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The Killing Fields of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were the ruling party of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 They were responsible for one of the worst mass killings.

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Presentation on theme: "The Killing Fields of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were the ruling party of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 They were responsible for one of the worst mass killings."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Killing Fields of Cambodia

2 The Khmer Rouge were the ruling party of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 They were responsible for one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century

3 The Khmer Rouge had its origins in the 1960s, as the armed wing of the Communist Party of Kampuchea - the name the Communists used for Cambodia Based in remote jungle and mountain areas in the north-east of the country, the group initially made little headway

4 But after a right-wing military coup toppled head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970, the Khmer Rouge entered into a political coalition with him and began to attract increasing support In a civil war that continued for nearly five years, the Khmer Rouge gradually increased its control in the countryside Khmer Rouge forces finally took over the capital, Phnom Penh, and therefore the nation as a whole in 1975

5 On April 17, 1975, victorious Khmer Rouge troops entered the capital, Phnom Penh, of Cambodia The Khmer Rouge were enthusiastically greeted as they entered the capital Yet the Khmer Rouge were embittered after years of fighting the brutal civil war and years of American bombing

6 Khmer Rouge soldiers marched into Phnom Penh with icy stares carved into their faces

7 Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouge During his time in the remote northeast, Pol Pot had been influenced by the hill tribes He respected their self-sufficiency, communal living, no use for money, and being “untainted” by Buddhism

8 Under directives from Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge began to order the people to abandon their homes in Phnom Penh Pol Pot believed that an ideal communist society was a society where all people lived and worked in the countryside as peasants Peasants, in fact, were the Khmer Rouge communist ideal

9 The Khmer Rouge felt that some people had made an active choice to live in cities and as city dwellers had declared their allegiance to capitalism All city dwellers were enemies of the new communist state

10 Pol Pot also developed a “four-year plan” in which Cambodians were expected to produce an average national yield of 3 metric tons of rice per hectare (1.4 tons per acre) But even in peacetime years, the average national yield was only one metric ton of rice per hectare

11 To meet these new demands on rice production, the Khmer Rouge enforced strict policies where workers labored in fields for 12 hours a day without adequate rest or food

12 Many people lacked any experience in manual labor and became ill and died

13 “Keeping new people [city dwellers] is no benefit,” so the Khmer Rouge slogan went; “Losing them is no loss.”

14 Foraging for food was a capital offense, despite the fact that the food allowance was so low, hundreds of thousands of people starved to death

15 In addition, new rules in Kampuchea were being imposed by Angka (“The Organization”), a secretive team of Khmer Rouge leaders Angka banned family relationships and often took advantage of children Young children were seen as being pure and untainted by capitalism or family and thus, trained as informers for the new state and future Khmer Rouge soldiers

16 If a Cambodian spoke French, was educated, wore glasses, or practiced Buddhism; he was killed Families with connections to previous Cambodian governments were susceptible to ill treatment; while former soldiers and civil servants executed

17 Among the Khmer Rouge’s rules; religion, money, and private ownership were banned Communications with outside world was eliminated Families were dismantled

18 Yes, Pol Pot said that 2000 years of Cambodian history had now come to an end On April 17, 1975, the Year Zero was declared in Cambodia The country was renamed the Democratic Kampuchea (DK)

19 Pol Pot isolated people from the rest of world and set about emptying cities, abolishing money, private property, religion, and setting up rural collectives

20 The Khmer Rouge government was finally overthrown in 1979 by invading Vietnamese troops, after a series of violent border confrontations

21 While both Vietnamese and Cambodian communist forces grudgingly supported each other as they fought U.S.-backed forces in South Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, ethnic animosities prevented them from developing any lasting bonds

22 The Khmer Rouge received support from China, Vietnam's rival to north, while the Vietnamese were assisted by U.S.S.R., which competed with China

23 By January 7, 1979, Vietnamese forces successfully occupied Phnom Penh

24 Vietnamese soldiers were shocked to see that Cambodia was pockmarked by sunken depressions of dirt The depressions marked the spots of mass graves: of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians slaughtered by their own countrymen (the Killing Fields)

25 Pol Pot was denounced by his former comrades in a show trial in July 1997, and sentenced to house arrest in his jungle home Less than a year later he was dead - denying the millions of people who were affected by this brutal regime the chance to bring him to justice

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