Pol Pot Essay

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The Ruthless Pol Pot 1

The Ruthless Pol Pot
A Research of Pol Pot

Ronnie Graham
World History 4B
Mrs. Lange
April 28, 2013 The Ruthless Pol Pot 2

The Ruthless Pol Pot The ruthless Pol Pot was born in 1925 (as Saloth Sar) into a farming family in central Cambodia, which was then part of French Indochina. In 1949, at age 20, he traveled to Paris on a scholarship to study radio electronics but became absorbed in Marxism and neglected his studies. He lost his scholarship and returned to
Cambodia in 1953 and joined the underground Communist movement. The following year, Cambodia achieved full independence from France and was then ruled by a royal monarchy(THP). This was the beginning of a tragic lifestyle for the Cambodians. In the 20th century Pol Pot had no heart he starved his workers to death and had no sympathy towards them.
In 1962, Pol Pot had become leader of the Cambodian Communist Party and was forced to flee into the
Jungle to escape the wrath of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia. In the jungle, Pol Pot formed an
Armed resistance movement that became known as the Khmer Rouge and waged a guerrilla war against
Sihanouk's government. In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was ousted, not by Pol Pot, but due to a U.S.-backed right-wing military coup. An embittered Sihanouk retaliated by joining with Pol Pot, his former enemy, in opposing Cambodia's new military government. That same year, the U.S. invaded Cambodia to expel the North
Vietnamese from their border encampments, but instead drove them deeper into Cambodia where they allied themselves with the Khmer Rouge. From 1969 until 1973, the U.S. intermittently bombed North Vietnamese sanctuaries in eastern Cambodia, killing up to 150,000 Cambodian peasants (Axelrod 258). As a result, peasants left the countryside by the hundreds of thousands and settled in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh. All of these events resulted in economic and military destabilization in Cambodia and a surge of popular support for
Pol Pot. By 1975, the U.S. had withdrawn its troops from Vietnam. Cambodia's government, plagued by corruption and incompetence, also lost its American military support. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Pol
Pot's Khmer Rouge army, consisting of teenage peasant guerrillas, marched into Phnom Penh and on April 17 effectively seized control of Cambodia. Once in power, Pol Pot began a radical experiment to create an agrarian utopia inspired in part by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution which he had witnessed first-hand during a visit to
Communist China. Mao's Great Leap Forward economic program included forced evacuations of Chinese cities and the purging of class enemies. Pol Pot would now attempt his own Super Great Leap Forward in
Cambodia, which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea. He began by declaring, "This is Year
Zero," and that society was about to be "purified." Capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences were to be extinguished in favor of an extreme form of peasant Communism(TT). The Ruthless Pol Pot 3
All foreigners were thus expelled, embassies closed, and any foreign economic or medical assistance was refused(THP). The use of foreign languages was banned. Newspapers and television stations were shut down, radios and bicycles confiscated, and mail and telephone usage curtailed. Money was forbidden. All businesses were shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care eliminated, and parental authority revoked. Thus
Cambodia was sealed off from the outside world. All of Cambodia's cities were then forcibly evacuated. At
Phnom Penh, two million inhabitants were evacuated on foot into the countryside at gunpoint. As many as
20,000 died along the way millions of Cambodians accustomed to city life were now forced into slave labor in
Pol Pot's killing fields