Nazis that operated in Germany and Europe and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia have been regarded as the most brutal and despotic military dictatorships in recent times. These regimes had extremely narrow tolerance for people who did not belong to their concept of race and undertook widespread massacres of innocent citizens. The paper first examines the two regimes and then compares them and points out their similarities.
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Karl (1970) has written about how the Nazi party came to power in a post-depression Germany that faced uncertain prospects and humiliation at the hands of the allies in World War I. When Hitler came to power by-election, he seized complete power, seized businesses of Jews, and began a series of programs that were destined to kill a certain section of the population such as Jews, Black and other colored people, disabled Germans, homosexuals, Gypsies, and other people. Over two million people were sent to concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau and were killed by using poison gas chambers. The Nazi’s ideologue was that they believed in Aryan superiority and wanted to create a race of Aryans who would rule the world. The Nazis also invaded and seized a number of countries such as Poland and others and effectively started the Second World War.
David (2000) has spoken of the brutal regime of Pol Pot who headed the Khmer Rouge. This party practiced extreme communism and they practiced atrocities against their own people. The Khmer Rouge believed that intellectuals had no role in the society and whole cities with educated people were thrown into the rural areas to form communes and work on the farms. The party used starvation, execution to subdue the population and overworked and beat them to death. The party believed that intellectual people and even people who wore glasses were their enemies and hunted them out. They have killed close to 2 million Cambodians.
Certain similarities between the two regimes are both used large-scale assassination to kill people they did not want. Both used extremely brutal measures such as killing, torture, starvation against selected opponents and their ideologue was to ensure racial superiority and elimination of people they considered worthless. While the Nazis invaded Poland and other countries, the Kmer Rouge invaded Vietnam (Dove, 2007).
The differences are that the Nazis considered their ideal Aryan figure as tall, blonde, intelligent, and racially pure with no physical deformities. The Khmer Rouge on the other hand regarded the poor and illiterate farmer as the ideal citizen and wanted everyone to take up agriculture. While the Nazis specially targeted Jews and Blacks, they killed local Germans only if they were mentally retarded or homosexuals. The Khmer Rouge killed all fellow Cambodians who they regarded as literate and intelligent. They killed teachers, educationist’s doctors, and other educated people even though they were Cambodians. The Germans on the other hand invited German teachers and doctors to join the party and take part in their cause so that future generations of Aryan children could be taught their propaganda. At the height of their power, Nazis enjoyed the support of millions of Germans and were quite popular. The Khmer Rouge was hated by their own countrymen (Dove, 2007).
The Nazis could be considered as cultured and literate with immense military might and had their own society that was highly industrialized and modern. The Khmer Rouge on the other hand were a bunch of illiterate military men with no taste and refinement (Dove, 2007).
David P. Chandler. 2000. A History of Cambodia. Westview Press 2000. ISBN 0-8133-3511-6.
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Dove Tracy. 2007. The Khmer Rouge Trial and the Ghost of Nuremberg. Web.
Karl Dietrich Bracher. 1970. The German Dictatorship; The Origins, Structure, and Effects of National Socialism; New York, Praeger.