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Khmer Rouge From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article contains Khmer

text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Khmer script. The Khmer Rouge (/kmr ru/; French for "Red Khmers", French pronunciation: [km u]; Khmer: Khmer Kraham)

was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia. It was formed in 1968 as an offshoot of the Vietnam People's Army from North Vietnam. It was the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, and Khieu Samphan. Democratic Kampuchea was the name of the state as controlled by the government of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.

Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge and dictator of Cambodia, in 1978 The organization is remembered especially for orchestrating the Cambodian Genocide, which resulted from the enforcement of its social engineering policies.[1] Its attempts at agricultural reform led to widespread famine, while its insistence on absolute selfsufficiency, even in the supply of medicine, led to the death of thousands from treatable diseases such as malaria. Arbitrary executions and torture carried out by its cadres against perceived subversive elements, or during purges of its own ranks between 1975 and 1978, are considered to have constituted genocide.[2] By 1979, the Khmer Rouge had fled the country, while the People's Republic of Kampuchea was being established.[3] The governments-in-exile (including the Khmer Rouge) still had a seat in the UN at this point but it was later taken away, in 1993, as the monarchy was restored and the country underwent a name change to the Kingdom of Cambodia. A year later thousands of Khmer Rouge guerrillas surrendered themselves in a government amnesty. In 1996, a new political party, the Democratic National Union Movement was formed by Ieng Sary, who was granted amnesty for all of his roles as the deputy leader of the Khmer Rouge.[4] The organization itself was officially dissolved sometime in December 1999. After taking power, 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-based Communist society.[5] The Khmer Rouge forced around two million people from the cities to the countryside to take up work in agriculture. They forced many people out of their homes and ignored many basic human freedoms; they controlled how Cambodians acted, what they wore, whom they could talk to, and many other aspects of their lives. Over the next three years, the Khmer Rouge killed many intellectuals, city-dwellers, minority people, and many of their own party members and soldiers who were suspected of being traitors.[6] The Khmer Rouge wanted to eliminate anyone suspected of "involvement in free-market activities." Suspected capitalists encompassed professionals and almost everyone with an education, many urban dwellers, and people with connections to foreign governments. The Khmer Rouge believed that parents were tainted with capitalism, so they separated children from their parents, indoctrinated them in communism, and taught them torture methods with animals. Children were a "dictatorial instrument of the party"[7] and were given leadership in torture and executions.[1]

Flag of Democratic Kampuchea One of their mottos, in reference to the New People (usually urban civilians), was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."[8] The philosophy of the Khmer Rouge had developed over time. It started as a communist party[6] that was working together and searching for direction from the Vietnamese guerrillas who were fighting their own civil war.[9] Pol Pot was a key leader in the movement after he returned to Cambodia from France. He had become a member of the French Communist Party (PCF) which gave guidance to the ideas of the Khmer Rouge. [6]

The movement gained strength and support in the northeastern jungles and established firm footing when Cambodia's leader Prince Sihanouk was removed from office during a military coup in 1970. The former prince then looked to the Khmer Rouge for backing. With the threat of civil war looming, the Khmer Rouge gained support by posing as a "party for peace." After four years of rule, the Khmer Rouge regime was removed from power in 1979 as a result of an invasion by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and was replaced by moderate, pro-Vietnamese Communists. The Khmer Rouge survived into the 1990s as a resistance movement operating in western Cambodia from bases in Thailand. In 1996, following a peace agreement, their leader Pol Pot formally dissolved the organization. Pol Pot died on April 15, 1998, having never been put on trial. [10] Ideology The Khmer Rouge's ideology combined elements of Marxism with an extreme version of Khmer nationalism and xenophobia. It combined an idealization of the Angkor Empire (8021431), with an existential fear for the existence of the Cambodian state, which had historically been liquidated under Vietnamese and Siamese intervention. [11] Their ideology was also influenced by colonial French education, which posited Khmers as "Aryans among Asians", who were morally superior to Chinese or Vietnamese. The spillover of Vietnamese fighters from the Vietnam War further aggravated anti-Vietnamese feeling. The Khmer Rouge explicitly targeted the Chinese, Vietnamese, and even their partially Khmer offspring for extinction; although the Cham Muslims were treated unfavorably, they were encouraged to "mix flesh and blood", to intermarry and assimilate. Some people with partial Chinese or Vietnamese ancestry were present in the Khmer Rouge leadership; they either were purged or participated in the ethnic cleansing campaigns.[12] Although a radical movement, the Khmer Rouge also drew on the idioms of Cambodian Buddhist culture. The time that the party spent in the forests in the 1960s, supposedly accumulating knowledge, has similarities to Buddhist lore. Before coming to power, the Khmer Rouge also demonstrated characteristics of "the Buddhist ideals of propriety and social justice". Rather than maintaining a bureaucracy based on names and reputation, the Khmer Rouge also used charismatic leadership that is characteristic of Buddhist societies.[12] The Khmer Rouge's social policy focused on working towards a purely agrarian society. Pol Pot strongly influenced the propagation of this policy. He was reportedly impressed with how the mountain tribes of Cambodia lived, which the party interpreted as a form of primitive communism; as a result, those minorities received more lenient and sometimes even favorable treatment than the urbanized "bourgeois" Chinese and Vietnamese.[12] Pol Pot wanted to remove social institutions and to transform the society into an agrarian one. This was his way of "[creating] a complete Communist society without wasting time on the intermediate steps" as the Khmer Rouge said to China in 1975.[13] The evacuation of the cities disproportionately affected Chinese and Vietnamese, who were not accustomed to agricultural work, segregated from Khmers in labor camps, and forbidden to speak their own language.[12]