Who were the Khmer Rouge?

The Khmer Rouge (also known as the “Red Khmer”) were a group of Cambodian communists led by Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge (supported by neighboring Vietnamese communists) guerrilla force waged war against the government of Lon Nol between 1970 and 1975. On the 16th of April, 1975, the Khmer Rouge had seized the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh as Lon Nol’s regime had fallen. The radical revolutionary leader, Pol Pot had become the Prime Minister of a newly communist Cambodia, in which he had instituted a reign of terror. The Khmer Rouge destroyed nearly all aspects of Cambodian society systematically.

In the years of 1978-1979, a successful Vietnamese invasion had ousted the Khmer Rouge, the Vietnamese invaders had installed a regime that they had supported.  Throughout the 1980’s many civil wars had been fought between several factions. In 1991, the warring factions had finally signed a peace treaty, also making various alliances among themselves. In 1993, under the guidance of the United Nations, elections were held in Cambodia. The election resulted in a constitution which provided for a democratic government and a limited monarchy. 


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