In the Shadows of Utopia: The Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Nightmare

Lachlan Peters

A comprehensive narrative history of Cambodia, focusing on the Khmer Rouge and the Pol Pot regime, utilising extensive research and interviews with historians.

S1 Ep1: An Introduction to the Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields and the 'Cambodian Genocide'
How would you react to being forced out of your home at gunpoint,  ordered to leave all of your belongings behind, and instructed to walk for days, weeks and months, to an unknown fate in the countryside? And that is just the beginning of the nightmare. ​ The first episode of the series is intended to be a very basic introduction to the the complex set of circumstances that Cambodia faced midway through the 1970s. ​The conquest of Cambodia by the Communist Party of Kampuchea, known to the world as the Khmer Rouge, would usher in one of the most destructive and murderous regimes of the 20th century. This limited series is an attempt to provide a detailed narrative history of Cambodia, with a focus on explaining the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the reasons why their utopian visions ended with more than one quarter of the population dying in just under four years. More than two million Cambodians, as well as various ethnic minorities, will perish at the hands of their own government. Explaining this story requires time, research and explanation of historical forces in Cambodia as well as the wider world. Not just dates, numbers and names. Join Lachlan Peters, a long-time student of Cambodian history as he shares the story of one of the most fascinating countries in the world, and the long path toward its darkest period.   Sources Pin Yathay Stay Alive My Son David Chandler A History of Cambodia and Voices From S-21 Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare Roland Neveu The Fall of Phnom Penh Elizabeth Becker When the War Was Over
Jan 28 2018
52 mins
S1 Ep2: The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Empire - Part OneS1 Ep3: The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Empire - Part Two
Jul 18 2018
57 mins
S1: Bonus Episode: 'Visualising Angkor' with Tom ChandlerS1 Ep4: Cambodia After Angkor - Part OneS1 Ep5: Cambodia After Angkor - Part Two
How will the forces of Imperialism and Colonialism come to the region of Indochina? What role will Europeans play in shaping what will eventually become the state of Cambodia? Time period covered: 1500 - 1825 Cambodia’s transitionary period will also see the start of European influence in the region. What did these early encounters look like? The ridiculous story of Ruiz and Veloso, two ‘adventurers’ from Spain and Portugal who attempt to take over the country is relayed. Lachlan also spends some time introducing what the larger forces of colonialism looked like around the globe at this time. The attention then shifts to France as we look to foreshadow the coming imposition of control from Europe that will culminate in ‘French Indochina’ being eventually established. The story of Pierre De Behaine, a French missionary stationed in Vietnam, is told as we look to set up the long and tangential relationship between Vietnam and France. The period of conflict within Vietnam and the eventual unification of that kingdom by Emperor Gia Long – with help from the aforementioned missionary – is also related to Cambodian history, particularly the infamous Cambodian folktale of ‘the master’s tea’; a story about Vietnamese cruelty to the Khmer that can still be heard today. Sources Briggs, L.P. ‘Spanish Intervention in Cambodia’, T'oung Pao, Second Series, Vol. 39, 1950 David Chandler A History of Cambodia Alex Hinton Why Did They Kill?  Support https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/support.html
May 5 2019
1 hr 19 mins
S1: Bonus Episode: 'The Cambodian Genocide?' With Professor David ChandlerS1 Ep6: The Dawn of French IndochinaS1 Ep7: The French Protectorate, Rural Life and the Rise of Cambodian NationalismS1 Ep8: The Origins of Communism - Part One - Marx and EngelsS1 Ep9: The Origins of Communism - Part Two - SovietS1 Ep10: Cambodia in the Second World War: Son Ngoc Thanh, Japan and a Brief Independence
Jun 11 2020
2 hrs 45 mins
S1 Ep11: Pol Pot in Paris and the Khmer Issarak - Part OneS1: Bonus Episode: ‘Extraordinary Justice at the Khmer Rouge Tribunals’ with Dr Craig EtchesonS1 Ep12: Pol Pot in Paris and the Khmer Issarak – Part TwoS1 Ep13: Sihanouk’s Royal Crusade for Cambodian IndependenceS1 Ep14: The End of French Indochina: Dien Bien Phu, Geneva and “Citizen Sihanouk”S1: Season One Recap - Cambodian History from Angkor to IndependenceS2 Ep15: Les Khmers Rouges: Double Lives in Sihanouk's Golden Era
How does the Communist Party of Kampuchea form? How does Saloth Sar become a married man and teacher? What are the consequences of Sihanouk’s neutral foreign policy? Time Period Covered 1955-1960 As peace broke out over Cambodia in the wake of the First Indochina War, the fledgling communist movement had to learn to survive in a newly independent country under the rule of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Numbers dwindling and unable to openly resist the government, the ‘revolutionary organisation’, as they began calling themselves, found an avenue for recruits in the schools of Phnom Penh. The man who would become Pol Pot became a teacher. Meanwhile, in an attempt to navigate a neutral path for Cambodia in the Cold War era, Sihanouk opens relations with China as well as the United States. This agenda will have consequences, as the CIA begins trying to undermine his government and even seek his removal. The resulting “Bangkok Plot”, a series of conspiracies against him, will be explained. The Khmer Rouge, as Sihanouk had begun calling the communists in his country, will also meet to discuss a new kind of organisation - the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Saloth Sar, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary will all find themselves in high-ranking positions as the seeds of their revolution are sewn. Sources Philip Short Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare David Chandler The Tragedy of Cambodian History, Brother Number One Ben Kiernan How Pol Pot Came to Power Milton Osbourne Sihanouk Elizabeth Becker When the War was Over Norodom Sihanouk My War with the CIA Peter Froberg Idling Song for an Approaching Storm Craig Etcheson Overview of Hierarchy of Democratic Kampuchea Show Content https://www.shadowsofutopia.com/dramatis-personae.html
Jul 23 2021
2 hrs 7 mins
S2 Ep16: Maoism, the Great Leap Forward / Famine and the Sino-Soviet Split