Norodom Sihanouk

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Sihanouk, Norodom

(nōrōdŭm` sĭhənŭk`), 1922–2012, king of Cambodia (1941–55, 1993–2004), b. Phnom Penh. Sihanouk was educated in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Paris and was elected king by a royal council in 1941. During World War II he was held a virtual prisoner by Japanese occupation forces. After the war he adopted (1947) a constitution that made Cambodia a limited monarchy and achieved (1949) some autonomy for his country within the French UnionFrench Union,
1946–58, political entity established by the French constitution of 1946. It comprised metropolitan France (the 90 departments of continental France and Corsica); French overseas departments, territories, settlements, and United Nations trusteeships; French
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. Following the first elections (1950), however, Sihanouk dissolved the assembly and ruled by decree. He became prime minister as well as king in 1951 and appointed a cabinet made up largely of members of the royal family. He also campaigned for complete independence, which was finally granted in 1953.

In 1955 he abdicated in favor of his father, Norodom Suramarit, but retained the premiership and control of the Popular Socialist Community party, which he had founded. As premier he took Cambodia out of the French Union. After his father's death (1960) he again became head of state, although not king. Initially neutral in foreign affairs, he broke (1965) diplomatic relations with the United States when Cambodians were killed during South Vietnamese and U.S. incursions in the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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In Mar., 1970, Sihanouk was overthrown by a rightist coup led by Lon NolLon Nol
, 1913–85, Cambodian general and political leader. He became defense minister and army chief of staff in 1955 in Norodom Sihanouk's government. He served as premier (1966–67) under Sihanouk.
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, who opposed his policy of allowing Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops to use Cambodian territory. He set up a government in exile in Beijing. When the Khmer RougeKhmer Rouge
, name given to native Cambodian Communists. Khmer Rouge soldiers, aided by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops, began a large-scale insurgency against government forces in 1970, quickly gaining control over more than two thirds of the country.
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 won control of Cambodia, Sihanouk returned (1975) as head of state but in 1976 was placed under house arrest. In 1981–82, once again in exile, he forged a coalition with the Khmer Rouge and others to oppose the Cambodian government imposed by the Vietnamese after their 1978 invasion. After a UN-sponsored peace treaty came into effect (1991), Sihanouk returned to Cambodia, now as an ally of Premier Hun SenHun Sen
, 1952–, Cambodian political leader, premier of Cambodia (1985–93, 1998–; second premier, 1993–98). A member of the Khmer Rouge from 1970, he fled to Vietnam with Heng Samrin and other Communists in 1977.
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 and an opponent of the Khmer Rouge. He became head of state (1991) and, under a new constitution, king (1993). He abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Norodom Sihamoni.


See his memoirs, My War with the CIA (1973), ed. by W. Burchett and Shadow over Angkor (2005), ed. by J. A. Jeldres; see also J. Lacouture, The Demigods (tr. 1970); M. E. Osborne, Sihanouk: Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness (1994).

Norodom Sihanouk:

see Sihanouk, NorodomSihanouk, Norodom
, 1922–2012, king of Cambodia (1941–55, 1993–2004), b. Phnom Penh. Sihanouk was educated in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Paris and was elected king by a royal council in 1941.
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Norodom Sihanouk


Born Oct. 31, 1922, in Phnom Penh. State and political figure of Cambodia; prince.

In 1941, Sihanouk became king of Cambodia. In 1955, after the Cambodian national liberation movement had brought the country to full independence, he abdicated in favor of his father and immersed himself in political activity. In the same year, he created the political organization People’s Socialist Community (Sangkum Reastr Niyum, or Sangkum). At several junctures he was chairman of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia. After his father’s death in 1960, Sihanouk was elected head of state. His policy of peace and neutrality, his friendly relations with the socialist countries, and his progressive socioeconomic measures within Cambodia added to his prestige.

On Mar. 18, 1970, while Sihanouk was abroad, Cambodian rightists, with the support of foreign imperialists, overthrew the government, and Sihanouk was forced to remain in exile. He headed the National United Front of Cambodia from May 1970 until his retirement on April 5, 1976.

K. IUREV [23–981–4; updated]

References in periodicals archive ?
UN supervised elections resulted in the country becoming a constitutional monarchy, the Kingdom of Cambodia with the long- suffering Prince Sihanouk elevated to king.
A non-communist resistance movement consisting of groups that had been fighting the Khmer Rouge after 1975--including Lon Nol-era soldiers--coalesced in 1979-80 to form the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces (KPNLAF), which pledged loyalty to former Prime Minister Son Sann, and Moulinaka (Movement pour la Liberation Nationale de Kampuchea), loyal to Prince Sihanouk. In 1979, Son Sann formed the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF) to lead a political struggle for Cambodia's independence.
As Prince Sihanouk, he was prime minister for various periods from 1955 and was elected head of state in 1960.
But under the leadership of future Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, who was severe and disciplined, the Cercle Marxiste gradually found its purpose in unseating the hated French-collusionist regime of Prince Sihanouk in Phnom Penh.
He was also invited to Peking at the very height of the Cultural Revolution to attend the death-bed of Prince Sihanouk's mother.
In "Intda's Prophecy I," for example, the animal tale is in fact a minihistory of contemporary Cambodia: the cobra in the poem is a reference to Pol Pot, the Prince of Swans to Prince Sihanouk, the black crows and buffaloes and tigers to the Khmer Rouge, the white egrets to the Viet Cong, the crayfish and gray egrets to Lon Nol and his followers, the domestic bulls to the government of current Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, et cetera.
CAMBODIA won full independence from France in 1953 but the Government, led by Prince Sihanouk, was attacked by the Marxist Khmer Rouge.
In Cambodia, the CIA organized the Khmer Serei, an anti-Sihanouk force that failed to bring down Prince Sihanouk, and only contributed to his determination to remain neutral.
Before coming to power in April 1975, the Khmer Rouge exploited the popularity of then Prince Sihanouk to rally support for their revolutionary cause.
And these were not professional artists!" When Prince Sihanouk returned to the throne in 1991, dancers, in their golden and brocaded costumes, were among the official delegations at the airport to greet him.
In Cambodia as well, the United Nations has seen both Khmer Rouge leaders and, most recently, Prince Sihanouk himself suspend cooperation with the U.N.
PRINCE SIHANOUK. Head of one of two noncommunist resistance factions, and main political spokesman for the tripartite resistance, Sihanouk is continuing his uneasy association with the Khmer Rouge, who are probably responsible for the death of at least 15 of his relatives.

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