Welcome to this week’s history thread!
This week’s discussion topic: What is your primary resource for learning about history? Do you read books, like a nerd? Do you watch documentaries, also like a nerd? Do you watch a movie/read a book based on true events and do research afterwards…like some kinda super-nerd? Do you, perhaps, work as an historical researcher yourself? Let us know so we can label you accordingly!
Today’s picture: April 17, 1975 marked the end of the Cambodian Civil War. Initially neutral in the Vietnam War, Cambodia’s geography ensured that involvement became inevitable. In 1967 a civil war broke out between the government of Prince Sihanouk and communist rebels led by Pol Pot. The situation grew exacerbated by North Vietnam using the country to transport arms to Vietcong rebels in the South; then worse, when America began bombing the country. A coup d’etat in 1970 replaced Sihanouk, who did his best to maintain the country’s neutrality, with Lon Nol, a pro-American military dictator…an experience which led to Richard Nixon’s disastrous “incursion” and further destabilized the country, driving many disaffected Cambodians, including Sihanouk himself, into the Khmer Rouge’s arms.
By spring of 1975, as the American presence in Indochina shrank to nothing, Lon Nol’s position became untenable and he fled the country. On April 17, Khmer Rouge forces occupied Phnom Penh, bringing a formal close to the war. Any hopes by Cambodians that the war’s close would end their national nightmare vanished instantly, as the Khmer Rouge immediately plunged the nation into a gruesome agrarian experiment that led to one of the worst genocides in human history.