The main cause of the Cambodian Genocide was economic troubles. Cambodia had been going through civil war for 15 years with factions fighting for power and political philosophy when the US got involved. The war damaged their economy and they had no stability for their citizens. “The Air Force database reveals that beginning on January 1, 1970, bombing escalated from less than one ton per day to hundreds and sometimes tens of thousands of tons per day” (Owen). One can imagine how daily bombings destroyed their economy. First off their fields would be destroyed therefore they couldn’t produce food. If they couldn’t produce food, the next result would be starvation.
Another reason why the genocide happened was because of a creation of a culture of fear. The day that the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh was claimed as “year zero.” All citizens were relocated to the country side and forced to wear all black clothing, and work 16 hour days in the rice field. The cities were claimed as their enemies (Inside Pol). According to eye witness accounts by Met Chan, Sisowath Doung Kara was severely beaten and tortured. The torturing included, getting hit in the head with a blunt object, starvation, repeated beatings, and body parts broken. The end results silenced him forever, except for his last words of mentioning his loved ones (“Survivor Stories”). “The Khmer Rouge regime not only traumatized millions of Cambodians’ psychological function but it created a permanent scare in every Cambodian citizen” (“Survivor Stories”). As you can see, this is why a lot of Cambodians didn’t do anything to help. Everyone was scared and couldn’t trust anyone, and wanted to survive at all costs. At the end, they’ll never be right in the head, and may even be better off dead.