On this day in 1976, the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot renamed Cambodia as Kampuchea. The year before, as the Khmer Rouge guerrillas battled to win control of Cambodia, the ruling Sangkum Party published a booklet warning the masses what communist rule would mean for the nation.
"There would be no delicious food to eat," predicted Sangkum. "If you ate more than allowed, the government would learn about it from your children in secret and you would be taken out and shot." Perhaps these warnings struck many Cambodians as far-fetched rhetoric, but the future would show these predictions were surprisingly accurate. One of the first achievements that Pol Pot's regime proclaimed was that it had successfully achieved communal eating through most of the country.
In four years of Pol Pot's rule, roughly 1.7 million Cambodians died from torture, starvation or disease.