Nonaligned, Third World, and Other Ground Armies: A Combat Assessment

By Colonel Reuven Gal; Richard A. Gabriel | Go to book overview

Thailand

Daniel F. O'Brien

The Royal Army of Thailand has continuously exercised political control over the leadership of Thailand during the past four decades. This military participation, together with skillful diplomacy, has contributed to the country's continued independence. In 1932, the royal government was overthrown by a combination of civilian politicians and military leaders who cooperated in the adoption of a Constitution limiting the power of the king and establishing a parliamentary form of government. Pridi Phanomyong, a French doctor of law, became the leader of the civilian component of this new political leadership. The military faction was represented by Colonel Phraya Phahom and Phibun Songgram who exercised collective political control with Pridi through the newly elected cabinet. Phibun Songgram became minister of defense in 1934 and proceeded to build the Thai Army into a powerful political instrument. He launched a campaign to build up a strong military organization which would prevent foreign interference in Thailand domestic affairs.

The king's prestige continued to fall after the unsuccessful October 1933 rebellion by his cousin, Prince Boworadet. He abdicated in March 1935, and power was eventually vested in Phibun who became prime minister in December 1938 and Pridi who was named minister of finance. 1

In late December 1941, Thailand signed a treaty of alliance with Japan by which Thailand obtained some border territories in Laos and Cambodia and Japan was returned the four southern states of Thailand. 2 After Thailand signed the treaty, it also declared war on Great Britain and the United States. Pridi left the cabinet to become regent immediately after the Japanese occupation of Thailand. During the war, Pridi became the focal point of the anti-Japanese underground guerrilla movement which was gaining momentum in Thailand. Phibun resigned as premier in 1944, in favor of Pridi, who was more acceptable to the Allied powers which by then were defeating Japan. Pridi had also cultivated a relationship with the Office of Strategic Services during the latter phases of the war. The United States adopted a

-79-

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Nonaligned, Third World, and Other Ground Armies: A Combat Assessment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps, Figures, and Tables ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • India and Pakistan 3
  • Bibliography 26
  • China 29
  • Bibliography 53
  • Vietnam 55
  • Notes 74
  • Notes 76
  • Thailand 79
  • Notes 97
  • Bibliography 100
  • North Korea 103
  • Notes 124
  • Notes 125
  • South Korea 127
  • Bibliography 150
  • Japan 153
  • Bibliography 172
  • Australia 177
  • Note 190
  • Bibliography 190
  • Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) 191
  • Bibliography 207
  • South Africa 209
  • Notes 221
  • Notes 222
  • Cuba 225
  • Notes 241
  • Notes 243
  • Yugoslavia 247
  • Notes 259
  • Notes 261
  • Index 263
  • About the Contributors 275
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