50 years ago on March 18 1970, Cambodia’s Prince Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown in what is widely regarded a bloodless coup by military general Lon Nol. The tragic events that befell Cambodia in the decade after would go on to shape the Kingdom for generations, with the effects still visible to this day
Arguably the single most consequential act of Cambodia’s 20th century history, the basic arc of events that followed in the decade after the 1970 overthrow have become well-known to most. But the legacy of this change in leadership is still unfolding to this day – with its full connection to Cambodia’s current political landscape seen in subtle parallels in terms of context and leadership.
French historian Henri Locard is aware that his narrative of this momentous shift in the country’s politics is contrary to the opinions of other experts, and even Wikipedia, but he asserts the events of March 18, 1970 should not be called a coup.
Locard, who has been in and out of the Kingdom since the early 1960s, and is now a professor in the history department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, has long argued that several factors disqualify Nol’s takeover from that particular status.
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