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In the Shadows of Utopia: The Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Nightmare

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A comprehensive narrative history of Cambodia, focusing on the Khmer Rouge and the Pol Pot regime, utilising extensive research and interviews with historians. Continue Reading >>
A comprehensive narrative history of Cambodia, focusing on the Khmer Rouge and the Pol Pot regime, utilising extensive research and interviews with historians. << Show Less
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S2 Ep19: The Path to the Second Indochina War - Part Two How did a succession of US administrations become stuck in Vietnam?
 
How did Diem's policies create the conditions for insurgency?
 
What did the early activities of the NLF look like?



Time Period Covered 1954 - 1961



In part two of our exploration of the path to the Second Indochina War, we focus on early American efforts to create a stable regime in South Vietnam. The activities of the CIA and Edward Lansdale in the aftermath of Geneva are used to introduce this relationship, as well as the growing realisation in some quarters that perhaps Diem was not the best person for the job of leading the country. We look at the 'paradox' of Vietnam, why escalation slowly continued in the face of private doubts. NLF operations in the Mekong Delta are discussed from the point of view of those staging these actions, as well as those civilians who were effected by the authoritarianism of Diem and the intimidating tactics of those that wished to overthrow him.

Sources

Christopher Goscha Vietnam: A New History
Fredrick Logevall The Embers of War
Edward Miller The Vietnam War
Neil Sheehan The Pentagon Papers
Geoffrey Warner The United States and Vietnam 1945-1965 (International Affairs October 1972)

Show Content
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html

Support
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/support.html
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S2 Ep19: The Path to the Second Indochina War - Part Two How did a succession of US administrations become stuck in Vietnam?
 
How did Diem's policies create the conditions for insurgency?
 
What did the early activities of the NLF look like?



Time Period Covered 1954 - 1961



In part two of our exploration of the path to the Second Indochina War, we focus on early American efforts to create a stable regime in South Vietnam. The activities of the CIA and Edward Lansdale in the aftermath of Geneva are used to introduce this relationship, as well as the growing realisation in some quarters that perhaps Diem was not the best person for the job of leading the country. We look at the 'paradox' of Vietnam, why escalation slowly continued in the face of private doubts. NLF operations in the Mekong Delta are discussed from the point of view of those staging these actions, as well as those civilians who were effected by the authoritarianism of Diem and the intimidating tactics of those that wished to overthrow him.

Sources

Christopher Goscha Vietnam: A New History
Fredrick Logevall The Embers of War
Edward Miller The Vietnam War
Neil Sheehan The Pentagon Papers
Geoffrey Warner The United States and Vietnam 1945-1965 (International Affairs October 1972)

Show Content
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html

Support
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/support.html
S2 Ep18: The Path to the Second Indochina War - Part One What occurred in a divided Vietnam in the aftermath of the Geneva Accords?
 
How did so many die during the North Vietnamese “Land Reform Campaign”?
 
Why was South Vietnam described as an ‘emerging fascist state’?



Time Period Covered 1954 - 1963



In this first part of a kind of mini-series on the origins of the Vietnam War, Lachlan investigates the state building in the divided Vietnam. Exploring the ideology and benefactors of the separate regimes, we touch upon the thousands of those who died during the efforts to revolutionise the North – as well as similarly draconian methods to consolidate power in the hands of one family in the South.

Sources

Christopher Goscha Vietnam: A New History
Ben Kiernan Viet Nam
Edward Miller The Vietnam War
Alec Holcombe Mass Mobilisation in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

Show Content
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html

Support
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/support.html
S2 Ep17: The Khmer Rouge's New Vanguard How did Pol Pot become leader of the Khmer Rouge?
 
What did prominent communists like Khieu Samphan do in Sihanouk’s Cambodia?



Were there limits to Sihanouk’s power and tightrope act?
 
Time Period Covered 1960-1963


We begin with a reflection on how Cambodian history can permeate even seemingly mundane spaces, before looking in on a secret communist seminar led by the new leader of the Khmer Rouge. This episode functions as a revisit of some loose ends left as the Cambodian communists began taking their own steps toward having an independent movement from the Vietnamese, as well as how the roles in that party began taking shape. We learn about the mysterious death of Tuo Samouth, as well as the circumstances that precede the vitally important year of 1963.

Apologies for some audio hiccups, this one was recorded in a different location. 
 
 Sources

Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History, Brother Number One, A History of Cambodia
Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Elizabeth Becker When the War was Over
Norodom Sihanouk My War with the CIA

Support
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/support.html
S2 Ep16: Maoism, the Great Leap Forward / Famine and the Sino-Soviet Split Why was one of the most prominent slogans of the Khmer Rouge about a "super great leap forward"?

What is Maoism and why did the People's Republic of China provide a new ideological source for the world?

Why did the USSR and the PRC split in the 1960s?

Time Period Covered 1949 - 1962

This episode could be considered the third instalment in the history of communist ideology of the series. Lachlan discusses the Chinese Civil War, the People's Republic of China, Mao, Maoism, the circumstances surrounding the Great Leap Forward and it's terrible consequences. This is a brief explanation of the 45 million deaths that occurred in China as a result of government policy. The Chinese communists will provide the Khmer Rouge not only with material and economic aid once they come to power, but also with an ideological framework - a program - that the Cambodians will seek to recapitulate. This is an explanation of that program, as well as another hugely important factor in the coming chaos in Indochina, the ideological schism between the USSR and the PRC known as the Sino-Soviet Split.

Sources

Philip Short Mao
Julia Lovell Maoism: A Global History
Richard Baum The Fall and Rise of China
Frank Dikotter Mao's Great Famine
S2 Ep15: Les Khmers Rouges: Double Lives in Sihanouk's Golden Era How does the Communist Party of Kampuchea form? How does Saloth Sar become a married man and teacher? What are the consequences of Sihanouk’s neutral foreign policy?



Time Period Covered 1955-1960



As peace broke out over Cambodia in the wake of the First Indochina War, the fledgling communist movement had to learn to survive in a newly independent country under the rule of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Numbers dwindling and unable to openly resist the government, the ‘revolutionary organisation’, as they began calling themselves, found an avenue for recruits in the schools of Phnom Penh. The man who would become Pol Pot became a teacher.



Meanwhile, in an attempt to navigate a neutral path for Cambodia in the Cold War era, Sihanouk opens relations with China as well as the United States. This agenda will have consequences, as the CIA begins trying to undermine his government and even seek his removal. The resulting “Bangkok Plot”, a series of conspiracies against him, will be explained.



The Khmer Rouge, as Sihanouk had begun calling the communists in his country, will also meet to discuss a new kind of organisation - the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Saloth Sar, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary will all find themselves in high-ranking positions as the seeds of their revolution are sewn.

Sources

Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History, Brother Number One
Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Elizabeth Becker When the War was Over
Norodom Sihanouk My War with the CIA
Peter Froberg Idling Song for an Approaching Storm
Craig Etcheson Overview of Hierarchy of Democratic Kampuchea

Show Content
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html
15: Les Khmers Rouges: Double Lives in Sihanouk's Golden Era How does the Communist Party of Kampuchea form? How does Saloth Sar become a married man and teacher? What are the consequences of Sihanouk’s neutral foreign policy?



Time Period Covered 1955-1960



As peace broke out over Cambodia in the wake of the First Indochina War, the fledgling communist movement had to learn to survive in a newly independent country under the rule of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Numbers dwindling and unable to openly resist the government, the ‘revolutionary organisation’, as they began calling themselves, found an avenue for recruits in the schools of Phnom Penh. The man who would become Pol Pot became a teacher.



Meanwhile, in an attempt to navigate a neutral path for Cambodia in the Cold War era, Sihanouk opens relations with China as well as the United States. This agenda will have consequences, as the CIA begins trying to undermine his government and even seek his removal. The resulting “Bangkok Plot”, a series of conspiracies against him, will be explained.



The Khmer Rouge, as Sihanouk had begun calling the communists in his country, will also meet to discuss a new kind of organisation - the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Saloth Sar, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary will all find themselves in high-ranking positions as the seeds of their revolution are sewn.

Sources

Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History, Brother Number One
Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Elizabeth Becker When the War was Over
Norodom Sihanouk My War with the CIA
Peter Froberg Idling Song for an Approaching Storm
Craig Etcheson Overview of Hierarchy of Democratic Kampuchea

Show Content
https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html
S1: Season One Recap - Cambodian History from Angkor to Independence This bonus episode is for those who would like to remind themselves of the topics covered in the first season of the podcast, or for new listeners who might want a simple overview of Cambodian history as it relates to the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge.

This is an introduction to the themes of the series as a whole, the aims of the podcast, the Khmer Empire, the conditions relating to Cambodia's modernity and the French colonial period. The growth of nationalism, the events of the Second World War and efforts toward independence, including the early stages of a Cambodian communist movement are also revisited.

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Interview
Season One Recap - Cambodian History from Angkor to Independence This bonus episode is for those who would like to remind themselves of the topics covered in the first season of the podcast, or for new listeners who might want a simple overview of Cambodian history as it relates to the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge. This is an introduction to the themes of the series as a whole, the aims of the podcast, the Khmer Empire, the conditions relating to Cambodia's modernity and the French colonial period. The growth of nationalism, the events of the Second World War and efforts toward independence, including the early stages of a Cambodian communist movement are also revisited.SupportInterview
S1 Ep14: The End of French Indochina: Dien Bien Phu, Geneva and “Citizen Sihanouk” How does the First Indochina War end? What do the Geneva Accords mean for Cambodia? Who wins the 1955 Cambodian general election?



Time Period Covered December 1953 – July 1955



Cambodia faces Viet Minh assaults around the country as the First Indochina War comes to its climax, but the French will suffer their most stunning defeat at Dien Bien Phu. World powers will convene to find a solution to the conflict. The resulting ‘peace’ will marginalise the Cambodian communist movement at the expense of the Vietnamese one, and Sihanouk will create a new political movement.  




Google Maps View of Dien Bien Phu

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Sources



Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History
Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Christopher Goscha Vietnam: A New History
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