Pol Pot, his Khmer Rouge, and his regime have had a lasting impact on Cambodia. The after-effects of the! yen Killing Fields! | of 1975-1978, in which more than a million people were killed, will most likely last well into the 21 st Century, and Cambodia may well never fully recover from the wounds they sustained during the time of Pol Pot! |s rule. Pol Pot was born in May 19, 1925 fx to a wealthy peasant family in the Kampong Thom Province of Cambodia. He had a privileged upbringing; he was educated in a royal school and then in a Catholic mission school, and his peers saw him as quiet, polite, and charming- though academically average. In 1948, he received a scholarship to study electrical engineering in Paris, where he became fascinated with the works of Marx.
He became actively involved in the Cambodian section of the French Communist Party, setting up his own Communist cell with his fellow Cambodian students. He then failed his exams, lost his Government scholarship and returned to Cambodia. While Pol Pot worked on establishing a Communist Party in Cambodia, Prince Norodom Sihanouk gained Cambodia independence from France. Pol Pot took up a job as a teacher in a private school, then became Secretary (leader) of the Communist Party in 1963.
He was forced to flee into the jungle after Sihanouk! |s Government violently opposes his leftist opposition. Sihanouk had taken a neutral approach to foreign affairs, and allowed North Vietnamese to set up base in Eastern Cambodia, in the hope that they would respect Cambodia! |s borders. From 1969 to 1973, America bombed these sanctuaries, killing thousands of Cambodians in the process. Pol Pot traveled to China in 1966 and witnessed the Cultural Revolution.
He, like his comrades, was impressed by China! |s style of Communism. In 1970, General Lon Nol ousted Sihanouk, in a U. S-backed right-wing coup. Sihanouk, embittered, forms an alliance with Pol Pot and his! yen Khmer Rouge! | (a name given to the Communists by Sihanouk when in power), and the! yen United Front! | takes up arms to overthrow Lon Nol. They also received military support from the North Vietnamese.
When he gained power, however, Pol Pot eradicated his supporters. He first, gradually, wiped out any Vietnamese influence in the Khmer Rouge, before turning on supporters of Sihanouk and eliminating them. Pol Pot became Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) in 1975, where his genocide began. He declared 1975! yen Year Zero! | and began to murder! yen undesirables, ! | such as Government Officials, those able to read, those caught having sex, or those a member of the Khmer Rouge did not like.
He evacuated Phnom Penh (the capital of Cambodia), of its three million people, transporting everyone- the sick, the elderly, the children- to the villages, where they were worked extremely hard. Pol Pot! |s vision was of a classless, agrarian society, where there were no influences from the West, such as science or money. He believed life should be made up of work and then death. He ruled, brutally, until 1978, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia as! yen liberators.
! | Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge fled once more into the Cambodian jungle. Pol Pot claimed for years to lead a Kampuchean Government in exile. The United Nations recognized this, as they refuse to recognize the Vietnamese-backed Hun Sen Government as the legitimate ruler of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge itself tried pol Pot, because of his execution of many Khmer Rouge members whom he suspected of treason. He was sentenced to life under house arrest. However, this show trial has been compared to the SS trying Hitler during World War II.
Pol Pot was never really tried for his crimes. Pol Pot has impacted Cambodia in many different ways, which can be loosely categorised into mental and physical. The physical effects of Pol Pot! |s regime are much more tangible than mental effects. He has impacted on the physical wellbeing of the Cambodian people, as well as Cambodia itself. The most obvious impact he has had is the genocide of the Cambodian people. During his savage rule, more than a million people died, mostly of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition..