The Khmer rouge regime
The Khmer Rouge was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the totalitarian ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This organization was created in 1954 taking model on the PCF (the French communist party). Its main leaders (Pol Pot, Khieu Samphân, Son Sen, ...) where formed in Paris in the 1950s in the“cercle des etudes marxistes” founded by the Party executives of the PCF in 1930.
After 1960, the Khmer Rouge developed its own political ideas. For example, contrary to most Marxist doctrine, the Khmer Rouge considered the farmers in the countryside to be the proletariat and the true representatives of the working class.
In 1968, the Khmer Rouge forces launched a national insurgency acrossCambodia. Although North Vietnam had not been informed of the decision, its communist forces provided shelters and weapons to the Khmer Rouge after the insurgency started. Vietnamese support for the insurgency made it impossible for the Cambodian military to efficiently counter it.
The political appeal of the Khmer Rouge was increased as a result of the situation created by the removal of Sihanoukfrom head of state in 1970. Prime Minister Lon Nol, with the support of the National Assembly, deposed Sihanouk and became the president of the Republic. Sihanouk, in exile in Beijing (china), made an alliance with the Khmer Rouge and became the symbolic head of a Khmer Rouge-dominated government-in-exile (known by its French acronym, GRUNK) supported by the People's Republic of China.
Sihanouk'spopular support in rural Cambodia allowed the Khmer Rouge to extend its power and influence to the point that by 1973 it exercised control over the majority of Cambodian territory, although only a minority of its population. Many people in Cambodia who helped the Khmer Rouge against the Lon Nol government thought they were fighting for the restoration of Sihanouk. In 1975, with the Lon Nolgovernment running out of ammunition, it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the government would collapse. So that, in April 1975 the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh.
After taking power in Cambodia the Khmer Rouge leadership renamed the country Democratic Kampuchea. The Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to a radical social reform process that was aimed at creating a purely agrarian Communistsociety. The townspeople were deported to the countryside, where they were integrated with the local population and subjected to forced labor or to work in collective farms.
In Phnom Penh and other cities, the Khmer Rouge told residents that they would be moved only about "two or three kilometers" outside the city and would return in "two or three days." Some witnesses say they were told thatthe evacuation was because of the "threat of American bombing" and that they didn’t have to lock their houses since the Khmer Rouge would "take care of everything" until they returned.
The reform included to isolate the country from foreign influence, to outlaw all religions, and confiscate all private property. Money was abolished, books were burned, teachers, merchants, and almost the entireintellectual elite of the country were murdered. The relocation to the countryside resulted in the complete halt of almost all economic activities: schools and hospitals were closed, as well as banks, and industrial service companies.
Cambodians were expected to produce three tons of rice per hectare, in comparison before the Khmer Rouge era, the average was only one ton per hectare. TheKhmer Rouge forced people to work for 12 hours non-stop, without adequate rest or food. They didn’t believe in western medicine but instead in traditional peasant medicine : they have to use traditional plant and herbal remedies, with result of many died.
The total lack of agricultural knowledge by the former city people made famine inevitable. Rural people were often unsympathetic or too...