Pol Pot

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Pol Pot
Personal Life
Date & Place of Birth May 19,1928
Kampong Thom Province, French Indochina
Parents Pen Saloth
Sok Nem
Claimed religion Roman Catholic (rejected)
Buddism (rejected)
Education Wat Botum Vaddei Buddist Monastery, 1934–35
École Miche Catholic School, Phnom Penh 1935-43
Collège Preah Sihanouk at Kampong Cham 1943-47
Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh 1948–49
École Francaise de radio-électricité, Paris, France, 1949–52
Spouse Khieu Ponnary
Mea Son
Children Sitha (daughter)
Date & Place of Death April 15, 1998
Northern Cambodia
Manner of Death Heart failure (official)
Suicide (unofficial)
Place of Burial Cremated
Dictatorial Career
Country Cambodia
Military Service n/a
Highest rank attained n/a
Political beliefs Communism
Political party Communist Party of Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge)
Date of Dictatorship January 5, 1976
Wars started Cambodian civil war (aka "killing fields")
Number of Deaths attributed 1,800,000 to 2,500,000 est.

Pol Pot (born Saloth Sar May 19,1928-1998) was the ruthless Cambodian Communist dictator and genocidist responsible for killing 1-3 million Cambodians in the late 1970s (nearly a third of the Cambodian population). Anyone thought to be intellectual was murdered, including the killing of people simply for knowing a foreign language or even merely wearing glasses. Pol Pot held power through a combination of enormous charm and complete ruthlessness. He is infamous for being a communist who apparently did not even like to read the works of Marx.

When Pol Pot took over Cambodia in 1975, he abolished private property, money, schools and religion and converted everything back to an agricultural society.[1] He emptied the cities. His Khmer Rouge government fell in 1979 when the communist country of Vietnam invaded Cambodia after a series of violent border confrontations, and Pol Pot fled to the northern jungle with his forces. Pol Pot was popular in China, because they believed Cambodia would be a counterbalance to Vietnam, which was friendly with the Soviet Union. The Chinese support for Pol Pot was a reason he was not ousted earlier to disowned by the communist movement.

An Oscar-winning film about his dictatorship, The Killing Fields brought a wider knowledge of his atrocities, but only years after they had taken place. The United States and other Asian nations were blamed for once supporting him in order to counter Vietnam next door.

There was a bloody power struggle within the Khmer Rouge in 1997. Pol Pot was then arrested by his former supporters in July 1997. They charged him with treason but a "people's tribunal" merely sentenced him to house arrest for life.


  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8350313.stm
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