Cambodia in French Indochina, 1900–1945
The years between 1900 and World War II were momentous ones for Cambodia. In less than half a century, slavery was abolished, the power of the monarchy all but eradicated, and independence declared. Reforms implemented in the 1920s and 1930s gave more Cambodians than ever before access to education and health services. Yet these same policies allowed Cambodians to compare their lot with those of their Vietnamese neighbours, and ultimately to learn of alternatives to imperialism. The Japanese interregnum in 1945 provided a space in which these dissatisfactions could be aired. The fleeting period of self-rule between March and September 1945 forever changed the way that Cambodia engaged with the west—and, soon, the communist bloc.