Military Review

Pol Pot. The Khmer Route. Part of 2. Victory in the Civil War

By the time the Khmer Rouge were firmly entrenched in the mountainous regions of northeastern Cambodia, there were also rapid political changes in the country. The socio-economic situation in Cambodia worsened because the state program of agricultural cooperation did not justify the hopes placed on it. Most of the credit funds came under the control of traditional feudal nobility and usurers. Cambodia’s refusal to trade with the United States, in turn, contributed to the growth of smuggling and the “shadowing” of the economy. Under the influence of economic difficulties, the government of Sihanouk was forced to liberalize the investment sphere of the Cambodian economy.

Another reason for the difficult situation in Cambodia was the foreign policy of the country's leadership. Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who broke off diplomatic relations with the United States and emphasized his pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese sympathies, caused antipathy from the American leadership. The United States began to search for a "strong leader" that could push into the background, or even remove the Norodom Sihanouk from the government of Cambodia. And such a person was soon found. They became General Lon Nol. He represented the interests of the Cambodian military elite — senior military, police and security officials who were disillusioned with Sihanouk’s policies after the deterioration of the country's relations with the United States. The refusal of American assistance also meant a reduction in the military budget, which caused direct damage to the interests of Cambodian generals and colonels, who were involved in the "cut" of funds allocated for defense. Naturally, among the military elite grew discontent with the government of Sihanouk. The officers were also unhappy with the “flirting” of the head of state with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLFV). General Lon Nol, who held a very high position in the state and military leadership of Cambodia, was the most suitable figure to express the interests of the military elite, which merged with the strategic interests of the United States of America in East Indochina.

The plot of the general and the prince

Like many Cambodian political figures, Lon Nol (1913-1985) was born into a mixed Cambodian-Chinese family. His father was a Khmer krom, and his maternal grandfather was a Chinese from Fujian province. After graduating from the Lyceum in Saigon, the young Lone Nol enrolled at the Royal Military Academy of Cambodia, and in 1937 he began serving in the French colonial administration. Lon Nol was an exemplary colonial servant. He participated in suppressing anti-French speeches in 1939 and did a lot to curb the national liberation aspirations of his people. For this, the colonialists valued Lon Nol. In 1946, thirty-three-year-old Lon Nol took over as governor of Kratie province. Lon Nol did not hide the right monarchical views, but at the time he sought to position himself as a follower of Norodom Sihanouk. In 1951, Mr. Lon Nol led the Cambodian police, and in 1952, while serving as a lieutenant colonel, he began serving in the Cambodian army. But most rapidly the career of a young officer went up after the proclamation of independence of Cambodia. In 1954, Mr. Lon Nol became the governor of the province of Battambang, a large region in the north-west of the country, on the border with Thailand, also called the “rice bowl of Cambodia”. However, as early as the next 1955, Battambang Governor Lon Nol was appointed to the post of Chief of the General Staff of the Cambodian Army. In 1959, Mr. Lon Nol assumed the post of Minister of Defense of Cambodia and was in this position for seven years - until 1966. In 1963-1966. the general also held the position of vice-premier in the Cambodian government. The political influence of Lon Nol, who was favored by American intelligence services, was especially strong in the second half of the 1960s. In 1966-1967, from October 25 to April 30, Lon Nol served as the country's prime minister for the first time. 13 August 1969 Mr. Norod Sihanouk reappointed General Lon Nol as head of the Cambodian government. This appointment Lon Nol and took advantage of their own interests. He made an anti-government plot, agreeing with Prince Sisovat Sirik Matak.

Prince Sirik Matak (1914-1975) was another prominent figure in Cambodia’s rightist circles. By origin, he belonged to the royal dynasty Sisovat, which, along with the dynasty Norodom, had the right to the Cambodian throne. However, the French administration chose to secure the royal throne to Norodom Sihanouk, who was cousin of Syric Matak. Prince Matak, in turn, took the post of Minister of Defense of Cambodia, but then was sent to resign by Sihanouk. The fact is that Matak was categorically opposed to the policy of "Buddhist socialism" pursued by Sihanouk. He also rejected cooperation with the partisans of North Vietnam, whom Sihanouk favored. It was political differences that caused the disgrace of Prince Matak, who was appointed ambassador to Japan, China and the Philippines. After General Lon Nol was appointed prime minister of Cambodia, he himself chose Prince Sisowat Siryk Matak as his deputy. Becoming the vice-premier who oversaw, among other things, the economic bloc of the Cambodian government, Prince Matak began to denationalize the country's economy. First of all, it concerned the liberalization of the rules of the alcohol trade, the actions of banking institutions. Apparently, Prince Sirik Matak was determined to speedily depose his brother from the post of head of state. However, until the spring of 1970, the American leadership did not give consent to the coup, hoping to the last, hoping to “re-educate” Sihanouk and continue cooperation with the legitimate head of state. But Prince Sirik Matak managed to find evidence of Sianouk’s help to the Vietnamese partisans. In addition, Sihanouk himself distantly distanced himself from the United States.

Military coup and the overthrow of Sihanouk

In March, 1970, the city of Sihanouk, embarked on a tour of Europe and the countries of the socialist camp. He visited, in particular, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the absence of Sihanouk in Cambodia, Sirik Matak decided to act. 12 March 1970. He announced the denunciation of trade agreements with North Vietnam, and the port of Sihanoukville was closed to Vietnamese ships. 16 March Thousands rally against the presence of Vietnamese partisans in Cambodia took place in Phnom Penh. At the same time, in view of the riots in the capital, the conspirators decided to arrest the high-ranking security officials who supported Sihanouk. Thus, one of the first to be arrested was General Oum Mannorin, the son-in-law of Norodom Sihanouk, who served as Secretary of State for Defense. 18 March, the country's capital Phnom Penh was surrounded by military units loyal to the conspirators. In fact, there was a military coup in the country. Soon, it was officially announced that Norodom Sihanouk was deprived of all the powers of the head of state. The power passed into the hands of General Lon Nol, although the head of the Legislative Assembly, Cheng Heng, became the formal head of Cambodia. As for Sihanouk, who was at the time of the coup abroad, he was given to understand that the prince would face the death penalty if he returned to Cambodia. In response, 23 in March, 1970, by Norodom Sihanouk, who was in China at the time, called on citizens to revolt against the junta of General Lon Nol. In the provinces of Kompong Cham, Takeo and Kampot, riots broke out with the participation of supporters of Sihanouk, who demanded the return of power to the legitimate head of state. During the suppression of riots in Kampong Cham province, the brother of General Lon Nola Lon Neal, who served as a police commissioner in the city of Mimot and owned large rubber plantations in the province, was brutally murdered. Lon Nil had a liver cut out, brought her to a Chinese restaurant and told her to cook. After preparation, the liver of the police commissioner was served and eaten.

However, the troops loyal to Lon Nolu acted no less brutally than the rebels. Against the rebels were thrown Tanks and artillery, thousands of people died or ended up in prison dungeons. On October 9, 1970, the Khmer Republic was proclaimed in the country. Cheng Heng remained its president in 1970-1972, and in 1972 he was replaced by General Lun Nol. Not only the political, but also the economic situation in the country as a result of the destabilization of the situation, has deteriorated sharply. After the call of Norodom Sihanouk and the suppression of uprisings in the province of Kampongtyam and several other regions of the country, a civil war broke out in Cambodia. Sihanouk appealed for help to the Cambodian Communists, who also enjoyed the support of China and were quite influential in the province and fighting force. In May 1970, the First Congress of the National United Front of Cambodia was held in Beijing, at which it was decided to create the Royal Government of Cambodia's National Unity. Peni Noot became its head, and Khieu Samphan, the closest friend and ally of Salot Sarah, took the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. Thus, the Sihanoukites found themselves in close contact with the Communists, which contributed to a further increase in the influence of the latter on the Cambodian peasant masses.

Understanding perfectly the precariousness of his position, General Lon Nol mobilized the population into the country's armed forces. Significant support for the Lonnolites was provided by the United States of America and South Vietnam. Sihanouk opposed Lon Nola to the National Liberation Army of Cambodia, created on the basis of armed Khmer Rouge units. Gradually, the Khmer Rouge took all command posts in the National Liberation Army of Cambodia. Prince Sihanouk lost real influence and was in fact pushed aside on a secondary plan, and the leadership of the anti-Mon-nol movement was monopolized by the Communists. Detachments of South Vietnamese partisans and the North Vietnamese army, based in the eastern provinces of Cambodia, came to the aid of the Khmer Rouge. They launched an offensive against the positions of the Lonnolites, and soon Phnom Penh himself came under the blow of the communist forces.

US Cambodia Campaign

30 April - 1 May 1970 The USA and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) intervened in the events in Cambodia, which launched an armed intervention in the country. Note that the US recognized General Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic almost immediately after the military coup. 18 March 1970 was overthrown by Norod Sihanouk, and on March 10, the US State Department officially recognized the new Cambodian regime. 19 March 30. The US military command in South Vietnam received the right to authorize the introduction of US troops in Laos or Cambodia in case of military necessity. 1970 April 16. The government of Lon Nol appealed to the US authorities to provide the country with military assistance to fight the communist rebels. The US leadership responded to the request of the new Cambodian authorities immediately. Two days later, deliveries began weapons and ammunition from South Vietnam, from the bases of the American army, to Cambodia. Also in Cambodia began to carry out raids units of the South Vietnamese army, which was tasked to support the troops of Lon Nol in the fight against the communist rebels in the east of the country. The full support of the Lon Nol regime was also announced by the leadership of the SEATO military bloc, which united pro-American regimes in South-East Asia. The bloc’s general secretary, Jesús Vargas, stated that if the Cambodian government requests for help, SEATO will consider it in any case and provide military or other assistance. Therefore, when American troops invaded Cambodia on April 30, this was not a surprise to any of the parties to the conflict.

Pol Pot. The Khmer Route. Part of 2. Victory in the Civil War
- General Lon Nol with colleagues

A total of 80-100 of thousands of American and South Vietnamese troops took part in the Cambodian campaign. Only from the American side were the forces of five army divisions engaged. At the same time, there were no major battles with the North Vietnamese army on the territory of Cambodia, since the North Vietnamese forces were engaged in combat operations against the forces of Lon Nol. The Americans and South Vietnamese managed to quickly capture a number of important bases of the NLFV, which were poorly guarded and were easy prey for the enemy. However, the outbreak of hostilities by the American army in Cambodia was met with indignation by the American public. In the United States began a massive student unrest that engulfed almost the entire country. In 16 states, authorities had to call in units of the National Guard to quell the protests. 4 May 1970 at the University of Kent national guardsmen, firing on a crowd of protesters, killed four students. Two more students died at Jackson University. The death of six young Americans has caused even greater heat of public outrage.

In the end, US President Nixon had to announce the imminent cessation of the military operation in Cambodia. On June 30, 1970, American troops were withdrawn from Cambodia, but the armed forces of South Vietnam remained in the country and took part in the hostilities against the Communists on the side of Lon Nol. Continued to actually participate in the civil war in Cambodia on the side of the Lon Nol regime and the American military aviationthat carried out the bombing of the country for three years. But, despite the support of American aviation and South Vietnamese troops, the Lon Nol regime was not able to suppress the resistance of the Cambodian communists. Gradually, Lon Nol’s troops went on the defensive, and the advancing Khmer Rouge repeatedly bombarded the country's capital, Phnom Penh.

The civil war was accompanied by the actual destruction of the socio-economic infrastructure of Cambodia and the massive displacement of the population to the cities. Since the eastern provinces of the country, located on the border with Vietnam, were subjected to the greatest bombings by American aircraft, many civilians of them fled to Phnom Penh, hoping that the Americans would not bomb the capital of the Lonnol regime. In Phnom Penh, refugees could not find work and decent housing, “enclaves of poverty” were formed, which also contributed to the spread of radical sentiment among new settlers. The population of Phnom Penh by 1975 increased from 800 thousand at the end of 1960-s. to 3 million. Almost half of Cambodia moved to the capital, fleeing from aerial bombardments and shelling. By the way, American aircraft dropped more bombs on the territory of Cambodia than on Hitler Germany for the entire period of the Second World War. Only in February - August 1973 of the United States Air Force dropped 257 465 tons of explosives into the territory of Cambodia. As a result of the bombing of American aircraft, 80% of industrial enterprises, 40% of roads and 30% of bridges were destroyed in Cambodia. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian citizens became victims of American bombings. In total, as a result of the civil war in Cambodia, about 1 million people died. Thus, in small Cambodia, the United States pursued a policy of exterminating the civilian population, resorting to the commission of real war crimes, for which no one was ever held responsible. Moreover, a number of researchers believe that история “Polpotov's genocide” is for the most part a propaganda myth of the United States, invented to cover up American war crimes in Cambodia and hand over the victims of American aggression for the victims of the communist regime. In particular, this point of view is held by the well-known philosopher and linguist of left-wing views, Noam Chomsky, who is certainly difficult to suspect of sympathy for Pol Pot and polpotizmu.

"Khmer Rouge" and "Peasant Communism"

In turn, the American bombing of Cambodia, combined with the full economic and social fiasco of the Lon Nol government, contributed to the further spread of communist views among the Cambodian peasantry. As you know, the inhabitants of the Buddhist monarchies of Indochina have traditionally had great respect for their monarchs. Kings were literally idolized, and the Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk was no exception. After the prince was overthrown by the clique of General Lon Nol, a significant part of the Khmer peasantry was in opposition to the new regime, because it did not want to recognize the imposition of a representative of the royal dynasty. On the other hand, the ideas of communism were considered to be consonant with the teaching of the arrival of Buddha Maitreya and the return of the “golden age” that was common in Buddhist countries. Therefore, for Khmer peasants there was no contradiction between the support of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and sympathies for the Khmer Reds. The growth of support from the peasant population was facilitated by the liberation from Lonnol’s regime of entire regions of Cambodia. In the liberated territories, communist power was actually established, expropriating the property of the landowners and forming their own organs of power and administration. Indeed, certain positive changes were observed in the life of the liberated regions. Thus, on the territory controlled by the Communists, national self-government bodies were created, classes were conducted in schools, even if they were not deprived of an excessive ideological component. The “Khmer Rouge” paid the most attention to propaganda among young people. Young people and adolescents were the most desired target of the Khmer Rouge, who distributed Mao Zedong's quotations and urged young people to join the ranks of the National Liberation Army of Cambodia. The army commander at this time was Salot Sar, who led the country's communist movement. As for Norodom Sihanouk, by this time he no longer had any influence on the processes taking place in Cambodia, as some European journalist stated, “they spat out me like a cherry seed” (about the Khmer Rouge, who actually pushed him guidance anti-Ninol movement). After the influence of Sihanouk was smoothed over, the followers of Salot Sarah attended to the extermination of Vietnamese influence in the ranks of the Cambodian Communist Party. The leaders of the Khmer Rouge, in particular Salot Sar himself and his closest comrade, Ieng Sari, were extremely negative toward Vietnam and the Vietnamese communist movement, which was also tolerated by the attitude of the Vietnamese as a people. It was precisely the anti-Vietnamese sentiments of Salot Sarah that contributed to the final delimitation of the Cambodian and Vietnamese communists in 1973. North Vietnam withdrew its troops from the territory of Cambodia and refused to support the Khmer Rouge, but by this time the supporters of Salot Sarah felt pretty good controlling the large part of the country and effectively cutting off Phnom Penh from the economically important agricultural provinces of Cambodia. In addition, Maoist China and Stalinist North Korea helped the Khmer Rouge.

It should be noted that the ideology of the Khmer Rouge, which was finally established by the middle of the 1970s, seemed extremely radical even in comparison with Chinese Maoism. Salot Sar and Ieng Sari respected Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, but advocated even more rapid and radical transformations, emphasizing the need and possibility of transition to a communist society without intermediate stages. The ideology of the Khmer Rouge was based on the views of their eminent theorists Khieu Samphan, Hu Nim and Hu Yong. The cornerstone of the listed authors' concepts was the recognition of the poorest peasantry as the leading revolutionary class in Cambodia. Hu Yun argued that in Cambodia, it is the poorest peasantry that is the most revolutionary and, at the same time, highly moral layer of society. But the poorest peasants, due to the specifics of their way of life, lack of access to education, do not have a revolutionary ideology. To solve the problem of the ideologization of the peasants Hu Yun proposed by creating revolutionary cooperatives in which communist ideology would be inculcated to the peasants. Thus, the Khmer Rouge played on the feelings of the poorest peasants, exposing them to the most worthy people of the country.

Another major program point of the Khmer Rouge, providing support to the peasant population, was the opposition of the village and the city. In the Khmer Rouge ideology, which absorbed not only Maoism, but also Khmer nationalism, the city was viewed as a hostile social environment. According to the theorists of the Cambodian Communists, Khmer society did not know the cities and was alien to the urban way of life. The urban culture in Cambodia was brought by the Chinese, Vietnamese, Siamese, while the real Khmer people always inhabited the villages and were suspicious of the urban way of life. In the concept of Salot Sarah, the city was presented as a parasite exploiting a Cambodian village, and city dwellers as a parasitic layer living at the expense of the peasantry. Such views impressed the poorest part of the Khmer population living in the villages and with envy toward urban residents, especially the successful merchants and intellectuals, among whom traditionally there were many Chinese and Vietnamese. The Khmer Rouge called for the elimination of cities and the relocation of all Khmer people to villages, which should have become the basis of a new communist society without private property and class differences. By the way, the organizational structure of the Khmer Rouge for a long time remained extremely secretive. Ordinary Cambodians had no idea that the organization is at the head of the National United Front of Cambodia and carries out armed resistance to Lonnolites. The Khmer Rouge was introduced as Angka Loeu, the Supreme Organization. All data on the organization of the Communist Party of Cambodia, the position of its top leaders were classified. So, Salot Sar himself signed his appeals “Comrade-87”.

The capture of Phnom Penh and the beginning of the "new era"

After the United States of America stopped bombarding the territory of Cambodia in 1973, the Lon Nol army lost its powerful air support and suffered one defeat after another. In January, the 1975 of the Khmer Rouge launched a massive attack on Phnom Penh, laying siege to the country's capital. There was no longer any real opportunity to defend the city from the armed forces controlled by Lon Nolu. General Lon Nol himself turned out to be much smarter and more perspicacious than his wards. 1 April 1975. He announced his resignation and fled from Cambodia, accompanied by 30 top officials. Lon Nol and his retinue first landed at Utapao base in Thailand, and then, through Indonesia, left for the Hawaiian Islands. Other prominent figures of the Lonnol regime remained in Phnom Penh - either they did not have time to escape, or they did not fully believe that the Khmer Rouge would deal with them without any regret. Following the resignation of Lon Nol, interim President Sau Kham Khoi became the formal head of state. He tried to transfer the real power to the leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Cambodia, Chau Sau, whom he had chosen for the post of prime minister. However, Chau Sau was immediately removed from power by a military junta led by General Sak Sutsakhan. But the remnants of the Lonnol army failed to rectify the situation - the fall of the capital was inevitable. This, in particular, testified further actions of the American leadership. 12 On April 1975, Operation Eagle Pull was conducted, as a result of which US Marine Corps and Air Force helicopters evacuated personnel from the US embassy, ​​citizens of the United States and other states, and only about 250 people who wanted to leave the country. . The latest attempt by the United States to prevent communists from seizing power in Cambodia was the appeal of American representatives to Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The Americans asked Sihanouk to arrive in Phnom Penh and stand at the head of the state, having prevented bloodshed by the power of his authority. However, Prince Sihanouk refused to prudently - obviously, he was well aware that his influence was not comparable with the past decade, and it’s generally better not to get involved with the Khmer Rouge.

17 April 1975. The Khmer Rouge troops entered Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The government of the Khmer Republic capitulated and power in the country passed into the hands of the National United Front of Cambodia, in which the Red Khmers played the main role. The city began the massacre of officials Lonnolovsky regime, officers of the army and police, representatives of the bourgeoisie and intellectuals. One of the first victims of the Khmer Rouge was the country's top leaders, Prince Sisovat Syrik Matak and brother Lon Nola Long Boret, from 1973 to 1975. who served as prime minister of the Khmer Republic. Sisovat Sirik Matak received on the eve of the assault on Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge an offer from the American ambassador, John Gunther Dean, to evacuate from the city and thereby save his life. However, the prince refused and sent a letter to the US ambassador as follows: “Your Excellency and friend! I think you were completely sincere when in your letter they suggested that I leave. I, however, cannot act so cowardly. As for you - and especially your great country - I never for a second believed that you could leave the people who chose freedom to be in trouble. You refused to protect us, and we are powerless to do anything about it. You are leaving, and I wish you and your country to find happiness under this sky. And keep in mind that if I die here in the country I love, it doesn’t matter, for we are all born and must die. I made only one mistake - I believed in you [the Americans]. Please accept, Your Excellency and dear friend, my sincere and friendly feelings ”(quoted in: Orlov A. Iraq and Vietnam: do not repeat mistakes // ).

When the Khmer Rouge broke into the capital of the country, Sisovat Sirik Matak nevertheless attempted to escape. He fled to the hotel Le Phnom, where the staff of the Red Cross mission worked. However, as soon as they learned that the name of Shirik Matak was on the list of the “seven traitors” who had been sentenced to death by the Khmer Rouge, they refused to let him in, caring about the fate of the other wards. As a result, Sirik Matak was in the French embassy, ​​where he sought political asylum. But, as soon as the Khmer Rouge learned of this, they demanded that the French ambassador immediately extradite the prince. Otherwise, the militants threatened to launch an assault on the embassy and capture the prince by force. Also taking care of the safety of French citizens, the French ambassador was forced to hand over Prince Sisowat Syrik Matak to the Khmer Rouge. 21 April 1975: Prince Sisowat Syrik Matak and Prime Minister Lon Boret were executed with their family at the Cercle Sportif Stadium. According to Henry Kissinger, Prince Sisovatu Sirik Mataku was shot in the stomach and left without medical assistance, as a result of which the unfortunate suffered for three days and then died. According to other sources, the prince was beheaded or shot. The direct management of the massacre of Lonnol officials was carried out by the “Committee for the Enemy of the Enemies”, located in the building of the Monorom Hotel. He was led by Coy Thuon (1933-1977), a former school teacher from Kompong Cham province, who from 1960 participated in the revolutionary movement and was elected to the Communist Party of Cambodia in 1971. The strange nationalist group MONATIO (National Movement) was also destroyed by the Khmer Rouge — an organization that emerged in the last months of the siege of Phnom Penh, sponsored by Lon Nol’s third brother, Lon Non, member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Despite the fact that the activists of MONATIO tried to join the Khmer Rouge, the Communists opposed the dubious cooperation and quickly dealt with all those who came out under the flag of MONATIO. Then this organization was declared controlled by the US CIA and acting to disorganize the revolutionary movement in the country. As for the deputy Lon Nona, he, together with his brother Lon Boret and Prince Sirik Matak, was executed at the Pnom Penh stadium at Cercle Sportif.

"The village surrounds the city"

It should be noted that the inhabitants of Phnom Penh met the Khmer Rouge enthusiastically. They hoped that the Communists would be able to restore order in the city in which gangs of felons and deserters from the Lonnol army were operating. Indeed, from the first days of its presence in Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge began to establish a revolutionary order in the capital. They destroyed criminal gangsterism, shooting or beheading on the spot caught marauders. At the same time, the Khmer Rouge themselves also did not disdain the looting of the urban population. Recall that the backbone of the Khmer Rouge detachments were young people and teenagers from the most backward poor provinces of North-Eastern Cambodia. Many soldiers were on 14-15 years. Naturally, Phnom Penh, in which they had never been, seemed to them to be a real “paradise”, where they could make a good living with the well-to-do metropolitan population. First of all, the Khmer Rouge began to seize weapons and vehicles from the population. As for the latter, they took away not only cars and motorcycles, but also bicycles. Then the “purges” of the city from the “Lonnolites” began, to which all those who had any relation to the state or military service in the Khmer Republic were referred. "Lonnolovtsev" sought out and killed on the spot, without trial. Among the dead there were many absolutely ordinary citizens, even representatives of the poor strata of the population, who in the past could serve in the Lonnolovskaya army on conscription. But the real nightmare for the inhabitants of Phnom Penh began after the Khmer Rouge fighters began voicing demands to leave the city in megaphones. All citizens were ordered to immediately leave their homes and leave Phnom Penh as “the abode of vice in which money and commerce rule.” Former residents of the capital were asked to independently obtain food in the rice fields. Children were separated from adults, because adults either could not be re-educated at all, or could be re-educated only after a long stay in “cooperatives”. All those who disagreed with the actions of the Khmer Rouge were inevitable reprisals on the spot - revolutionaries did not stand on ceremony not only with representatives of the old Lonnol power, but also with ordinary civilians.

Following Phnom Penh, actions to evict the citizens were held in other cities of the country. This was how the social experiment on the total destruction of cities and the relocation of all inhabitants to rural areas, which had no analogues in the modern world, was carried out. It is noteworthy that during the eviction of its inhabitants from Phnom Penh, their elder brother Salot Sara Salot Chhai (1920-1975), an old communist to whom Salot Sar largely owed his career in the Cambodian revolutionary movement, died. At one time, Salot Chhai introduced Salot Sarah into the circles of veterans of the national liberation movement "Khmer Issarak", although Chhai himself was always in more moderate positions than his younger brother. Under Sihanouk, Chhai was in prison for political activities, was then released, and by the time the Khmer Rouge practiced Phnom Penh, he continued his left-wing social and political activities. When the Khmer Rouge leadership ordered the residents of Phnom Penh to leave the city and move to the countryside, Salot Chay was among other residents and, apparently, was killed during the “march to the village.” It is possible that he could have been killed by the Khmer Rouge on purpose, since Salot Sar never sought to ensure that Cambodians knew about his family and origin. However, some modern historians claim that the resettlement of citizens from Phnom Penh to the villages was not accompanied by massacres, but was peaceful in nature and was due to objective reasons. First, the Khmer Rouge feared that the capture of Phnom Penh could lead to American bombardment of the city, which fell into the hands of the Communists. Secondly, in Phnom Penh, which was under a state of siege for a long time and supplied only by flights of American military transport aviation, famine would inevitably have started, since during the siege the food supply routes of the city were disturbed. In any case, the question of the causes and nature of the resettlement of urban residents remains debatable - as, indeed, the entire historical assessment of the Polpot regime.

To be continued ...
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 24 November 2015 07: 43
    Thank you, Ilya ... by experimenting in Cambodia ... with the help of Pol Pot ... China, then I went the other way ..
    1. mishastich
      mishastich 24 November 2015 09: 46
      Well, it cannot be denied that China experimented on itself no less!

      A plus article, Pol Pot is not a frequent guest on the Internet.
  2. Vlad_N
    Vlad_N 24 November 2015 09: 19
    Great article. I learned a lot.
  3. Gorinich
    Gorinich 24 November 2015 10: 18
    As always, the truth is many-sided ...
  4. Kim Klimov
    Kim Klimov 24 November 2015 10: 33
    As our great poet used to say: "I don't even want to put this in a book." Bloody and mad dog.
  5. aviator1913
    aviator1913 24 November 2015 11: 05
    Of course, they have suffered a lot from the Ideas of Mao embodied by such cruel psychopaths as Pol Pot and the ideas of the "Great Angka".

    Moreover, Pol Pot, a man who believed in the extreme degree of communism was not poor, and was educated in France. All the more terrible is his crime against humanity, from a man who was a barbarian, always hungry, as you might expect, but from a well-fed and well-educated man ... Although Hitler also succeeded.
    1. Scraptor
      Scraptor 24 November 2015 12: 17
      The last paragraph in the end is some kind of crap ... or the author
      Himself from these, or does not look what he writes? Did they just supply and then immediately start bombing? And, if the siege has already been lifted, then why "evacuate"? stop
      1. ilyaros
        24 November 2015 12: 43
        American aviation was supplied by Lon Nol regime. After his fall and the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in the capital, the supply stopped - why supply the enemies. Accordingly, there was a risk that the Americans would start bombing Phnom Penh after its capture by the Khmer Rouge.
        1. Scraptor
          Scraptor 24 November 2015 14: 58
          Another ... Why bomb the occupied friends? Something they did not bombard Vietnamese Saigon after his evacuation in 1975.
          Is Hanoi so "evacuated"?
          1. Sturmflieger
            Sturmflieger 23 November 2018 21: 18
            Hanoi did not need to. Since 1954, he was under the control of Ho Chi Minh. But in 1964-1972 they bombed in full measure (only the Yankees got much burned to cool this venture). And for obvious reasons the Polpot soldiers did not have a Soviet air umbrella. Incidentally, the Yankees bombed the PRC from time to time and after the exile of Chiang Kai-shek until the early 1960s. So there were reasons for such concerns. Although, if you think about it, it was clear that the Americans who had just been beaten in Vietnam would not have climbed into a new adventure. But who in Phnom Penh would think about this in the days when the Indochina war was just over? Here is Pol Pot and took advantage.
      2. aviator1913
        aviator1913 24 November 2015 13: 29
        Where is my supply information? Something I did not catch up
    2. Sturmflieger
      Sturmflieger 24 November 2018 00: 10
      Studying in France with Pol Pot, by the way, did not work out. kicked out because he scored to attend lectures. And he rather believed in provincial nationalism combined with anarchism, and Maoism and Trotskyism were more like an external varnish.
  6. Vasya Krivich
    Vasya Krivich 24 November 2015 14: 09
    Very interesting! The statistics on the American bombing amazed!
  7. Basil50
    Basil50 24 November 2015 14: 42
    Polpota is an ideal student of the French colonial system. He embodied all the developments of the curators, but as a smart performer, he understood that the hosts would kill him, so he looked for backup options for survival. The ideology is somehow not visible, that it was ordered and executed, what slogans were given, and they waved. More * interesting * hosts, French. A republic with another number waving slogans: * Equality, fraternity, .... *, and at the same time a colonial * empire * leading in the colonies of the war to destroy any resistance. The French in the colonies by sadism and bestiality were in no way inferior to other colonial powers. There is no condemnation of colonial * feats * in France and it seems that it will never be. Today, when the French are kicked out of the colonies, they are trying to retain the right in these countries through * brought up * by their system, as a model of Bokass - an outright cannibal, but the rest are no better, only more secretive in manifestations.
    1. ilyaros
      24 November 2015 15: 46
      Millions of people died in the hands of French colonialists in Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania. That one capture of Algeria is worth, or the suppression of the uprisings in Guinea and Madagascar. Or the Indochinese war.
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  9. Gun3
    Gun3 24 November 2015 20: 42
    Interesting article. I remember in my distant youth, reading in the Soviet press about what was going on in Polpot's Kampuchea, I felt a sense of some kind of monstrous illogicality. The Mongols at one time wiped out many agricultural civilizations from the face of the earth. The Spaniards destroyed the Incas and Aztecs in America, and the British in North America destroyed most of the Indian tribes.
    Already in recent times, the Nazis tried to destroy all Jews without a trace. Unfortunately, all of world history is filled with similar examples. But in all these historical cases there is one logical explanation: they have always exterminated strangers.
    But Polpotovskaya Kampuchea is a completely different case. Indeed, in Kampuchea, they massively exterminated their own tribesmen. I remember, then I could not understand how it is possible that one half of the nation destroys the other half. And this is not a metaphor.
    By the time the capital was captured, a third of the country's population was concentrated in Phnom Penh. But there were also other cities. And all this mass of citizens was sent to the jungle and for the most part exterminated. Question: how could such hatred towards the capital city dwellers among Khmer villagers grow? Was there any ground for such hatred? Alas, it was.
    The fact is that in Kampuchea antagonistic differences have developed between the capital and the province, not only the material standard of living, but also in culture. Over the decades of the French protectorate, Phnom Penh has become an official. Almost all the inhabitants of the capital could speak French, because in our country all the inhabitants of the Soviet Union republics knew Russian, and were influenced by the Western way of life.
    But the Khmer peasants did not speak French. For Khmer peasants, city dwellers were perceived as strangers and enemies. They hated the French and Americans as foreign invaders, and they hated their citizens three times as traitors. And by the way, hatred of the capital is by no means just a Cambodian phenomenon. We have the same thing in Russia; love for Moscow does not flourish.
    We, the inhabitants of the hinterland, remember that for Muscovites we limit and pay them with the same coin, denoting the Moscow inhabitant with the contemptuous word "p.m.o." (person in the Moscow region) or metropolitan plankton. They don’t like the capital island on the mainland, oh they don’t. And there’s nothing to love. Moscow broke away from the country, snickering, as at one time Phnom Penh from the rest of Cambodia. I wouldn’t like to crap ....
    1. Sturmflieger
      Sturmflieger 23 November 2018 21: 36
      Suppose that a considerable part of the victims of the Polpot time (from one third to half) can be recorded in the civil war of the Lon Nol regime against the Pol Pot and Sihanouk bloc as well as in the intervention of South Vietnam and the USA.
      As for the brutality of the polpotovtsy from the village to the townspeople, the same thing happened in all peasant wars in Africa and Asia. Give machine guns and mortars to the participants of some Jacqueria, or our Pugachevschina, Razinets or Hussites, they would have done the same if not cooler.
      I remember in the Congo, when Mobutu was overthrown and Kabila Sr. came (he also mowed like a Marxist, he got along with Che Guevara), one girl from the capital from Kinshasa indignantly wrote in the internet (in French): “They are not revolutionaries, but just a notorious redneck! on which Mobutu planted everything African, but even he did not think of banning jeans and mini-skirts! "...
      Or take the same Strugatskys. In "It is difficult to be a god" is mentioned a progressor disguised as a craftsman and who raised a peasant uprising, capturing several cities: "And it all ended in drunken bloody revelry and plunder." and when that progressor tried to stop it, he got an arrow in the back.
  10. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 25 November 2015 10: 45
    Thank you for the article, Ilya! Much has not yet been covered on this topic. Glad you explained about Buddhism and Marxism! There have always been many giant Buddha statues in Cambodia, and so on. Buddhist Stupas. There are Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom --- entire Holy Cities built by the Ancient Khmers.
    From childhood, he experienced and sympathized with the long-suffering Khmer People and rejoiced at the restoration of Norodom Sihanouk. After all (like throughout Indochina) --- not only Buddhism, but also its own version of Hinduism. There the King (Maharaja) is considered the embodiment of Vishnu --- the kindest and compassionate God throughout the Hindu pantheon !!! He is the husband of the Goddess of happiness!
    The same Hindu theocracy persists in Bhutan, and has recently been in Nepal.

    1. ilyaros
      25 November 2015 19: 14
      Thank. And in Nepal, by the way, the Maoists overthrew it. And in Bhutan, they also periodically carry out partisan attacks, forcing Bhutan to seek help from India.
      1. Sturmflieger
        Sturmflieger 23 November 2018 21: 49
        Well, in Nepal, that Hindu theocracy itself did a lot for its overthrow. What is one shooting of the royal family with two Kalash princes Dibendra. If there were problems in the kingdom of Denmark in a similar situation, then in the kingdom of Nepal a complete paragraph happened (and there wasn’t any Fortinbras). Prince Dibendra was clearly made not a Finger and not a Stick)))
        "Is the scene here?
        - Partly.
        -By the way, immediately bring the units into combat readiness. In the meantime, I’ll stay here.
        -What will happen next?
        -Further - silence ... "(c)
    2. Sturmflieger
      Sturmflieger 23 November 2018 21: 41
      And what good did the restoration of Sihanouk bring Cambodia? Only the flourishing of corruption and the transformation of the country into a center of prostitution. The NRC regime under Heng Samrin (burned in half-rafting) somehow looked more decent.
  11. pRofF
    pRofF 27 November 2015 14: 36
    Thank you, Ilya. A wonderful series of articles. Discovered many previously unknown details.
    Moreover, while reading, I caught myself thinking that the communism performed by Pol Pot turned out to be some kind of ... strange, fake. Those. there is clearly some local little nationalism - all these repressions directed against other nationalities; Moreover, Pol Pot was negative about the Vietnamese long before the CPV became a real force in Indochina.

    Another thing that struck me very much was the desire to drag the country into the Stone Age (cities down, education down) and the efforts that were made in this direction. With that, as you rightly noted, Pol Pot himself had a very excellent education. It seems that he was striving to realize the scenario "submissive, uneducated rural masses - an enlightened ruler."