Home > History essays > The Cambodian genocide

Essay: The Cambodian genocide

Essay details and download:

  • Subject area(s): History essays
  • Reading time: 19 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 15 September 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 5,497 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 22 (approx)
  • Tags: Genocide essays

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 5,497 words. Download the full version above.

The Cambodian genocide was the mass killing of approximately three million Cambodian people throughout the years between 1975 and 1979. This was executed by a communist group known as the Khmer Rouge, of whom had a common goal of eliminating those who were a threat to the maximization of production in the country. The ultimate task was to free Cambodia of a specific social system of which was categorised into three classes; Upper-Class, Middle-Class, and Lower-Class. They intended to do this by forcing millions of the Cambodian population into fields, ultimately exploiting them and creating issues such as poverty, famine, and economic decline. Most of the farms and industries placed throughout the country caused the workers to be involuntarily self-reliant, of which was essentially yet another goal of the Khmer Rouge. This event was almost definitely a genocide, as all nine of the UN’s ‘Nine Steps of Genocide’ can be allocated. The UN’s definition of genocide is ultimately that there must be intent to destroy, prevent, transfer, or harm a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. The Cambodian occurrence fits all of the above descriptions to an extremely substantial level. Throughout the following report, the main causes, consequences, background information, responses, and significance of the Cambodian Genocide will be explained.
Events Leading to the Genocide
One of the main causes of the Cambodian genocide was the uproar regarding economic stability and classism of the country. This was first seen to cause anger in 1953, when King Norodom Sihanouk began to lead Cambodia on their journey to independence. (The image to the left shows the King at a meeting in Beijing, one of the first to discuss the independence of Cambodia.) Sihanouk served as the Cambodian Prime Minister four times before being restored as King in 1970. (He was originally titled the King of Cambodia in 1941, at the death of his grandfather.) Fulfilling his dream of Cambodia’s independence, he governed the ‘one party’ rule. This meant that Cambodia could then legally form their own independent government, exclusive of those whom they wanted to eliminate. Although the country itself was against the idea of being independent, the king still managed to direct a large amount of the national budget to upgrade the educational system in the country. He allocated 20% to the school systems in Cambodia, providing a strong base for the educational future of the country. People of the lower class at the time appreciated his kindness, and set him at a popular title. However, those who did not live near the countryside, (known as ‘elites’ or Upper-Class men), were unhappy regarding the distribution of the money, and claimed that he was “..creating economic instability within the country.” He thought to have created what he argued as a ‘neutral independent power’, but instead cut off all ties with military and financial bases in the United States. As well as ignoring the United States’ military power, he also disregarded the Vietnamese communists of whom were using the ports in Cambodia to ship supplies for military uses. King Sihanouk became less and less popular with the Upper-Class, and eventually, a group of people equally unsatisfied with his general performance as the Cambodian leader decided to plan to overthrow him. The Cambodian Minister of Defense was among those who regarded the King as ‘unworthy’, allied with US forces in 1971, leading to the overtaking of Norodom Sihanouk.
As the country’s desire to have a place in the Cold War grew, (the war was extremely competitive as there was global recognition as a prize for success), the second cause became inevitable. This cause was the outbreak of the Cambodian Civil War. The civil war of Cambodia was a direct link to the distrust of the country’s King Sihanouk. By suppressing the voices of various minorities within the government, the King allocated himself an unpopular title, proving to be ‘unfit’ for the place as Cambodia’s leader. Furthermore, political channels were diminished in retaliation to the uproar, meaning that the public could no longer express their discontent with the King’s attempts for Cambodia’s independence.
As well as linking to the King’s independence vows, the civil war was also linked to economic instability throughout the region. This caused further uproar from the public, as the government’s money was not being equally distributed between urban and rural communities. This meant that there were many families living in poverty while the government spent tax-payer money on becoming ‘independent’.  The public saw this as poor prioritisation of the issues affecting the country, and decided to take it upon themselves to cause an uprising.
The Civil War itself was the uprising of many lower-class and communist people in the country of Cambodia, rebelling against the government with the intent to express their outrage. Majority of the peasants involved blamed the leaders of the country for ‘corruption and inequality’. This was mainly due to the unfair economic distribution, but also because they disagreed with the King in his opinions regarding the ‘much needed’ independence for the Cambodian public. (This was because the idea of independence originated from the desire to be an urban country, while many still saw Cambodia as having a rural future.) The main group leading the uprise was the Khmer Rouge. The communist group came together during the late 1960s, supported by various other groups such as the North Vietnamese Army, the Viet Cong, and the Pathet Leo. Previous to World War Two, the group was exclusively Vietnamese based. This was first labelled the ‘Indochinese Communist Party’. Shortly after, a second communist group was formed known as the Khmer. This group was essentially an extended version of the original Indochinese Party. The Khmer grew as the government became less and less trustworthy, until eventually the number of members in the group became innumerable. The official ‘civil war’ began when a leader was elected to the communist group. This leader was known as Pol Pot.Under Pol Pot’s instructions, the group raided a government base in Battambang, seeking revenge on the past inequality. Pol Pot believed that Cambodia was designed to be ‘in the past’, and wanted to restart the country from ‘year zero’. As well as this, he was of those who believed that the Cambodian people served their country foremost as agricultural based workers. To fulfil his vision of the country, he felt that he needed to overtake the government. Although he knew that he would initially be unsuccessful, the group gained masses of weapons through the government retaliation to the raid.
Simultaneously to this, Vietnam was in a state of their own civil war. North and South Vietnam were fighting against each other for re-unity between the two. (However, this was initiated by the governments of either side, as publicly to reunite was the opposite of fighting.) The United States began to be involved with Cambodia when it became evident that the two countries supported separate sides of the Vietnam War. While Cambodia was in favor of the North Side, of whom were communists, the United States were in favor of the South Side. To assert their dominance on the situation, the United States initiated a bombing raid on Cambodia. Their intent was basically to prevent the North Vietnamese community from ‘winning’ the civil war, as majority of their bases were laid within the Cambodia region. The Cambodian people were heavily affected by the bombings, and were visibly upset at the Americans. This was an escalation of the civil war.
After the United States bombed Cambodia, the King Sihanouk was removed from power. As mentioned earlier, he was overtaken by a group of communists lead by a man named Lon Nol. (This was known as the Coup of 1970.) Lon Nol had been titled as the Cambodian Minister of Defense, and had known the King on a personal level previous to his overtaking. This did not affect his thoughts regarding the under-performance of Sihanouk’s leadership, and once the King had been removed from power, he ordered all North Vietnamese people to leave the country of Cambodia. This caused chaos across the country, while many leaders took Lon Nol’s side and brutally murdered the Vietnamese of whom could not immediately leave. (The image to the right shows Lon Nol walking with troops, supposedly defending Cambodia. He looks proud, and seemed aware of the attention he was receiving.) After being removed from power, Sihanouk allied with the people he originally opposed, providing aid to those who he had previously despised. The Khmer Rouge gained both power and popularity through this event, leading to the overall genocide of the Cambodian people. (Directly after the civil war, the genocide began.)
The Event Itself:
The Cambodian Genocide began when the official civil war supposedly ended. The main perpetrators were known as the Khmer Rouge. The group consisted of communists with a common goal, of which was to recreate the rural society that had been overthrown over time by urban developments. The group brutally murdered up to approximately three million people, while certain statistics go as high as four million. (In many interviews, it is noted that Pol Pot admitted to the estimation of 2-3 million, but various sites combined casualties and deaths into one amount.) Including the spread and incline of disease, famine, and mental consequences, a total of 25% of the Cambodian population was wiped out entirely. This was completed within a four year timeline, with various concentrated attacks as well as general executions. The most common cause of death was direct execution, as 60% of those who died during the four year time period had been murdered by the Khmer Rouge themselves. The rest died for reasons such as starvation or disease. Illness played a major part in the genocide, as diseases related to water/food contamination (such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery) were extremely common. This was not only due to the overall poor sanitation of the country at the time, but also due to the fact that the people were forced into rural areas with low health resource accessibility.
During the first year of the genocide, the Khmer Rouge overtook the entire city of Phnom Penh, located in the centre of Cambodia. Shortly after taking full control of the city, the group forced approximately two million people to work on the countryside, to live agriculturally. This was the first step towards Pol Pot’s vision of a rural Cambodia. Pushing the workers out of the city and onto farmland meant that the country could regain their status as a ‘preserved’ region, one of self dependency. (Most of the families relied on their own source of food and water, due to working far from government supplied resources.) The khmer were extremely ruthless with their evacuations, and many people died due to unlawful circumstances put in place by the group.
In 1976, the group produced a new state known as the ‘Democratic Kampuchea’. This state was designed to retain secrecy for the four year plan of which was put into place for the Khmer Rouge to create their rural society. The group also used this state to organise and sift through the people of Cambodia, in search of a one class system. (They wanted a country where the upper and lower classes were non-existent.) There were various new laws imposed at this stage, and anyone regarded as slightly suspicious or cautious was to be eradicated from the state. Laws that were changed/created included restraints on leaving the cooperative, restrictions on talking to one another, and that only ‘pure’ people were qualified to join the Khmer.Another general rule that was forced upon the Cambodian people was that their personal belongings were to be shared and used collectively throughout the region. This meant that any personal or spiritual items were no longer private, and that the Khmer had a ‘right’ to confiscate anything that they viewed as suspicious or unnecessary. One of the main reasons for this rule was so that the Khmer could legally ‘own’ any land that they wanted, and could move Cambodians to any farm that was the collective country’s property. This was a big step in the first section of the four year plan.
The ultimate goal for the first year was to focus on cultivating the land of the country, preparing it to harvest foods such as rice. Rice was a major part of the self-reliant portion of the plan, because it was the main source of carbohydrates for the families operating the farms. It was also used for exportation for money/goods. Unfortunately, to harvest the rice, families were split up to ‘maximise harvest’. This meant that not all families were kept together, and different groups worked on different parts of the harvesting plan. (There was a national goal to harvest three tonnes of rice per hectare throughout the whole of Cambodia.) To achieve this goal, it was required that all workers must harvest rice for a minimum of twelve hours per day, exclusive of food/water breaks and rests. This continued until late 1977, where there was an obvious clash between the Cambodian population and the Vietnamese population.
Near the end of 1977, chaos broke loose. Thousands of Cambodians were sent to fight against the Vietnamese as an apparent ‘attempt to deter them from political objectives’ of which would supposedly prevent the Khmer from their rural utopia. The Khmer claimed that they were simply trying to ‘regain stolen land’. The ‘Cambodian-Vietnamese War’ began when an attack was launched on Vietnam. Kampuchean soldiers were sent across the border to attack Vietnamese towns in retaliation to the Vietnam government rejecting the Cambodian Government proposal to ‘demilitarize’ the lands between them, and to become united forces. The Khmer continued to attack the Vietnamese, losing thousands of their own (un-voluntary) soldiers in the process, until two divisions of Vietnam invaded the state of Kampuchea. This put Cambodia into an extremely vulnerable position, and majority of the country fled to the West side of the region, in seek of shelter/safety. All of the soldiers forced into the army to fight against the Vietnamese were picked involuntarily to fight for the Khmer, meaning that tens of thousands of Cambodians were killed in a fight that they weren’t associated with in any way, (aside from being forced into the centre of the chaos). Many other regions attempted to intervene, such as the Chinese and the United States, but the war eventually ended when Vietnam withdrew from the fight. (The genocide carried through this war, but the official genocide ended in 1979, while the Vietnamese withdrew from the war in 1990.)
Consequences of the Cambodian Genocide:
Physical Casualties and Injuries:
There were many consequences of the Cambodian genocide, many of which caused by physical harm. It was estimated that the Khmer rouge directly injured/executed sixty percent of those who died, meaning that forty percent of the dead suffered from starvation and/or disease. The choice of weapon by the Khmer was a common gun, many of which used unreasonably. Most of the deaths were caused by handguns or assault weapons, (such as rifles or shotguns). Overall, it is said that the communist group themselves killed approximately 1.7 million people; accounting for twenty-one percent of the population as a whole. Majority of these casualties were performed on the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, located around Cambodia, but some of the deaths were executed unreasonably in places at random. Anyone seen acting or looking suspicious was immediately shot, while others seen talking to a group of more than three others was interrogated. During the first year of the genocide, only a small group of the Cambodian community was killed, as the first stage of the plan was to evacuate the country of the urban society. While deaths were innumerable, most of them were due to disease or starvation in agricultural locations. Few victims were executed through the guns of the Khmer, unless they refused to move or were considered a ‘threat’. The Vietnamese population suffered also. Any of the Vietnamese who refused to move out of the centre of the city, (otherwise known then as the Democratic Kampuchea), was immediately killed. This meant that more than thirty thousand Vietnamese were indirectly massacred for being either threats or refusing to evacuate. It is estimated that another 30,000 Vietnamese soldiers were killed during the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. They also killed their own soldiers and group members, who were suddenly considered as ‘traitors’ for no valid reason. None of the executors had any evidence of whether the person was a traitor in reality.
There were no rules or guidelines defining who the Khmer could or could not execute, which meant that women and children were not spared throughout the genocide. Almost half of those who were killed were younger than eighteen. This was hypothesised to be due to the fact that majority of the Khmer Rouge members were teens or younger. Although this may have caused them to be more lenient towards their age groups,  they still would have been more comfortable shooting somebody their own age as opposed to someone of a much older life. Ethnic minorities were also targeted, due to the Khmer desiring to create a country of one ethnicity. They wanted an ‘agrarian paradise’, where the country served as a home for all rural needs. The group targeted anyone not following their rule of ‘communism’, as well as mercilessly killing those who worked for the ‘old’ government (such as teachers or business workers). Those who wore glasses were also killed, as to wear glasses was an apparent sign of intelligence. The Khmer did not want anyone intelligent enough to overthrow their plans.
Those who were not enough of a threat to be killed were placed into a prison known as Prison S-21. This prison was created so that the group could not ‘waste bullets’. A quote from the Khmer states that ‘..to destroy you is no loss, to preserve you is no gain.’ This meant that the Khmer were open about their views regarding who hey saw as valuable and who was irrelevant. It also shows that they did not care how the public was treated, as long as their plan went forward. (The image to the left shows an interrogation/torture room from the prison. It is currently part of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and was originally a schoolroom before the Khmer transformed it into a prison cell.) The prison itself was based in Phnom Penh, and was known as a ‘secret prison’. This meant that the Khmer wanted the location and intent of the prison to be kept from anyone who did not need to know. A total of 17,000 people were sent to the prisons for various reasons, but most were considered to have been traitors or had commit apparent treason. All who entered were photographed as ‘evidence’ of elimination, but only six out of the 17,000 survived the camp. Prisoners were said to be ‘exhausted, disorientated, and suggestible’.They had restricted sleep time, small rations of food, and were not allowed to exercise. Between these restrictions and being constantly interrogated, the prisoners eventually died within several months.
Another consequence of the Cambodian Genocide was the poor education system of which the Khmer Rouge left behind. Because the group was filtering the country of the ‘unlawful’ citizens and those who were said to be ‘unfit’ for the rural future of Cambodia, some key figures in the urban society were lost. These included teachers, supposed ‘leaders’ and those who were planning/developing the urban world. This meant that when the Khmer Rouge eventually fled the country to avoid being ‘caught’, they left behind an education system barely recognisable as a system at all. Not only were the key authorities needed for schools eradicated, but the school buildings were also frequently demolished for the land to serve as an agricultural base for the ‘farming future’. This also became an issue regarding other buildings/systems said to be ‘unneeded’ for the rural goal of Cambodia, including modern businesses and firms.
The people of Cambodia also suffered severe malnourishment as a consequence of the genocide. This was particularly severe among the younger population of the community, but was generally extremely common throughout the entire genocide. As the people of the country were forced to work in rural areas, they were also forced to be self-reliant. They had to accumulate/earn both food and health products, meaning that if the summer was not dry or wet enough, many of the families starved due to crop failure. Due to being so far from the centre of the ‘Kampuchea’ state, they were unable to be supplied sufficient resources from the government. The children tended to suffer more due to the amount of labor they would endure, receiving little or no food in return. Most of the children were sent to ‘Children’s Work Units’, where they would dig soil, dikes, or help with the construction of elements such as the Water Dam. One of the survivors from the ‘Khmer Rouge famine’ (as it was called), stated that she received two daily food rations. These rations generally consisted of rice or fish soup. Although the rations were insufficient for their hunger, she recalls that she was one of the most highly valued workers as the dam was considered an important project. She was given a larger ratio of food compared to other workers. This meant that even the highest of value workers still suffered from starvation, so the death toll caused by malnutrition, specifically in other work forces, was not hard to imagine. Also, parents and older siblings were left with the task to take care of the younger children. As this was not considered a valuable position in the society, they were given very restricted amounts of food, and usually became ill due to starvation within a couple of weeks. When this happened, the children who were uncared for would get so hungry that one of them recounted that she had eaten soil    as an attempt to stay alive. (The image above shows a group of children working to dig soil for the Children’s Working Unit. They all carried heavy shovels, and suffered from varying degrees of sunstroke, malnutrition, and severe illness.)
Malnourishment was a consequence linked to poverty. Poverty was also extremely common throughout and after the genocide, regarding not only starvation but also lack of shelter and care. Again, this consequence was most severe for the younger generations as they were vulnerable, and more susceptible to illness due to these effects. As most of the families were pushed outside of the democratic state, there was a rush to build and claim living spaces on the land. Not every family was lucky, and many died due to lack of warmth/proper care before the agricultural period had officially begun. Extreme working circumstances were also linked to poverty, as many of the overworked community did not receive the needed attention to their mental and physical health. As doctors and nurses were sparse, medical aid was difficult to find.
Was it a Genocide?
The mass killing of nearly two million Cambodian people fits the UN’s definition of a genocide. The UN states that anyone with the intent to destroy, harm, prevent, or transfer a population defines a genocide. The mass killing of the Cambodians can be allocated into all nine steps of those also defining a genocide. The first stage is known as classification. The Khmer Rouge classified the Cambodian people into two major groups. These two groups were basically ‘needed’ and ‘to be killed’. Those who were considered useful were sent to work in rural location to benefit the country’s rural state. This included young children and elderly. Those who were not considered useful were either killed or held captive in the democratic state. This included key figures in school systems, businesses, and ‘urban’ developments. (Such as doctors and lawyers.) The second stage was known as symbolisation. Symbolisation played a role in the genocide, as the people of Cambodia were ‘marked for destruction’. This meant that they were represented by symbols as opposed to being treated as unique people. The Khmer used different colours and textures of scarves to differentiate between those they wanted to kill and those they needed to survive. Upon noticing someone wearing a blue and white checkered scarf, the group would shoot anyone near this ‘symbol’. Blue scarves were used to mark those who they wanted to shoot. As the Cambodian people were represented by scarves and yellow stars, this stage also linked to one of the last steps in the UN’s definition; known as dehumanisation. Dehumanisation is the act of segregating one or a group of people from the general definition of human, by treating them in a degrading manner. The Khmer Rouge did this by forcing millions of the population into poverty. They also worked them so hard that a percentage of them commit suicide due to the degrading way that they were treated. The next stage of the UN’s definition states that the genocide must have preparation or planning. The Cambodian Genocide fits this stage as the Khmer had previously planned the mass killing various decades earlier. Most of the planning was executed by Pol Pot, as it was mainly his dream to create a rural Cambodia. He was the leader of the Khmer for several years, so most of the planning he wrote out was precisely followed by those who essentially worshipped him. Also, the Khmer Rouge began planning the genocide several years before the mass killing began. Pol Pot had brought in various troops to train his followers, and he used Chinese tactics to make sure that the group was ‘ready’ for the killing before it entailed. The final stages of the UN’s definition of genocide are extermination and denial. Extermination easily fits the Cambodian genocide as more than two million people were exterminated. Religions, rules, and communication were also exterminated. Lastly, the Khmer Rouge deny that they intended to kill millions of Cambodian people. The leader of the group, Pol Pot, states that he was seen ‘unfairly’, and that he did not purposely harm anyone. He apparently had valid views, and simply ‘went through with plans designed to benefit the country.’
Few countries recognise the mass killing as a genocide. The UN do not directly state that they have labelled it a genocide, but they do recognise that it fits majority of the steps. However, when explaining the genocide itself, most countries tend to use the words ‘mass killing’ or ‘mass slaughter’. The United States have several websites stating that they see the genocide as ‘unlawful’, yet they fail to mention that their country did not intervene with the killing while it pursued. New Zealand does not recognise it as a genocide, but again uses words such as ‘mass killing’, while calling the event an ‘atrocity’.
Media Responses:
Websites such as TheWashingtonPost, stuff.co.nz, and other international media outlets have published articles regarding the genocide, but majority of them avoid the word. They instead lean towards ‘mass killing’, and use adjectives to describe a genocide without directly categorising the event. (Such as ‘atrocity’, ‘horrific’, and ‘barbaric’.)  Those who reflect on the event forty years later tend to be horrified by the event, whereas media responses at the time were conflicted. An article from The New York Times, 1984, promotes a film documenting the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields. The article itself refers to the event as a genocide, but does not go into further detail about it. This may be due to the fact that the event was fairly fresh at the time, and the newly found peace would have been treasured at the time. There are little or no media responses from New Zealand, aside from possible arguments to change foreign migrant policies when Cambodian people fled to seek shelter. However, most of these documents are difficult to find. Overall, the media did not play a large role in the Cambodian Genocide, and most people refused to talk about the horror-inducing event on technology/articles.
Significance to New Zealand:
The Cambodian Genocide was significant to New Zealand both at the time of the killing and afterward. During the genocide, New Zealanders were affected because due to political shifts, our country ultimately supported the Khmer Rouge. This was because we sent troops to support America in the Cold War, thus fighting against the Asian, (and Cambodian), ethnicities. Although this was not a direct part of the Genocide itself, it still related to the events leading to the genocide and therefore contributes New Zealand into the killing of millions. New Zealanders were captured by the Khmer following being found, and a handful of New Zealanders experienced life in the S-21 Prison. Also, New Zealand was a common ‘safe haven’ for many migrants to flee to. Along with several other countries supporting those who fled their country, New Zealand accepted almost 5,000 Cambodian Refugees. The main flow of migrants occured when the New Zealand government reached out to the refugees in Thailand who were struggling. As the Cambodian refugee crisis was internationally responded to, New Zealand was recognised for their efforts and the government continued to grant residency. Most of the refugees who escaped to NZ stayed in Auckland when they arrived, and today more than 4,000 Cambodians live in the region. Because of this, those who had arrived further down the country (such as Southland and Otago) began to travel up the country to the larger portion of the Cambodian culture. (They also travelled upward to avoid the cooler climates and scarce employment opportunities.) Although the North Island was home to more job opportunities, the refugees maintained their careers in manual labors, as the combination of being unable to speak english and having little business skill made it difficult to attain an office job. The New Zealand government changed several laws due to the international migrants, and the migration flow from Cambodia was a main cause of this change. A law that assisted migrants was known as the Immigration Assistance Act, introduced in the early 1980s. Common immigrants that arrived were students, as the government provided benefits for those who came to New Zealand for education. New Zealand itself seemed to welcome the migration, as the country grew to be more culturally diverse. In the modern world, the Cambodian culture is more visible, and it would not be as prominent without the event of the genocide. Some of the benefits that were granted to the students were scholarships. A couple of these were the Colombo Plan and Ford scholarships. Although most of the immigrants entered NZ when the genocide had officially ended, refugees were still a direct consequence of the mass killing.
Background Information
The History of Pol Pot:
Pol Pot was a former Cambodian politician before publicly announcing his devotion to the Khmer group. He was elected as the leader of the Khmer Rouge when his nationalism for the communists was clear. This was documented to first be in 1963, until 1997 when he was arrested after a struggle for power within the Khmer Rouge. (The image above shows Pol Pot with a small group of the Khmer, hidden in a jungle to discuss plans before the genocide. He has a gun in front of him, which shows his brutal nature.) He supposedly ‘knew’ that he was a communist when he moved to Paris in the 1940s, where he joined a French Communist Party. His hunger for power began in 1960, when he was elected as the Secretary for the updated group. Knowing he would soon be repressed from the position, Pol Pot relocated himself in 1962. He then kept a low profile in the Cambodian jungles, before heading to Japan to recreate the spark of communism. Six years later, he re-launched his previously dismissed plan to overtake the Cambodian King, with a group he had titled ‘The Khmer Rouge’. During the civil war, he led the Khmer Rouge to the point where he felt the need to separate himself from the rest of the world to ensure safety. (Governments against him pushed to have him repressed from the group.)
The genocide of Cambodia was a horrific event of which affected millions of innocent civilians. Overall, around 1.2 million were directly executed, and 800,000 died through starvation and/or disease. The Khmer Rouge were one of the most feared groups throughout the 1970s period. The event meets all nine steps of the UN’s definition of a genocide, and also is recognised by various international media sites such as The New York Times. It was significant to New Zealand because many refugees arrived in the country, seeking shelter through the next decade. As well as this, New Zealand sent troops as an attempt to prevent further destruction of the country. The Cambodian Genocide was an event that many countries should learn from, as it sends the message that a hunger for power is not the answer to success.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

Discover more:

About this essay:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, The Cambodian genocide. Available from:<https://www.essaysauce.com/history-essays/2018-6-27-1530067766/> [Accessed 21-09-23].

These History essays have been submitted to us by students in order to help you with your studies.

* This essay may have been previously published on Essay.uk.com at an earlier date.