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of Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge)?
Jonathan Leschinski Candidate Number: 001415 - 042 History Investigation HL
Word Count: 1951
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Table of Contents
Paragraph A: Plan of the Investigation..................................................................................2
Paragraph B: Summary of Evidence.......................................................................................3
Paragraph C: Evaluation of Sources.......................................................................................3
Paragraph D: Analysis..........................................................................................................4
Paragraph E: Conclusion.......................................................................................................5
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Section A: Plan of the Investigation To what extent did external factors affect the creation of the state of Democratic Kampuchea by the Communist Party of Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge)? This paper will examine the situation in Cambodia prior to the formation of “Democratic Kampuchea” and the seizure of power by the Khmer Rouge, the Communist Party of Cambodia (CPK). The Investigation will cover events undertaken by foreign factions and external forces and the effects they had within Cambodia leading up to the eventual assumption of power. While external factors will be primarily examined, to form a solid conclusion the situation within Cambodia and the effects of such factors must also be analysed. Words: 106
Section B: Summary of Evidence Cambodia achieved complete independence from the French in 1954, and thereafter came under rule of King Sihanouk. Early in Cambodia’s independence, China was among the first countries to send aid, beginning military aid in 1963. Initially the United States also sent economic aid, but once surpassed by China ceased general aid in favour of tunneling it towards Cambodian military support. The U.S also secretly aided the Khmer Serei, an anti-communist guerilla movement who were originally founded to resist the French. In the early 1960s, U.S aid made up about 30% of Cambodia's military budget, almost $12 million a year.1 Further from Cambodia’s borders the world was caught in an ideological war - Capitalism versus Communism. The U.S lead the capitalist army and, according to frontman Kennedy, would “pay any price”2 to defeat communism. Pioneers of the opposing side, the Soviet Union, were attempting to spread a ‘global revolution’ of communism. The second largest communist faction, The Peoples Republic of China were also spreading their own brand of communism. Under deceased USSR leader Joseph Stalin’s orders the Comintern assigned Vietnamese communist, Ho Chi Minh the responsibility of liberating Indochina. However a rivalry among communist factions, China and the Soviet Union, eventuated in a withdrawal of Soviet support in Cambodia and Indochina, claiming it was up to Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam to spread the revolution.
1 Haas, Michael. Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States : The Faustian Pact. New York: Praeger, 1991, p63. 2 Haas, Michael. Genocide by Proxy, Praeger Press, 1991, p77
Page |5 001415-042 This rivalry of superpowers materialised across Cambodia’s eastern borders in a war fought officially between the communist North Vietnam, lead by Ho Chi Minh against the government of South Vietnam, whom were with substantial U.S support. During this conflict Cambodian King Sihanouk took a policy of neutrality. During the Vietnam war Cambodia, despite it’s neutrality, was seen by the North Vietnamese forces as ‘crucial’ territory needed for a victory. The Khmer (Cambodian) communist movement, and it’s guerrilla armies, were heavily aided, and trained, by Hanoi. Cambodia was involuntarily part of the larger ‘Indochina’ battlefield. In 1965 the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese started using Cambodia as a major conduit for supplies. The Cultural Revolution of China was fast extend past its shores, and the communist’s in Cambodia were starting to absorb its notions. China was also amidst what would be known as the ‘Sino-Soviet’ split, a conflict of ‘communist’ ideologies between China and the Soviet Union. The US began illegally bombing Cambodia in March 1969, before a formal ‘invasion’ in 1970. From 1969-1970, the U.S. and the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) flew 3,360 B-52 raids on Cambodia, and altogether, dropped 540,000 tons of bombs on the country, over 100,000 of them in the last six months of the campaign3, which was "nearly twice as many tons of bombs on rural Cambodia as they had dropped on Japan in World War II."4 In March 1970, army colonel Lon Nol staged a U.S backed coup de-tat. The Vietnam War moved west. The expelled Sihanouk joined forces with, once enemies, the Khmer Rouge to fight Lon Nol in the National Front for the Union of Kampuchea (FUNK). This caused Civil War. The U.S launched a large invasion, and continued arming the Khmer Serei, another pro-Lon Nol guerilla movement, as support. On April 17th 1975, The Khmer Rouge captured the capital of Phnom Penh, and took control of what would be newly named, Democratic Kampuchea.
Section C : Evaluation of Sources Source 1
3 Owen, Taylor. "Bombs Over Cambodia." The Walrus Oct. 2006. <http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2006.10-historybombing-cambodia/>.
4 Haas, Michael. Genocide by Proxy : Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard. New York: Praeger, 1991. p82
Page |6 001415-042 Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) This source is a translation of the constitution put in place by the Khmer Rouge, in the year 1975. The constitution includes a clear ‘introduction’ to the newly established form of government, and justification for the new constitution. It’s purpose was not only to inform the Cambodian people of what they were now a part of, but also why. It’s value is in its authenticity, the fact it is an official document and is seemingly objective in presenting information. It is essentially a primary source. However this also gives it limitations. The purpose of the document is not only to inform the population, but to ‘convince’ them, thus is not completely objective. The version I am reading has also been translated, be it by a Cambodian scholar, by not being in it’s native language fallacies are unavoidable, as to non-native readers the words and their meanings no matter how ‘faithful’ their translations are, due to the inherent limitations in the nature of language, can never be completely accurate. Source 2 “Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States: The Faustian Pact” by American Michael Haas is an in depth scholarly study of United States foreign policy towards Cambodia during the years leading up to and in which Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge existed, written in 1991. It is the result of in depth research, with detailed reference and sources. The source is valuable due to much of its data is taken from various agencies as well as primary sources, such as many interviews or newspapers. Written 12 years after the fall of the regime, much more information had become available. The purpose of the book is to give a more analytical narration of the events surround US foreign policy towards Cambodia during the ‘Pol Pot era.’ Haas uses a systematic way to approach his analysis of events which are all documented in Appendix A of the book. Value lies in Haas’ transparency. The limitations of the text lie in it’s possible bias, and as stated in the preface, Haas was looking for reasons, and thus may not be as open minded as he attempts to be. Haas recently published a book titled George W Bush, War Criminal?, showing that Haas shows a reoccurring bias that seems to be largely critical of the United State’s politics. However being from the United States, there is seemingly no ‘emotional’ attachment or cultural ties to the events faced by the Cambodian population, perhaps giving a more objective view.
Section D : Analysis
Page |7 001415-042 Shortly after independence Cambodia was now a blip the world’s radar. Several countries such as the US and China took a particular interest, each concerned about the span of each others respective ‘enemy’s’ sphere of influence, and Indochina was the region in which significant ‘potential’ was apparent. The most significant external force between 1965-1974 was the United States. It is obvious the US saw Cambodia as another piece in the puzzle for the consolidation in being the world singular power. In the beginning of Cambodia’s Independence the United States tolerated Sihanouk’s position of neutrality, even providing economic aid. However in the early 1960s when China surpassed US aid to Cambodia, the US shifted its support to cutting general aid in favour of building up the Cambodian military, a move that could be seen to the US’s attempt to counter China’s influence in the ‘long term.’ Where Military ‘influence’ would be more important than economic aid. In a world in which ‘Domino Theory’ held sway, when the Vietnam war broke out the US naturally also wanted to stop the Communist’s from the North from influencing Cambodians. Initially the Cambodian Communist’s were divided by those influenced by the Chinese and Vietnamese beleifs, and those who were influenced by the anti-intellectual Stalinist, French Communists across the seas. For Hanoi, Cambodia was crucial for North Vietnam’s defeat of the South. It was not only a geographical buffer to the US influenced Thailand, but with it’s position of neutrality it was able to be used to foster pro-Communist Guerrillas. Namely the Khmer Rouge, however a these communists once mixed with foreign influence would adopt their own breed of Communism. Due to the external flow of wealth into Cambodia during the 1960s, it prospered. However in the first Democratic Kampuchea constitution it states that the “Kampuchean people…desire an independent, unified, peaceful, neutral, non-aligned, sovereign Kampuchea enjoyed territorial integrity, a national society informed by genuine hapiness, equality, justice, and democracy without rich or poor and without exploiters or exploited.”5 This shows that perhaps the Cambodian people were aware of the position that foreign dependency placed upon them. This was apparent in 1963 in which the CPK movement gained much of it’s support. However the movement was seen as a resistance against Sihanouk’s ‘neutral’ policies and was pushed into the countryside. The leader of the Khmer Rouge, Saloth Sar (Later named Pol Pot), did the bulk of his recruitment and organisation with the support of North Vietnamese allies. The Vietnam War in the mid 1960s was raging and due to the geographical position Cambodia, despite Sihanouk’s best efforts, was unable to avoid the conflict. Due to a deal made with China regarding the use of one of Cambodia’s ports, the country quickly became a conduit for supplies, mainly arms, to the North Vietnamese Army and the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia’s porous borders also lead to appeals to the
5 Democratic Kampuchea. Trans. Raoul M. Jennar. 1975. Documentation Center of Cambodia.
Page |8 001415-042 UN made by Sihanouk stating that between 1962 and May 1969, American, South Vietnamese, and Thai troops had violated Cambodian borders 1,364 times by land and 5,149 times by air.6 Cambodia was also abused by the US, and with the heavy bombing in 1969 the country was brought into a state of fear. In 1973, up until the take over by the Khmer Rouge, due to millions of refugees caused by the ‘officially secret’ bombing, the US was the dominant factor in almost every aspect of economic, political, and military affairs in Cambodia. While the US stated it’s Lon Nol’s 1971 backed coup was to "facilitate the emergence of an independent Cambodian government that enjoys the support of its people."7 This furthers the notion of just how removed the international community was from the Cambodian People. While Lon Nol was not popular, to a large extent, neither was Sihanouk. This was because both leaders neither ‘helped’ the Cambodian people. Sihanouk was merely trying to ‘stay low’ in the surrounding conflicts, but consequently was pushed around, and Lon Nol was but a puppet of the US. Cambodia was in a state of unrest, needing someone to answer its problems. This came in the form of the Khmer Rouge.
Words: 672 Section E: Conclusion Due to Cambodia’s geographical position after it’s independence it was quickly drawn into international affairs. While under the rule of Sihnauk the official policy of ‘neutrality’ put Cambodia in a position in which different world powers vied for Cambodia’s dominance. This lead to great domestic instability. Understandably the population felt a loss of national identity, sovereignty, and gained a growing distrust in foreign intervention and support. The Khmer Rouge addressed these questions not just with it’s ‘Nationalistic’ policies of but also in it’s actions. All this exacerbated by the destructive force of war. The Khmer Rouge, while adopting radical policies which would result in crimes against humanity, were ‘stoked’ by the fire of external forces, and due to the lack of realistic solution, the radical problem was solved with a just as extremist party. Therefore it is fair to say, to a large extent, external factors, contributed heavily to the strength of the Khmer Rouge movement and in turn the creation of the state of Democratic Kampuchea in 1975.
6 Haas, Michael. Genocide by Proxy : Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard. New York: Praeger, 1991. p110 7 "Who Is and Was Really Responsible for Genocide in Cambodia?" Challenge-Desafio 19 Feb. 1986. Progressive Labor Party.
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Section F: List of Sources Works Cited Democratic Kampuchea. Trans. Raoul M. Jennar. 1975. Documentation Center of Cambodia. <http://www.dccam.org/Archives/Documents/DK_Policy/DK_Policy_DK_Constitution.htm>. Haas, Michael. Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States : The Faustian Pact. New York: Praeger, 1991. Haas, Michael. Genocide by Proxy : Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard. New York: Praeger, 1991. Owen, Taylor. "Bombs Over Cambodia." The Walrus Oct. 2006. <http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2006.10-history-bombing-cambodia/>. "Who Is and Was Really Responsible for Genocide in Cambodia?" Challenge-Desafio 19 Feb. 1986. Progressive Labor Party. <http://www.plp.org/cd_sup/khmerrouge.html>.
Bibliography Appadurai, Arjun, and Ronald Khalidi. "Cambodia: Revisiting the Killing Fields." (1997). Mekong.net. <http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/articles.htm>. Chandler, David P. A History of Cambodia. New York: R. R. Bowker LLC, 1983. Chandler, David P. Brother Number One : A Political Biography of Pol Pot. New York: Westview P, 1999. Chea, Nuon. "Statement of the Communist Part of Kapcchea to the Communist Workers' Party of Denmark." Letter. July 1978. Documentation Center of Cambodia. <http://www.dccam.org/Archives/Documents/DK_Policy/DK_Policy_Noun_Chea_Statement.htm>. Clyde, Paul H. The Far East: A History of the Impact of the West on Eastern Asia. New Jersey: PrenticeHall, 1958. Democratic Kampuchea. Trans. Raoul M. Jennar. 1975. Documentation Center of Cambodia. <http://www.dccam.org/Archives/Documents/DK_Policy/DK_Policy_DK_Constitution.htm>. G, F. "What Went Wrong with the Pol Pot Regime." A World to Win 25 Feb. 1999. A World to Win. <http://www.aworldtowin.org/back_issues/1999-25/PolPot_eng25.htm>.
P a g e | 11 001415-042 Haas, Michael. Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States : The Faustian Pact. New York: Praeger, 1991. Haas, Michael. Genocide by Proxy : Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard. New York: Praeger, 1991. Owen, Taylor. "Bombs Over Cambodia." The Walrus Oct. 2006. <http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2006.10-history-bombing-cambodia/>. Ross, Russell R. Cambodia : a country study. Washington, D.C: Federal Research Division, 1990. Sideshow. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979. "Who Is and Was Really Responsible for Genocide in Cambodia?" Challenge-Desafio 19 Feb. 1986. Progressive Labor Party. <http://www.plp.org/cd_sup/khmerrouge.html>.
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