Why Vietnam Invaded Kampuchea

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 17th Mar 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

This article explores the reasons why Vietnam invaded Cambodia in recent history.

Why Vietnam Invaded Kampuchea

Why Vietnam Invaded Kampuchea
Cambodia, or Kampuchea as it was once called, was a way for Vietnam to create an ‘Indochina bloc’. It was only one aspect, one building block in its creation, seen as a system of compulsory and permanent 'friendship and co-operation' in furtherance of Vietnam's national unity and 'socialist' development.
Cambodia was an important issue for Vietnam, partly because of its “intrinsic importance as an integral and indispensable part of Indochinia (as the crucial agricultural 'hinterland' for Vietnam's industrial revolution) and, more important, because of the fierce nationalism and stubborn defiance of Kampuchea which could jeopardise Vietnam's entire Indochina project”. Vietnam’s decision to invade Cambodia was one of those moments in history that would forever affect the lives of two countries and their people.
There are scholars who view Vietnam’s invasion and the toppling of the dictator Pol Pot as a ‘well-deserved punishment’; however, it is not always shown that Vietnam had other, darker intentions in regards to Cambodia.
Before 1975, Vietnam was facing both theoretical and political problems that would later contribute to the invasion of Cambodia. One, Vietnam wanted to create an Indochina. Two, “Hanoi's consummation of an all-embracing alliance with the Soviet Union in 1978 was no sudden and involuntary reaction to the 'Chinese threat' but a qualitatively new alignment tailored to the requirements of asserting Vietnam's 'leadership' over Indochina and, specifically, for solving the thorny 'Kampuchean problem' once for all”.
Cambodia, and her fierce nationalism and insubordination, was seen as a problem for Vietnam; it was something that could threaten their plans for an Indochina. Taking control of Cambodia was seen as the solution to their political problems – however, this ‘solution’ that would serve the best interests of the Vietnamese government and their needs would run counter to the Cambodian people’s own needs and very survival.
The problems that the Vietnamese faced can be blamed on the American government when they invaded Vietnam and caused problems for the people and the government. After 1975, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) looked to South Vietnam for economic resources that would help them build up their strength once more.
It was in 1978 that Vietnam started to build up their strength for the invasion of Cambodia. “Preparations were also afoot in the diplonatic arena, resulting in a com-plete change of tune On ASEAN and a frantic bid for 'normalising' relations with the US. And preparations, no doubt, xvent ahead inside Kampuchea itself”.
The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was a bloody time in modern history and it is hoped that all will learn from it.
Mohan, Jitendra (1981) Why Vietnam Invaded Kampuchea, Economic and Political Weekly, Economic and Political Weekly.


Cambodia, Historic, History, History Of Avon, History Of Rome, History Of United States, Invade, Invasion, Vietnam

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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