What can we learn about socialism from Cambodia's darkest years?

29-04-2020

*In progress

The Khmer Rouge regime set upon what became to be known as the darkest chapter of Cambodian history. Within just a period of 3 years and 8 months, an estimated quarter of the entire population of Cambodia were either starved to death or murdered under this brutal communist regime.

With the rise of communism during the cold war, the growing inequality in Cambodia between the farmers in the countryside and those in the cities meant that an ideology that promises the people of a nation that the means of production and wealth will be distributed equally was quick to spread.

How did the Khmer Rouge become so powerful?

A multitude of factors spanning many decades. Here I will attempt to state the key reasons that led to the Khmer Rouge having hundreds of thousands of recruits and later on being able to overthrow the US-backed Phnom Penh government.

1. Foreign intervention

After suffering from constant American bombing, many from the rural parts of Cambodia hold a hostile view towards the nation with the largest military in the world.

2. Chinese weapons supply

3. French-educated Khmer Rouge leaders

4. Support from the popular exiled king

Why wouldn't it go wrong?

Anyone who's studied 20th century history would rather ask this question instead of the other way around.

Khmer Rouge leaders were well educated. Many of its top-ranking members were taught in French universities.

Samphan graduated with a PhD in economics from the University of Paris in 1959. [1]
© Masaya Shida 2020