Decolonization and the Cold War
Historians estimate between two and three million people lost their lives during the Vietnam War. Tragically, the American military used the chemical agent napalm to create fires to burn or clear extensive tracts of land so they could see their enemy. Destroying 1.7 million acres of jungle decimated villages and their inhabitants and led to a massive rat infestation that caused the bubonic plague to spread throughout the human population.
The devastation of the war, coupled with oppressive policies, have made development in Cambodia and Vietnam difficult. The monarchy of Cambodia was restored in 1991, and the country now operates as a constitutional monarchy. Political scientists describe Cambodia as a "competitive authoritarian regime" since it features characteristics of democracy and authoritarianism.
Watch this video which explores how decolonization and the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union influenced national independence movements in Korea and Vietnam. Why do you think the United States refused to support these efforts (a policy the United States also adopted in the Philippines – see Unit 4)?