The Killing Fields: The Cambodian Genocide

From 1975-1979, Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge political party in a reign of violence, fear, and brutality over Cambodia. An attempt to form a Communist peasant farming society resulted in the deaths of 25% of the population from starvation, overwork, and executions.  By 1975, the U.S. had withdrawn its troops from Vietnam, and Cambodia lost its American military support.  Taking advantage of this opportunity, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia. Inspired by Mao’s Cultural Revolution in Communist China, Pol Pot attempted to “purify” Cambodia of western culture, city life, and religion. Different ethnic groups and all those considered to be of the “old society”, intellectuals, former government officials, and Buddhist monks were murdered. “What is rotten must be removed” was a slogan proclaimed throughout the Khmer Rouge era.