How does Cambodia become independent in November 1953? What lessons does a young Pol Pot learn in the jungle with the Viet Minh? Time Period Covered January – December 1953 This episode explains the actions of King Sihanouk that one French General declared was ‘that of a madman, but a madman of genius’. Almost out of the blue the Cambodian king will claim independence for his country and end almost a century of French colonial rule. Meanwhile, the First Indochina War will bring its ruin to the countryside and Saloth Sar will join the communist struggle against the French in the jungles.