The Khmer Rouge was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The regime led by the Khmer Rouge was known as the Democratic Kampuchea.

In 1981, the Khmer Rouge officially renounced communism[1] and somewhat moved their ideological emphasis to nationalism and anti-Vietnamese rhetoric instead. However, some analysts argue that this change meant little in practice, because, as historian Kelvin Rowley puts it, "CPK propaganda had always relied on nationalist rather than revolutionary appeals".[2]

The Khmer Rouge were heavily influenced by the ideas of Khmer racial superiority,[3] and the regime has been labeled as National Socialist, or fascist.[4][5]

Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was backed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and most Western countries[6], when a civil war against leftists who disagreed with the Khmer Rouge broke. The anti-Khmer Rouge communists were backed by Vietnam and the Soviet Union. The U.S. and its allies voted in favour of Democratic Kampuchea retaining Cambodia's seat in the UN. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated that "there are amongst the Khmer Rouge some very reasonable people and they will have to take part in a future government in Cambodia".

See also


  1. Kelvin Rowley, ''Second Life, Second Death: The Khmer Rouge After 1978''. (PDF) URL accessed on 2010-07-27.
  2. Pilger, John. 2004. In Tell me no lies", Jonathan Cape Ltd
  3. (1983) David Chandler & Ben Kiernan Revolution and its Aftermath.
  4. Becker, Elizabeth. 1986. When the War Was Over. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986, p.136.
  5. Helen Fein. Revolutionary and Antirevolutionary Genocides: A Comparison of State Murders in Democratic Kampuchea, 1975 to 1979, and in Indonesia, 1965 to 1966. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 796–823
  6. Natalino Ronzitti, Rescuing nationals abroad through military coercion and intervention
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