Cambodia: a Nation in Turmoil

Archive Report

Years of Upheaval

Recovering from Khmer Rouge Terror

“When elephants fight,” an ancient Asian saying has it, “the grass gets trampled.” Nowhere has that adage been more true in recent years than in the small Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia. The country's troubles began in earnest in 1970 when Cambodian communist troops, known as the Khmer Rouge, stepped up their war to gain control of the country from the newly installed, U.S.-backed Cambodian government led by Gen. Lon Nol. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died in that civil war as well as in the American bombing of Vietnamese communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.

The Khmer Rouge triumph came a decade ago, two years after U.S. troops had left Indochina and just two weeks before the South Vietnamese government ...

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