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Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot

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Pol Pot, born Saloth Sar, was born on May 19, 1925 in the tiny village of Prek Sbauv. The village was located roughly 100 miles from Cambodia´s capital, Phnom Penh. His parents, Pen Saloth and Sok Nem, owned about 10 times the normal acreage of land of rice paddy. This gave him an above average life. In 1934, him and his family moved from Prek Sbauv to Phnom Penh and he began attending a Buddhist monastery, but he was not a very successful student. In 1949, he began to study in Paris on a scholarship and studied radio technology. During Pot´s second year at the school, he became friends with people who were impassioned by politics. It was then that he discovered Marxism and joined the Cercle Marxiste. This was the Marxist circle of Khmer students in Paris. When Pol Pot returned to Cambodia in 1953 after losing his scholarship and the whole region was revolting against French Colonial rule. Cambodia had officially gained independence that year. Pol Pot joined the proto-communist Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP), which had been set up in 1951 under the auspices of the North Vietnamese. From 1956 to 1963, Pol Pot taught history, geography and French literature at a private school while simultaneously plotting a revolution (Cite history channel). In March of 1962, Pol Pot went into hiding after his name appeared on a list of people who were wanted for questioning. While in hiding, he began preparing a guerrilla-based revolutionary movement that was going to be used to knock out Prince Sihanouk’s government. The Khmer Rouge set up a base camp in the border region with help from Northern Vietnam. An ideology of the Khmer Rouge emerged at this time as well. At some point in 1965, Pol Pot wanted to get help and support from Vietnam and/or China for his ¨revolution¨. The North Vietnamese Communist regime was his most likely source for support, Pol Pot went to Hanoi to ask for help. Unfortunately for Pol Pot, Cambodia was letting northern Vietnam use some of their territory in their fight against southern Vietnam and the United States. Northern Vietnam did not want to risk losing the territory they had been given, so they rejected Pol Pot´s offer. He then went to the PCR, or the People´s Republic of China. China wouldn´t openly support the Khmer Rouge, but Pol Pot had gotten some ideas for his own revolution. The Khmer Rouge was lacking widespread support, but they still decided to begin revolting against the Cambodian government. The initial start of the revolution began on the 18th of January in 1968. Pol Pot had slowly began becoming the sole decision maker and he even set up a separate compound, living apart from the other leaders. The revolution started off very slowly until two major events took place in 1970. The first was a very successful and very sudden, violent action led by General Lon Nol. They overthrew Prince Sihanouk and aligned Cambodia with the United States. The second event was a massive bombardment campaign in which the United States invaded Cambodia. Cambodia had remained officially neutral, but the Viet Cong used that to their advantage by creating bases in Cambodian territory to regroup and store supplies. Due to the major success Pol Pot had, China and Vietnam had decided to support him and the Khmer Rouge. With this support, Pol Pot was then able to concentrate on recruiting and training more than before. While Pol Pot was recruiting and training, he had the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese do most of the fighting. Early on, trends began emerging. Students, or better called peasants, were no longer allowed to join the Khmer Rouge. Former government workers and officials, teachers, and people with an education were unwanted and got rejected. Chams, an ethnic group from Cambodia, were forced to adapt to to Cambodian styles of dress and appearance. Decrees were issued for agricultural enterprises. Emptying urban areas began and by 1973, the Khmer Rouge controlled roughly two-thirds of the country and over half of the population. The Khmer rouge was able to capture Cambodia´s capital on April 17, 1975 after five years of civil war. With the capture of the capital, Lon Nol´s rule ended and the Khmer Rouge´s five year reign began. Pol Pot began calling himself ¨brother number one¨ and took Pol Pot as his name. After he took control of Cambodia, he declared the Year Zero. This meant that not only was the calendar restarting, but it was also emphasizing everything familiar in the lives of Cambodians being destroyed. It was a more comprehensive revolution than the one Pol Pot observed in Communist China. Religion was abolished, ethnic groups were forbidden to speak their language or follow their own customs, family unit ended, and political dissent was eliminated. Pol Pot began the ruthless and bloody campaign against a variety of groups.

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