In 1863, Cambodia (which was under king Norodom) became a protectorate of France. During October in 1887, the formation of the Union Indochinoise (Union of Indochina) which comprised of Cambodia and the three regions of Vietnam.
Pol Pot is Born
On May 19th 1925, Pol Pot (also known as Saloth Sar) was born in a small fishing town of Prek Sbauv, Kampong Thom Province in Cambodia, which at the time was dominated by French Colonialism. He was the eighth of nine children in a moderately wealthy family of Chinese decent.
On July 20th 1942, a demonstration organised by nationalist leader Son Ngoc Than occurs in Phnom Penh. The demonstration marches on the Cambodian royal palace and French officals arrest some national leaders, while others fled to the countryside. The group splits into non-communist and communist groups.
First Indochina War
In 1946, the First Indochina War began, lasting until 1954. This war was faught by the France to regain control of Vietnam.This was after Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh delcared independance. Thailand returns Cambodian territory that was seized during 1941.
Pol Pot Moves to France
In 1949, Pol Pot went to France after his studies were unsuccessful at an exclusive secondary school. He gained a scholarship that allowed for technical study in France and he went on to study radio electronics in Paris from 1949 to 1953. He also participated in an international labour brigade building roads in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1950.
In 1951 the Cambodian nationalists formed a rival government with Communist Son Ngoc as its president. The Cambodian Communists form the KPRP (Khmer People's Revolutionary Party). This party was seperate from the Indochinese Communist Party but was still directed by it.
Pol Pot in France - Communism
In 1951 while in France, Pol Pot joined a communist cell in a secret organization known as the Cercle Marxiste (Marxist Circle). The Cercle Marxiste had taken control of the Khmer Student's Association that same year. He later joined the FCP (French Communist Party). It is believed that Pol Pot's poor academic record was an advantage to him within the anti-intellectual French Communist Party because they saw uneducated peasants as the true working class.
Pol Pot Returns to Cambodia
After losing his scholarship in France, Pol Pot returned to Cambodia where he worked with Cambodian and Vietnamese Communists in the countryside for both countries. Around this time Norodom Sihanouk campaigned for Cambodia's independence from france and in November
Students in Siem Reap started to riot against Sihanouk. The Worker’s Party of Kampuchea (previously called the Cambodian Communist Party) held a Party Congress that confirmed Pol Pot as party secretary. Pol Pot went to the countryside along with Ieng Sary to organise Communist Resistance.
The government started to crackdown on people that were suspected to be communists and rebels. This is after rebels in Samlaut kill two government soldiers in protest of General Lon Nol’s rice collection Scheme.
Khmer Rouge antigovernment military offenses begin and Cambodia is bombed by the United States to hamper Vietnamese Communist war efforts. The attack was a secret campaign against North Vietnamese forces.
On March 8th 1970, Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown by Sisowath Sirik Matak and Lon Nol. This caused Sihanouk to ally with Cambodian communists to form an exile government and a military National Unified Front to oppose Lon Nol’s government.
South Vietnam and United States invade Cambodia in search of the South Vietnamese Communist command center.
Country Renamed Democratic Kampuchea
Country Renamed Democratic Kampuchea
On April 17, the Khmer Rouge soldiers take Phnom Penh and on April 30th the Vietnam war ended with a communist victory.
The Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot occupy Phnom Penh and Lon Nol is overthrown. All urban dwellers are evacuated to the countryside to become agricultural workers. Basic freedoms were cut, religion was banned and money became worthless. Hundreds of thousands of educated people of middle class are executed and tortured in special centres. Many others die from disease, exhaustion or starvatoin with the death toll of the next three years believed to be at least 1.6 million.
Pol Pot - Prime Minister
The Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea takes effect and Pol Pot officially becomes the prime minister of Cambodia after Sihanouk resigned with Khieu becoming head of state.
Cambodians and Khmer Rouge defectors in a Vietnam controlled border area from the KUFNS (Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation) to overthrown Pol Pot's govnerment.
Vietnamese forces occupy Phnom Penh is January, KUFNS formed a new government that was led by Heng Samrin. Pol Pot steps down as prime minster of Democratic Kampuchea in December and Khieu Samphan becomes the regime's public leader.