11: Pol Pot in Paris and the Khmer Issarak - Part One

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What does the anti-colonial scene look like in Cambodia? Who are the Khmer Issarak and how do nationalists and young Cambodian students relate to this movement as well as the growing war in Vietnam with the returning French?
Time Period Covered 1945 - 1950
Saloth Sar, the young Pol Pot, will arrive in Paris in October 1949. In this episode we trace the path that he takes to get there, as well as the very important developments in Cambodian and world history that are taking place at this time. Resistance to French colonialism takes the shape of the 'Khmer Issarak' in Cambodia, a banner which includes many different groups and figures - some open to communist ideology and some staunch nationalists. Leaders such as Dap Chhuon, Prince Chantaraingsey, Puth Chhay and Son Ngoc Minh are discussed, as well as the circumstances around the beginning of the First Indochina War. Meanwhile, Saloth Sar is introduced to communist ideology in Paris, and a group of students including Ieng Sary, Thioun Mumm, Keng Vannsak and more will organise themselves along Marxist inspired politics.
Sources
Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Christopher Goscha Vietnam A New History
Ben Kiernan Viet Nam
Edward Miller ​The Vietnam War
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