US bombing and the fall of the Khmer Republic 1970-1975

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 03-04-17 10:48

To what extent was Pol Pot's rise due to US bombin

  • Spring 1970: Cambodia on verge of anarchy
  • Pro-Sihanouk demonstrations vs. rival gangs who ate livers and hearts of enemies. 
  • NV and SV entered Cam without permission - encourage anti-Vt sentiment 
  • 100,000s of dead
  • 300,000 ethnic Vt fled to Vt and Thailand
  • 30,000 US and 50,000 ARVN forces invaded Cam -
  • US wanted to get rid of Comm sanctuaries in Cam before leaving; Nixon wanted to show they were still serious about commitment to Vt.
  • Comm activity near Phnom Penh - Nixon feared Cam would be lost if he didn't act
  • Felt must support Lon Nol as he was pro-American
  • Lon Nol's gov recieved nearly $2bil in US aid but US bombing destroyed large areas of Cam and killed and alienated Cams
  • NV stepped up activity - close cooperation with Khmer Rouge and exiled Sihanouk 
  • Jan 1971 - Comms controlled half country
  • 1972 - number of rebels opposing Lon Nol rose
  • By 1975 - Lon Nol's regime overthrown 
  • Civil War atrocities committed by both sides
1 of 3

Reasons for fall of Khmer Republic

  • 1975: Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge overthrew them because:
  • Lon Nol regime unpopular, corrupt, incompetent 
  • Communists well-organised, more determined + popular with poor
  • Comms supported by Sihanouk who superstitiuous peasants revered 
  • Khmer Rouge assisted by Vietnamese Communists
  • SV dud great damage to Cam - hated
  • Ben Kiernan argued US destabilised both Sihanouk and Lon Nol regimes because of involvement in Vietnam 
2 of 3

American bombing and the rise of Pol Pot

  • 1970 onwards: bombing attacks made peasants hate US --> Many forced to be refugees; 50,000 to 150,000 civilians killed by 3mil tons of US bombs (1969-1973)
  • Jan 1973: US leaves Indochina --> through Paris Peace Accords; Khmer Rouge launch great and successful offensive against Lon Nol's pro-American gov. 
3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Cold War resources »