Trace the steps by which Cambodia became a victim of the Cold War in the period 1967 to 1991?

Cambodia is a country located in Southeast Asia. The minority group of Cambodia includes Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams, and several hill tribes. In 1953, it became independent from France. Due to the extension of the Vietnam War in 1965, it faced US bombing from 1969 to 1973. The prolonged cold war from 1967 to 1991, affected the internal system of Cambodia.

Steps

  • In 1941, Norodom Sihanouk became the king of Cambodia after the death of his maternal grandfather, King Monivong. In 1960, he took control of Cambodia as the head of state.
  • The Vietnam War started in 1955 and with the progression of the war, a policy of neutrality was adopted by Sihanouk in the Cold War. He allowed Vietnamese communists to supply arms and ammunition using the territory of Cambodia.
  • He declared about his views on the U.S. bombing that until the incident affects Cambodians, he would not protest. The U.S. conducted a massive bombing in Cambodia.
  • Sihanouk was abdicated by a military rebellion which was led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese communists started a civil war to retain their arms supply using the territory of Cambodia.
  • The Vietnamese communists managed to gain control of Cambodian territory and imposed a new political infrastructure, dominated by the Cambodian communists which is known as Khmer Rouge.
  • The Republic of Vietnam and US forces bombed Cambodia from 1969 to 1973.
  • In 1972, a constitution was adopted and Lon Nol became the president after the election of the new parliament. The transformation of the army units into combat force and corrupt practices totally weakened the army administration.
  • The official name of the country was changed to Democratic Kampuchea. The Khmer Rouge severely affected the country.

Peace effort

It was 1989 when the peace efforts began in Paris under the State of Cambodia. A comprehensive Peace Settlement was mandated to enforce a ceasefire and for dealing with the refugees and disarmament which was known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Trace the steps by which Cambodia became a victim of the Cold War in the period 1967 to 1991?

Published: March 21, 2017 | Modified:September 10, 2020

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