Saloth Sar: The Khmer Rouge

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During the 1970s, a regime known as the Khmer Rouge desired to erase the current structure of the Cambodian state and to replace it with a classless society based on agricultural reform; however, their primary goals were not appealing to most of the population. This led the leader, Saloth Sar, known by his nom de guerre Pol Pot, and his organization to implement repressive and murderous rule to maintain control in restoring the country to an agrarian society. Due to the harsh conditions and the arbitrary executions that the people of Cambodia experienced from 1975 to 1979, an estimated two million people, twenty-five percent of their population, died (Etcheson 2005, p. 119.) ***finish intro and make thesis statement***

In January 1962, almost
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The ideas of the Khmer Rouge branched from the ideas and elements of Marxism, Maoism, and Stalinism, in the aspects of utilizing state violence to eliminate those in society that said to support the bourgeoisie and bringing the nation back to a mythic past, which is the desire to stop the aid from abroad from entering the nation and to become self-sufficient. The members of the central committee grew up in a feudal peasant society and asserted that the rural peasant farmers were the true working class. They saw the structure of the Cambodian state to be feudal, capitalist, and to be serving the landholding elite and the imperialists. Saloth Sar and the Khmer Rouge planned a social policy that focused on moving towards a purely agrarian society. Their ultimate goal was to completely eliminate the structure of the Cambodian state and to create a classless society that focuses on the peasant workers. For this to happen, they implemented policies that forced those who lived in urban areas to relocate. However, these ideas did not appeal to most of the Cambodian population, so they were put into concentration camps as farmers and they were no longer allowed to own private property, have money, get an education, or even practice a religion. (Lavinia in the secondary teacher source) This is when Saloth Sar, known as Pol Pot, and the officers of the…show more content…
Plenty of Cambodians were forced to work fifteen hour work days with no breaks and they were only allowed one meal, clearly being overworked. An average day in the concentration camps was to work from six in the morning until nine o’clock at night; once they were done with work they were required to listen to classes about the greatness of the Khmer Rouge. Everyone in the concentration labor camps were forced to be in extreme brainwashing propaganda sessions for at least five hours each day. In these sessions the Cambodians were repetitively trained that they were the instruments of the Angkar , or organization. Families were divided, separating the men, women, and their children; any form of contact between them was forbidden. If anyone was caught even trying to look for a family member, they were killed. (Lavina teacher source) Life was extremely difficult and brutal during this time for civilians and even officials. Anything that was seen as a challenger of the aim to restore Cambodia’s old ways was considered enemies of the state and most often killed. History refers to this time as the era of the Killing Fields since over two million people died from being overworked, dehumanized, malnourishment, and conducting executions both arbitrary and selective, killing anyone they caught attempting or accidentally breaking even minor rules. Also, when people were to
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