Chan Khmer Rouge

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Account for the rise of the Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge rose had risen from an insignificant party to a dominant political party through mainly three factors:, the tolerance of Prince Sihanouk to the Viet Cong as the Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, American military intervention, and the appeal of the Khmer Rouge to the public at the time in the early 1970s.
The fact that Prince/President Sihanouk had tolerated the Viet Cong extending their bases into Vietnam had upset the US, which led to political instability and indirectly, a civil war in which was an opportunity for the Khmer Rouge to play active role politically and socially. Sihanouk had ensured Cambodia to remain neutral in the midst of the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge was still an insignificant party. However, the mild prosperity and peace that Cambodia enjoyed was largely dependent on keeping Cambodia out of conflict. Sihanouk was unable to do so when the Viet Cong used part of Cambodia as a retreat base with the Ho Chi Minh trail penetrated through. Regardless to the will of the US, Sihanouk had allowed the Viet Cong to use Cambodia land in return for Vietnamese respect for Cambodian frontiers. This led to loss of support from the Royal Cambodian army and helped to lead them to support General Lon Nol’s coup to overthrow Sihanouk in 1970. This caused the US to drop financial aid from Cambodia under Sihanouk’s leadership and its support to back a military coup against Sihanouk. As Sihanouk was replaced by the anti-communist general who proved to be an unpopular leader with a corrupt government and an ally to the US, which had dropped hundreds of aerial bombs over the Cambodian boarders to Vietnam, it had provided the Khmer Rouge an ideal situation to declare themselves against their current government, gain the public’s support in a civil war. Although it is not necessarily Sihanouk’s fault, in the long term his decision to tolerate Viet Cong’s presence and use of Cambodian territory…

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