Censorship of Historical Thought: A World Guide, 1945-2000

By Antoon De Baets | Go to book overview
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During the years of the Lon Nol government (1970–75), Marxist historiography was banned. At the time of the takeover of Cambodia by the communist Khmer Rouge (Red Khmer) who established Democratic Kampuchea (DK; 1975–79), the publishing and teaching of history came to a halt. A spokesman proclaimed that "2000 years of history had ended". Dissident historical views were suppressed. Many historic temples at Angkor and other religious shrines and monasteries were used as storehouses. Most of the books, bibliographical records, and newspaper collections in the National Library were burned, but the archives suffered less damage, although they clearly contained information contradicting the Khmer Rouge view of history.

1977In April Mau Khem Nuon, a Khmer Rouge lecturer known as Phom, was arrested. He was a former student at the Khmero-Soviet Technical Institute, Phnom Penh, and, in the mid-1960s, a guerrillero. From April 1975 he was a Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) political instructor for Cambodian returnees from abroad on, inter alia, the history of the CPK from its foundation in 1951.
1978On 23 December Malcolm Caldwell (1931–78), a Marxist economic historian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and expert at the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal on the American intervention in Vietnam (1967), was killed by a death squad gunman. In the preceding weeks, he had been a member of the first group of independent Western observers allowed to visit DK. Although sympathetic to the DK, he had asked some critical questions during the visit. He had had a private interview with Khmer Rouge


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