with the world before the Khmer Rouge...
In March of 1970, Prince Sihanouk of
Cambodia was dethroned and General Lon Nol became the head of Cambodia.
On October 9, the country became the Khmer Republic with the support
of Son Ngoc Thanh from South Vietnam.
The United States assisted the new government
of Lon Nol to fight against the Khmer Rouge and the Vietcong. But
a major problem with the Khmer Republic was their divided leadership.
Although Lon Nol was considered to be the head of the republic,
Sirik Matak, (Sihanouk’s cousin) and In Tam were also competing
to become head of the country. Finally, an election was held in
1972 that made Lon Nol the Khmer Republic’s president. The
country started to develop their military force, turning their 30,000
men army into a 200,000 force. However, corruption within the government
and the army began to weaken the Khmer Republic.
By 1973, the Khmer Rouge controlled 60%
of the country and they accounted for 25% of the Cambodia's population.
The Khmer Rouge was able to "attack" the republic. By
1975, after three failed attempts to sign treaties with the Khmer
Rouge, the Khmer Republic lost complete control of Cambodia's country
side. This helped the Vietcong in their struggle against South Vietnam.
The Khmer Rouge allowed the North Vietnamese troops to enter South
Vietnam through Cambodia's countryside. During this time, more than
two million refugees lived in Phnom Penh and other cities within
the Khmer Republic.
Source: Cambodia-Historical Highlights.
2002-2003. GeographyIQ. 7/15/03.