Why did President Nixon sent US forces to Cambodia in 1970?

1 Answer
Aug 28, 2016

To destroy communist supply routes from the north.


Nixon's invasion of Cambodia was part of a wider strategy. It was certainly aimed at destroying the Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Cambodia, which was also subjected to secret and illegal American bombing.

He also supported the CIA backed coup in Cambodia when Prince Sihanouk was overthrown by the Cambodian army led by Lon Nol.

Nixon hoped that such actions would consolidate American backed governments throughout what was French Indo-China and defeat the communists.

This would allow for Vietnamization whereby the Americans could withdraw leaving governments who were non-communist and supportive of the West.

The policy in Cambodia had disastrous consequences. The carpet bombing, based on inaccurate information, broke international law and led to the deaths of over 500,000 Cambodians.

Along with the invasion it broke the delicate balance in the country created a bitter civil war and led to the coming to power of the Cambodian communists the Khmer Rouge in 1975. They subsequently massacred about one third of the entire population.