He came from an affluent family living in Kompong Thom. Pol Pot took Buddhist lessons so as to become a monk, yet suddenly joined Ho Chi Minh’s anti-French movement during the Second World War.1 It was…
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It was also in France where he became acquainted with the prospective leaders of Khmer Rouge and the masterminds of one of the most atrocious governments in human history. This essay discusses Pol Pot’s and the Khmer Rouge’s regime in Cambodia, as well as Pol Pot’s major influences and inspirations.
While in France Pol Pot began to gain and nourish his leftist, revolutionary ideas. For instance, Saloth Sar took on his pseudonym, Pol Pot, while in Paris. At the same time, he became fascinated with Marxism and joined the French Communist Party’s Cambodian wing.3 Pol Pot made friends with other Cambodians in France who shared his own beliefs, most of whom would be his strongest comrades for decades to come. One of his notorious friends was Ieng Sary. Sary would eventually become the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea.4 A cohesive faction was emerging. Pol Pot socialized with numerous other Khmer scholars, such as the revolutionists Keng Vannsak and Thiounn Mumm. Numerous of these students belong to the elite families of Cambodia. For instance, Thiounn was part of the most influential clan in Phnom Penh. Studying applied science, Mumm in all probability familiarized and invited Pol Pot into the Communist Party.5 Similarly, Keng Vannsak had royal acquaintances. He studied Cambodian linguistics in France. Even though interested in leftist ideas, Keng Vannsak did not become a communist; but he was a passionate patriotic.6
Pol Pot and his friends started to create their radical ideologies while in France. Progressively, these radical ideologies were expressed in enormously nationalistic ways. The revolutionary ideology was to be fully independent, with the goal of building a self-governing and autonomous Cambodia. This objective would eventually put these Paris-schooled radicals against Vietnamese-inspired Khmer radicals. In the early 1950s, in
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