BA in History
On April 7, 1975, Khmer Rouge revolutionary forces invaded and took control of the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge regime remained in power for the next four years, causing destruction, violence, torture, and death to devastate the citizens of Cambodia. Since the revolution, the intentions, motives, and appropriate process of justice regarding the actions of the Khmer Rouge have been the subject of contentious debate among academic scholars. This paper will evaluate the evolution of this debate over the last thirty years, considering how and why the views of various scholars have changed or remained the same and how these views have often conflicted with one another. I will argue that from 1975 to 2009, academic scholars have selected various types of evidence to reach different conclusions about the events of the Khmer Rouge, primarily as a result of their own perceptions of the political situation of Indochina during this time, as well as their willingness to admit that the Khmer Rouge revolution was not improving the situation of Cambodia.