The years 1975 through 1979 were not good years to be a Cambodian. While violence preceded and extended beyond the '70s as forces vied against each other for regional power, the reign of the Khmer Rouge Regime was unarguably the worst.
The Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot as prime minister followed an agrarian communist ideology. When they took power, the first thing they did was march everyone out of all urban centers, forcing those who survived to till the land. New villages were poorly equipped and often lacked agricultural tools, food and medical care.
It's impossible to determine how many people suffered and died during the Khmer Rouge regime. Many hundreds of thousands were killed outright, while hundreds of thousands more dropped from starvation, disease and forced labor. According to the U.S. Department of State, estimates range from 1.7 to 3 million Cambodian people who died during that time period [source: U.S. Department of State].