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Cambodia: War, Political Turmoil, And The Khmer Rouge As A Significant Source Of Change.

2716 words - 11 pages

Cambodia 1Running Head: CambodiaCambodia: War, Political Turmoil, and the Khmer Rouge as a Significant Source of ChangeSOC 352 - Social ChangeCambodia 2Cambodia: War, Political Turmoil, and the Khmer Rouge as a Significant Source of ChangeThe most significant source of social change in Cambodia in contemporary times is the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmers Rouges from 1975-1978. Their Communist Party of Kampuchea torn the country apart with war, genocide, and corruption. In the wake of this period of history, the people of Cambodia have been left to pick up the pieces and continue in political strife.The goal of this paper is to explore the history of Cambodia leading up to the rule of the Khmers Rouges and the change brought about by their rule. I will also describe the aftermath of the 1975-1978 reign and what steps have been taken to heal Cambodia. Finally, I will discuss the modern social issues in Cambodia and their plans for the future.Before the Darkness: A Brief History of Cambodia From 1800 to 1975Located between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, Cambodia has been geographically placed amongst social rift since it's inception. Cambodia has lost a lot of its territories over the years to peripheral fighting and in negotiations for aid and protection. From the seventeenth to nineteenth century, Cambodia, weakened by internecine struggles, which destabilized the Kingdom, was forced to turn to Siam and Vietnam for aid (Kamm, 1998). This resulted in a great loss of land, especially to Vietnam. During the late nineteenth century, Cambodia became a French protectorate and later a colony. In 1941, France chose a young Prince Norodom Sihanouk to be King, hoping that he would be easily manipulated.Cambodia 3During the turmoil of World War II, Cambodia was occupied by Japan. Following the defeat of Japan, political conflict arose between the French and radical Cambodian nationalists. The Cambodian nationalists were willing to use whatever force necessary to keep the French from restoring their colonial hold. Wishing to avoid war, Sihanouk chose to negotiate with France for independence. In 1953 France was losing its war against the Vietnamese Communists and under pressure from Sihanouk granted independence to Cambodia.A year later, after the Geneva Conference established North and South Vietnam, Cambodia remained Independent and accepted foreign military aid. The United States became their principle supplier, however, Sihanouk remained neutral and rejected American pressure to join the anti-Communist alliance. In 1955, at the urging of his family and under political pressure stemming from the civil wars in Laos and Vietnam, Sihanouk formed a board political movement, which took over Parliament.With his new political power, Sihanouk won the election in 1958. His opposition consisted of the small, educated minority, which was made up of pro-westerners, neutralists and Communists. At this time, Sihanouk coined the term "Khmers Rouges" or Red Cambodians, when...

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