From the Claws of the Tiger to the Jaws of the Crocodile: Pol Pot, Maoism, and Ultra-Nationalist Genocide in Cambodia, 1975-1979

Title: From the Claws of the Tiger to the Jaws of the Crocodile: Pol Pot, Maoism, and Ultra-Nationalist Genocide in Cambodia, 1975-1979
Authors: Galway, Matt
Date: 2010
Abstract: This thesis argues that Pol Pot was an unsophisticated political theorist and that he attempted to localize Maoism to serve his virulently ultra-nationalist agenda against Cambodia's ethnic Vietnamese. This is contrary to the existing assertions that Pol Pot was either a Maoist fundamentalist or adopted an ideology close to Maoism. The thesis postulates that Pol Pot used Maoism as a framework from which to launch his Khmer revivalist anti-Vietnamese program. The Cambodian leader's revolution was intended to "outdo" Mao, based solely on the use of antiquated Khmer agricultural developments, and surpass the grandeur of the great Angkor kings. This evidence can be found when one compares Pol Pot's writings, speeches, and slogans with Mao's own political works. Pol Pot was fascinated with Maoist rhetoric but never took action in building industry or improving social welfare. The Cambodian leader's overarching goal was to achieve a uniquely "pure" Khmer communism while also eradicating the entire Vietnamese race. The following thesis provides an analysis of Pol Pot's early political life, examines his infatuation with Mao Zedong and the Chinese revolution, and details the Cambodian leader's unique interpretation of the Chinese Chairman's political ideology. This thesis also aspires to she'd new insight into the study of Pol Pot's ultra- nationalist inspiration and disbar the convenient assumption by current scholars that he was merely a Maoist fundamentalist. In Pol Pot's attempts to create a uniquely Khmer communist ideology, he lost sight of the class struggle and espoused a racialist agenda based on Cambodian historical notions of revenge. These forms evolved from a mere grudge to notions of disproportionate and total revenge and dictated the Cambodian leader's treatment of the Vietnamese. Pol Pot was obsessed with Cambodia's long lost greatness and possessed an inherent need to reestablish the utopian Angkor kingdom in the present while punishing those responsible for its demise. In the end, his legacy was one of unbridled bloodshed that led to nearly three million deaths and the near-total destruction of his country.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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