Cambodia in the Second World War: Son Ngoc Thanh, Japan and a Brief Independence

Jun 11, 2020, 07:39 AM
What is the Umbrella Revolt in Cambodia? How do nationalists like Son Ngoc Thanh react to the rise of Imperial Japan? What are the circumstances surrounding the choice of Norodom Sihanouk as the new Cambodian king in 1941 - as a 19 year old?

Time Period Covered: 1939 - 1945

This episode is an in-depth discussion of the events in Cambodia and Vietnam that occurred once the French presence in Indochina was diminished by Imperial Japan during WWII. Cambodia will briefly become independent amongst the chaos of 1945, but the road to this change will involve a host of different events. Cambodian nationalism becomes a genuine force within the country, and Prince Norodom Sihanouk will become king in 1941. Monks will protest, some will join revolutionary movements. The young men and women who will eventually form the core of the Khmer Rouge will witness rapid change as the world transforms radically in just six years. The rise of the Viet Minh and the declaration of an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam - as well as the famous speech that Ho Chi Minh makes to mark this occasion - concludes this episode.

Sources
Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare
David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History and A History of Cambodia
Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power and Viet Nam
Milton Osbourne Sihanouk
Ho Chi Minh Declaration of Independence
Christopher Goscha Vietnam: A New History

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