Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ngo Vinh Long

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth McKillen

Third Committee Member

Michael Lang


This thesis is an examination of the effects of U.S. foreign policy upon the lives of ordinary Cambodians from 1945-1993. It concludes that U.S. policies in Southeast Asia systematically destabilized Cambodia both politically and economically, contributed to the development and victory of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in 1975, and helped to delay Cambodia's recovery from the Khmer Rouge genocide until 1993. This study also examines the factors that influenced U.S. foreign policy towards Cambodia and finds that local Cambodian issues were rarely taken into account by U.S. policymakers and that U.S. policy toward Cambodia during this period was instead largely determined by American Cold War strategy. This thesis uses secondary sources extensively. As such, it represents a guide to the already existing scholarship on Cambodia, and pulls facts and arguments from myriad secondary resources in an attempt to produce a more coherent narrative of the effects of U.S. foreign policy in Cambodia than currently exists. It is therefore most useful as an argument to be expanded upon with further primary research, as well as a guideline for such research.