Lon Nol




Lon Nol:

November 13, 1913 - November 17, 19885 was a Cambodian politician and soldier who served as Prime Minister of Cambodia twice, as well as serving repeatedly as Defense Minister. He led a military coup against Prince Norodom Sihanouk and became self proclaimed President of the newly-created Khmer Republic.


Early Life:

Nol was born in Prey Veng Province on November 13, 1913, to a family of mixed Chinese-Khmer. His father, Lon Him, served as a district chief in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom, after making a name for himself "pacifying" bandit groups in Prey Veng, Nol was educated in the relatively privileged surrounding of the Lycee Chasseloup-Laubat in Saigon, followed by the Cambodian Royal Academy.

Excerpted from Sosthene Fernandez Khmer Natiional Armed Forces, Norodom Sihanouk, page 11

by Lambert M. Surhone, Mariam T. Tennoe, Susan F. Henssonow (Ed.)



Political Views:

Despite his action in deposing Sihanouk, Nol was a firm believer in traditional Cambodian hierachy; after Sihanouk had been removed he prostrated himself at the Queen Mother's feet in order to ask forgiveness. He termed his ideology, a blend of chauvinist nationalism and mysticism, as Neo-Khmerism; he expressed an ambition of reuniting the ethnic Khmers of Cambodia with the Khmer Krom of the Mekong Delta and the Khmer Surin of Thailand, projecting a state of "thirty million" Khmers by the year 2020. Asking his followers to embrace the tradition of what referred to as Mon-Khmer holy warriors' (yuthesel), he also encouraged them to refer to him as their "Black Papa", a name referring to the dark skin considered to be the sign of an "authentic" Khmer.

Despite his ambition, Nol was noted to be increasingly unstable and emotional, especially after his stroke, with a tendency to break down stress. When after the Cambodian incursion of 1970, Alexander Haig told him that American ground forces would not be used to assist the Cambodian army. Nol broke down tears and emotionally claimed that Cambodia would be unable to defend itself.


Excerpts from Sosthene Fernandez Khmer National Armed Forces, Norodom Sihanouk, pages 19 and 21. by Lambert M. Surhone, Mariam T. Tennoe, Susan F. Henssonow (Ed.)

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