Born in 1925, Saloth Sar was once the name of a wealthy land owner’s second son. Along with his 8 brothers and sisters he led a happy life in a village known as Prek Sbau, part of the Kampong Thom province. Even then Pol Pot portrayed the qualities that would serve him well in the years to come. A gentle demeanor, masking a calm yet calculating mind were some of the qualities Pol Pot withheld. Pol Pot’s brother, Saloth Neap, recounted “There was no one in the family who knew his thought, he study hard but as for his intention we just didn’t know.
At school, Pol Pot learnt about a Cambodia that boasted a proud and prosperous past, under the authority of a king that was revered as a god. He learnt how foreign influence had crumbled this ancient civilization over hundreds of years. As many other well connected Cambodians, Pol Pot also spent a year learning about the roots and history of Buddhism, the religion that was the bedrock of the Cambodian society. This proved to be another decisive factor towards Pol Pot’s regime as the foundation of his education was taught to him in a French school, by catholic nuns. Scars of this cultural tension would later prove to contribute to Pol Pot’s Ideals. Pol Pot furthered his education in one of the country’s top high schools, at that time. Along with some of the country’s greatest young minds Pol Pot developed an opposition towards the French and the monarchy. In 1949 Pol Pot, along with other young idealists, became the first Cambodians to go study overseas. At the age of 24 Pol Pot arrived in Paris, the time when international communism was at its peak and the city was abuzz with talks of revolution.