This study traces the rise of Kampuchean communism from its inception in 1930 to the present. The author analyzes the socioeconomic and political conditions that brought Cambodia to an explosive stage in 1970 and documents the cataclysmic transformation that followed. The protagonist in this ongoing historical drama is the revolutionary movement known as the Khmer Rouge, or "Red Khmers." Their revolution was so ultraradical that even the communists were appalled. The Soviets studiously ignored it, the Chinese vainly tried to moderate it, and the Vietnamese ultimately destroyed it. In an attempt to explain the Khmer revolution—one of the most violent in modern political history—the author focuses on the ideology created by a key group of Khmer Rouge leaders. The theoretical and historical significance of the Khmer revolution and the state of Democratic Kampuchea has received little attention from scholars, and far too much of what has been written has been motivated by a bewildering array of ideological and geopolitical interests. This book is one of the first to apply a systematic analytical framework to the creation, growth, and destruction of Democratic Kampuchea.
Preface -- Mise en Scène -- Cambodian Politics, Society, and Economy -- Evolution of Khmer Rouge Political Thought and Behavior -- Gestation (1930–1960) -- The Early Revolutionary Stage (1960–1967) -- The Late Revolutionary Stage (1968–1975) -- Consolidation and Society Building (1975–1978) -- Utopia and Pandemonium -- The Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea -- A Chronological History of Kampuchea