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Chapter 11





Laos: A landlocked Southeast Asian nation bordered by Burma and China to the north,Thailand to the west, Kampuchea to the south, and Vietnam to the east. The majority of the population is of Lao ethnic stock and practices Buddhism, but there are also many minorities, including the Kha, Meo (Hmong), and Yao.  Rice is the major crop; coffee, cotton, opium, tea, timber, and tobacco are also grown. There is little manufacturing, but silk, silver products, and tin are exported.

After the French withdrew from Southeast Asia in 1954, civil war broke out in Laos.  It was not resolved until the declaration of the Lao People's Democratic Republic on 2 December 1975.




Angka Loeu: Literally, "Organization on High." The inner core group of the Khmer Rouge, Angka Loeu,, was the most important political power in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror.


Democratic Kampuchea: The name of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, from April 1975 to January 1979. Democratic Kampuchea


was one of the most oppressive and most radical governments the world has known. Isolating itself from the rest of the world, the government of Democratic Kampuchea imposed the death penalty on its "enemies." Approximately one million people were killed under this regime. Cities and towns were evacuated, education and money abolished, and the agricultural production system decimated.


Kampuchea: Name adopted by current government of Cambodia. A Southeast Asian nation bordered by Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. 85% of the population is of Khmer stock and the official language is Khmer, but like many former French colonies (including Laos and Vietnam), French is spoken by many. Kampucheahas significant populations of Chinese, Chams, and Vietnamese. Its primary resource is its agricultural wealth, and Kampuchea


once exported pepper, rice, rubber, and other products. However, widespread fighting in the 1970s damaged plantations, and political unrest has kept production down.


Angkor was located in what is now Kampuchea. More recently, Kampuchea was part of French Indochina. Kampuchea gained independence in 1953 under Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Sihanouk was overthrown by Lon Nol in 1970, and this government fell in turn to the Khmer Rouge in 1975. Under the Khmer Rouge and their leader, PolPot, an estimated one to three million Cambodians died as a result of the evacuation of cities, the establishment of slave labor camps, and the extermination of suspected intellectuals or political opponents. In 1979, Vietnam invaded Kampuchea, ousted Pol Pot, and installed a puppet government known as the People's Republic of Kampuchea


.Three factions competed for power after Pol Pot was ousted, namely Sihanouk's National Front, the Khmer People's National Liberation Front, and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. The first two groups enjoyed the support of the US and many other countries;China backed the Khmer Rouge. After Vietnam began withdrawing its troops in 1988,negotiations began among the factions. The initial peace agreement was signed in November 1991. 


Khmer Rouge: The murderous political faction which ruled Cambodia from April 1975 to January 1979. Headed by Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge killed approximately one million people during its four years in power. Although the Khmer Rouge were ousted from power, they continued to play a role in the contentious politics of Cambodia for many years.

Lon Nol: Born 1917. President of the Khmer Republic, 1971-75. Closely allied with King Norodom Sihanouk until his participation in the coup overthrowing Prince Sihanouk in 1970. Fervent anti-communist. Ruled ineptly and sent into exile, to Hawaii in 1975.

Phnom Penh: Capital of Cambodia since 1865.

 Pol Pot:   Pseudonym for Saloth Sar, leader of the Khmer Rouge.

Tuol Sleng: One of the most infamous of the Khmer Rouge's torture centers. See end of Chapter 11 for details.





East Timor. A former Portuguese colony. East Timor was invaded and unilaterally annexed by Indonesia in 1976.

GESTAPU: Indonesian acronym for the 30 September Movement of 1965 at which time an attempted coup occurred, probably led by elements of the Army, with support from the Indonesian Communist Party. The event represents a watershed in Indonesia's modern political history leading to a conservative crackdown on political opposition parties, a purging of the bureaucracy, and a reconsideration of governmental policies.

GOLKAR: See Unit Nine.




Doi Moi:  Literally, “change and newness.”   The term used to describe the transition, beginning in 1986, to a “market economy with socialist direction.”

 Dong: (dong) The Vietnamese unit of currency.

Hanoi: (hah noy) The capital of modem Vietnam, and also its largest city. It was inHanoi that the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was announced on 2 September 1945. Hanoi serves as the administrative and communications center ofVietnam and has also beenthe home of much industry and commerce.

 Indochinese Communist Party: See Unit Four.

Republic of Vietnam: Also known as South Vietnam. Founded in Saigon in 1955 under Ngo Dinh Diem as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords. Lasted until the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

Saigon: (sigh gone) Officially known as Ho Chi Min City. Located north of the Mekong delta, Saigon is the former capital of the now-defunct Republic of Vietnam. From 1867, it served as the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina. After the fall of the Republicof Vietnam, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Min City, in honor of the founder of the modern Vietnamese state. However, even with the official change of name, many Vietnamese continue to call it Saigon. Due to the long history of foreign influence, both as the French colonial capital and the American presence in South Vietnam, Saigon is viewed as Vietnam's most cosmopolitan city.

Socialist Republic of Vietnam: The official name of unified Vietnam established in July of 1976.



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