History Of Cambodia In The 20th Century History Essay
July 23, 2019
Cambodia is a country that is about the size of Missouri which is 69,898 square miles or 181,036 square kilometers. Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese peninsula. Thailand borders Cambodia on the northwest side, Vietnam borders Cambodia on the southeast side, and to the southwest is the gulf of Thailand. Phnom Penh is the kingdom’s capital and is the largest city. Phnom Penh is the center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
Cambodia in the 20th Century was under French rule. There were some economic developments that took place in Cambodia. Some of these economic developments were roads and railways were built and the rubber industry grew up. Unfortunately the Cambodians were forced to pay high taxes and from the 1930s Cambodian nationalism grew. The Japanese then occupied Cambodia in 1941. At the beginning the Japanese allowed the French officials to remain in their posts but in March 1945 as the Japanese were losing the war they were very desperate and tried to befriend the Cambodians. Finally they arrested French officials and then Cambodia was declared as independent. When the Japanese surrendered the French took over Cambodia again in October 1945.
When the French gain control over Cambodia for the second time they did not allow them to have political parties and a constitution. A treaty of 1949 made Cambodia semi-independent. King Sihanouk dismissed the government in 1952. He took personal control of Cambodia and formed his own political movement. Between the years of 1955 to 1970 he took complete domination of politics that this era was often referred to as the ‘Sihanouk era’. His father died in 1960 and he named himself ‘Chief of State’. He called this movement ‘Buddhist Socialism’. The interesting fact was that this really was not a socialist at all.
Sihanouk’s control started to dwindle in 1968 when the communists began a civil war. In Sihanouk left Cambodia in 1970. After Sihanouk left the country the National Assembly voted to remove his title as chief of state. Cambodia was then renamed Khmer Republic. The communists were in the spot light. Cambodia was bombed by Americans. America bombed this country to try and stop the communists. Then on 17 April 1975 Phnom Phen was finally captured.
In the year of 1975 a horrible and devastating incident occurred. In the reign of the Khmer Rouge they were led by Pol Pot who is also known as ‘Brother Number One’. Millions of people were killed by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The exact number is not known for certain but the estimated amount is 1.5 million and it may have been as many as 3 million. Pol Pot stated that history would begin again in Cambodia. The first revolution was now the first year of history for Cambodia.
Cambodia was mostly an agricultural country in 1975. Pol Pot decided he wanted it to be completely agricultural. All the people who resided in towns and cities were forced to move to the countryside. He also stated that agricultural output should be doubled within four years. This is completely an unrealistic target. He put a banned on private property and collective farms were formed. Workers on these farms were forced to work long hours to try and grow extra rice. They were mistreated because they weren’t given enough food to eat and many got sick from illness and died from a combination of exhaustion and malnutrition.
Pol Pot also banned religion. Any people who were caught practicing Buddhism were automatically executed for it. Family relationships were also banned because he felt that parents exploited their children. If anyone broke a rule even if it was a small rule they would be executed. People were also being executed for being lazy and for complaining. Khmer Rouge also murdered intellectuals. People who spoke a foreign language or who were glasses were executed. This horrible situation was finally ended by the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in December of 1978 and they prevailed very quickly. After Pol Pot’s capture he escaped and he passed away in 1998.
The soldiers that worked under Pol Pot fled to Thailand and they were welcomed by the Thai’s who feared an invasion by the Vietnamese. The Khmer Rouge still continued to try and cause chaos. They continued a guerrilla war against the Vietnamese. Thankfully the Vietnamese forces withdrew from Cambodia in 1989.
After the forces withdrew several different parties decided to try and negotiate amongst one another. The negotiations lead to a Paris Peace Accords of 1991. They abandoned Communism in Cambodia and a provisional government ruled until 1993. After the provisional government was ruled elections were held and a constitution was framed. Sihanouk was made a constitutional monarch and in 1999 Cambodia joined ASEAN.
Today Cambodia is still a very poor country. There is hope for this country about its future. In the early years of the 21st Century the Cambodian economy grew very fast and with good results. The fastest growing industry for Cambodia is tourism. Cambodia also has a clothing industry and this industry is beginning to rise as well.
Some events that have had an impact on Cambodia’s economy would have to be Pol Pot and his leadership. Pol Pot tried to make the country into a completely agricultural economy and he tried to do this unrealistically. He wanted production to happen overnight and this was nearly impossible. I also believe the war in Cambodia created a huge impact on Cambodia. Anytime you have leaders who are doing no good for a country and are doing bad it has a huge impact on a country. Many of the Cambodians died when Pol Pot was in charge of the country. Also when a country goes to war this too leads to a poor economy. This is because the country normal has to start all over again from scratch. They have to try and build up their country again or try and make their country more prosperous than it was in the beginning. In doing so this takes time and I believe this is what Cambodia is trying to do now.
The current economic system is mainly agricultural but they are also trying to build up their industrial system as well. As mentioned before Cambodia has clothing industry which is helping the country builds up their economic system. The clothing industry is expected to rise within the next few years. Also tourism is the country’s most successful means of industry today. The country’s economic system is a reflection of its history in different ways. For example tourism helps Cambodia’s economy. This is because many tourists want to visit this country because they are intrigued with the countries. Pol Pot ruined the country’s economy by his controlling leadership style and his unrealistic idea of changing the country’s economic system. Many tourists visit and learn about the country’s history of when Pol Pot was in control and find this very intriguing and this brings many tourists to this country. Tourism is the highest means of industrial success for this country.
Therefore I believe this country will be able to have a successful economic system despite their history. I am very optimistic in believing this because I believe that with all the tourism this country is gaining this will help stabilize their economy. However I believe this country might face some problems in doing so. Cambodia is still a very poor country. It is very hard to make a poor country into a successful one. I don’t think that Cambodia will ever be a prosperous country but I think they could be successful and be stable. I also think another problem that could result is that another powerful leader could try and take over this country. They banned communism but who is to say that this might be allowed again. If a powerful leader tries to take control of this country this could result in bigger issues than what Cambodia is facing today. This could either mean that the country would go back to being under someone else’s power and end up even worse off than what they already are. If this doesn’t happen then the country might go to war again to protect their country from a future leader and their control. I don’t believe this will happen but it is a concern. I think with that this country has potential it will not happen overnight but I believe that it will be a successful country in the future.