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Cambodia in 1970

On March 18, while Prince Norodom Sihanouk was visiting the Soviet Union, right-wing military leaders seized control of the government. Headed by General Lon Nol, the new government announced that it would force Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops out of Cambodia, something which the new leaders claimed Sihanouk had refused to do. By the end of March, Cambodian soldiers, aided by American spotter planes and South Vietnamese soldiers, were attacking the Communists.

General Lon Nol (center) with his Foreign Minister (left) and Deputy Premier.

On April 30, U. S. President Richard Nixon announced that American and South Vietnamese troops were being sent into Cambodia "not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Cambodia." The immediate goal, he said, was to destroy Communist supplies and bases.

President Nixon explains the Americans' mission in Cambodia to the public.
Nixon explains American actions in Cambodia

An American GI in the Fishhook section of Cambodia, about 70 miles from Saigon, South Vietnam.
American GI in Cambodia

True to his promise, President Nixon ordered a halt to military operations in Cambodia in June, and the last U. S. troops were withdrawn on June 29, one day before Nixon's self-imposed deadline.

U. S. soldiers (left) returning to South Vietnam from Cambodia pass South Vietnamese troops moving in to replace them.
American troops leave Cambodia

Effigies representing the Viet Cong, corruption, and royalty are displayed in Phnom Penh during mass demonstrations on October 10.
protest in Phnom Penh

See Also

In the Year 1970
President Richard Nixon

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The Robinson Library >> Cambodia

This page was last updated on January 11, 2019.