerRougeretreatedintothejungle. CambodiawasrenamedThePeople'sRepublicofCambodia.AtthistimeCambodiawasineconomic ruinasalmostalleducatedpeoplehadbeenkilled.TheKhmerRougehadsetmillionsofmines,more thanthepopulationofcambodiaitself,thisledtotheboomintheprostheticsindustry. Thecolonialera(18631945) In1863,Franceannouncedthatithadbecomethe"protectorate"ofCambodia.Thisbeinganother wayofsayingthatthefrenchtookcontrolofCambodiaasacountry,appointingaRsidentSuprieur (ResidentGeneral)tocontrolthecountry,andtomaximizetheefficencyofthetaxsystem.Althoughat thethetimetherewasaking(KingNorodom),thefrenchgavemostofthepowersofgovernmentto theResidentgeneral. In1887,theFrenchdeclaredthatCambodia,VietnamandlaterLoas,wouldbanamedtheUnion Indochinoise(UnionofIndochina).TheFrenchatthispointweretryingtoreformCambodia,to becomethe"singaporeofIndochina"hopingperhapstoturnCambodiaintoamajorexportingcountry orashippinghighway.TheysoondiscoveredthatCambodiahadnohiddenwealth,andleftit's economyandpolicesalone,intercedingonlyonmattersoftax. In1904,KingNorodomdied,leavingthethroneopentohisson,PrinceYukanthor.ExcepttheFrench feltthreatenedbyhimandhisanticolonialismideals.TheythereforegavethethronetoPrinceSisowath (arelationtoKingNorodom)whowasconsideredtohaveaweakerwillandmoresubmissivenature. DuringthenextseveralyearsseperatingtheinstitutionofKingSisowath,andthereleaseofCambodia bytheJapanese,thecountrywasrelativelyquiet.Therewereseveralminorrevoltscausedbythehigh taxrate,ofthewhichtheKingwaspowerlesstohelp,butthecountryasawholeremainedrelatively quiet.Therewerenomajorpoliticalupheavals,civilwarorevenwarsoutsideCambodiathatshefelt obligedtopartakein.ThistimeinCambodiashistorywasquitequiet. Howeverin1945,theJapanesedissolvedCambodiasannexationbythefrench,hopingthatthiswould enlisttheirhelpduringthefinalmonthsofthepacificwar.TheCambodianswelcomedtheirshort freedomwell,andcreatedthebeginingofwhatwastobeknowninfuturetimes,astheKhmerRouge. Theirescapefromtheyoke,however,wasashortlivedone.TheJapanesesurrenderedinAugust 1945,andthealliesweresoonknockingattheirdoor,demandingthatthenewpoliticalparty(then

knownasKhmerIssarak)bedisbanded,andthefrenchtomoveinonceagain,takingcontrolofwhat wasoncetheirs. TheKhmerIssaraksoonretreatedontotheCambodiaThailandborder,establishingthemselvesinthe junglewheretheywouldwaitformanyyearsfortheireventualtakeover.BackinPhnomPenh, however,freeradicalsstillarguedforthefreedomofCambodia,andwoulddosoformanyyears,until 1953,undertheleadershipofKingNorodomSihanouk.