In 1975 Cambodia became overthrown by the Khmer Rouge and became a communist country and in 1976 Pol Pot became Prime Minster of Cambodia. Pol Pot was notorious for his radical communist/ Marxsim-Leninism ideology. From rising to the leader of the Communist Party/Khmer Rouge to Prime Minister and then from orchestrating a mass genocide to his fall we can study how Pol Pot changed a country that would have ever lasting effects on it. Pol Pot was born on May 19th, 1925 just outside of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh in Prek Sbauv.

In 1949 he moved to Paris to study radio technology at University which is where he first got in involved in the communist party; later returning to Cambodia in 1953 he became a high school teacher at a private school while being an active member of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP). Pol Pot was a influential voice in the KPRP adopting the Marxism-Leninism ideology, a term invented by Joseph Stalin former leader of the Communist party in Russia. In 1963 the KPRP wad forced to move to the northern countryside due to an intense crackdown on communist activity, but this only allowed the Communist party and newly formed Khmer Rouge guerrilla army to secure the sparse northeast towns and village in 1968 after launching their national uprising and revolution. In March of 1970 a civil war broke out after Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia’s hereditary leader, sided with Khmer Rouge while Cambodia’s General Loh Nol had America behind him. On April 15th, 1975, five years later and 500,000 Cambodians dead the Khmer Rouge had taken control of the Capital Phnom Penh, won the war and seized control of the country. Once taking control Pol Pot was working greatly behind the curtains up until 1976 when Prince Norodom Sihanouk was forced to step down, after that Pol Pot became the Prime Minister. While under the Khmer Rouge Regime Cambodia and the people of Cambodia faced many changes including a rename of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. The People of Phnom Penh, a former refugee city were forced to leave the city and sent to labour camps or prisons, those of high regard such as doctors, monk, anyone with an education, minorities and ethnic groups where often singled out and executed.

After prisons began to fill up Pol Pot designed “Killing fields”, with hundreds placed all over Cambodia no one was exceeded from them with your ability to perform harsh labour determining your survival many kids, handicapped and old people died in these fields. Pol Pot orchestrated the death of 1.5-3 million Cambodian residents and is the third highest death tolling genocide in the world that lasted 4 years. On January 7th, 1979 Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Khmer Rouge forcing former members of the party to flee into the jungle where they would carry out guerrilla attacks on the Vietnamese army.

They fought up until 1989 when Vietnam had to pull their troops out of Cambodia from lack of support from the Soviet Union. It wasn’t until 1991 when a peace agreement was made and signed between a temporary government an the Khmer Rouge and in 1993 Prince Norodom Sihanouk was elected as Prime Minister, although he was only in power for another five years as in 1998 Hun Sen was elected at Prime Minster and has been ever since. Pol Pot was still revolting up until 1997 when he was found and arrested although followers of him continued to revolt but by 1999 most had died or been arrested thus leading the to end of the Khmer Rouge. The after math of the Khmer Rouge, mainly the genocide, is still effecting Cambodia to this day with a large portion of the country living in poverty due to the destruction of the infrastructure and economy. As well there was an extreme lack of healthcare due to the execution of doctors during the Khmer Rouge regime, and with many survivors suffering from PTSD its clears the Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot would leave an ever lasting scar on many generations. As well the country is riddled with land mines which has left a total of 40,000 people as amputees so although Pol Pot died in 1998 due to a heart attack he is still killing people from his grave.

Over 4 decades later and Cambodia is still recovering from the Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot regime. In conclusion the Khmer Rouge Regime under the ruling of Pol Pot greatly changed the way Cambodia would carry on and develop as a country, from becoming a radical communist country to a mass genocide and finally to the recovering of what Pol Pots did. One can only pray that Cambodia never faces another leader like Pol Pots and that one day they will no longer be faced with the scars Pol Pots and the Khmer Rouge. 

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