Plaek Pibulsonggram


Plaek Pibulsonggram
Plaek Pibunsongkhram
จอมพล แปลก พิบูลสงคราม
Pibunsongkhram at Hyde Park, New York, 1955.
3rd Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
December 16, 1938 – August 1, 1944
April 8, 1948 - September 16, 1957
Preceded by Phraya Phahol Pholphayuhasena (1938)
Khuang Abhaiwongse (1948)
Succeeded by Khuang Abhaiwongse (1944)
Pote Sarasin (1957)
Acting Prime Minister of Thailand
Acting Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
March 1, 1948 – September 16, 1957
Preceded by Khuang Abhaiwongse
Succeeded by Pote Sarasin
Personal details
Born July 14, 1897(1897-07-14)
Nonthaburi, Thailand
Died June 11, 1964(1964-06-11) (aged 66)
Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
Nationality Thai
Religion Buddhism

Field Marshal Plaek Pibunsongkhram (Thai: แปลก พิบูลสงคราม Thai pronunciation: [plɛ̀ːk pʰí.būːnsǒŋkʰrāːm]; July 14, 1897-June 11, 1964) , often known as Phibun Songkhram or simply Phibun in English, was Prime Minister and virtual military dictator of Thailand from 1938 to 1944 and 1948 to 1957.

Contents

Early years

He was born Plaek Khittasangkha in Nonthaburi Province to Keed Khittasangkha and his wife Thanphuying La-iad (Bhandhukravi) Pibunsonggram Sam-Ang.[1] Keed was of Chinese-Thai heritage; his father was a Cantonese-speaking Chinese immigrant.[2] His parents owned a durian orchard. He received his given name - Plaek, meaning "strange" in Thai - because of his unusual appearance as a child. Plaek Khittasangkha studied at Buddhist temple schools, then was appointed to Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. He graduated in 1914 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the artillery. Following World War I, he was sent to study artillery tactics in France. In 1928, as he rose in rank, he received the honorary title of Luang from King Prajadhipok and became Luang Pibunsongkhram. He would later adopt Pibunsongkram as his surname.

1932 Revolution

Pibunsongkhram was one of the leaders of the military branch of the People's Party that staged a coup d'état and overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. Then-Lieutenant Colonel Pibunsongkhram rose to prominence as a man-on-horseback [3].

Abdication of the king

The following year, Pibunsongkhram, along with officers allied in the same cause, successfully crushed the Boworadet Rebellion. This was a royalist revolt led by Prince Boworadet. While King Prajadhipok was never directly involved in the rebellion, it marked the beginning of a slide which ended in his 1935 abdication and replacement by King Ananda Mahidol. As the new King was still a child and studying in Switzerland, the parliament appointed Colonel Prince Anuwatjaturong, Lieutenant Commander Prince Artit Thip-apa, and Chao Phraya Yommaraj (Pun Sukhum) as his Regents.

Prime Minister of Thailand

In 1938, Pibunsongkhram replaced Phraya Phahol as Prime Minister, and consolidated his position by rewarding several members of his own army clique with influential positions in his government.

Pibulsonggram began to increase the pace of modernisation in Thailand. By manipulating the mass media, Pibulsonggram supported fascism and nationalism. Together with Luang Wichitwathakan, the Minister of Propaganda, he built a leadership cult in 1938 and thereafter. Photographs of Pibulsonggram were to be found everywhere, and those of the abdicated King Prajadhipok were banned. His quotes appeared in newspapers, were plastered on billboards and were repeated over the radio.[citation needed]

Thai poster from the Marshal Plaek era, noting prohibited "uncivilised" dress on the left, and proper western dress on the right.

"Aimed to uplift the national spirit and moral code of the nation and instilling progressive tendencies and a newness into Thai life", a series of Cultural Mandates were issued by the government. These mandates encouraged that all Thais were to salute the flag in public places, know the new national anthem, and use the Thai language, not regional dialects. People were encouraged to adopt western attire, as opposed to the traditional dress of Thai men and women. Similarly, people were encouraged to eat with a fork and spoon, rather than their traditional hands. In Pibulsonggram's perspective, these policies were necessary for Thailand to change the minds of foreigners that Thailand was an undeveloped and barbaric country. In the interest in progressivism, Thailand needed to be recognised by foreigners as a civilized and modernized country.

In 1939, Pibulsonggram changed the country's name from Siam to Thailand. In 1941, in the midst of World War II, he decreed January 1 the official start of the new year instead of the traditional April 13. On 5 August 1941, Thailand joined a group of nations that recognized the puppet state of Manchukuo.

His administration also encouraged economic nationalism, in which the Thai people were to purchase as many Thai products as possible and therefore destroy the Chinese proportion in markets. Anti-Chinese policies were imposed. In a speech in 1938, Luang Wichitwathakan compared the Chinese in Siam to the Jews in Germany.

While ardently pro-Japanese at the beginning, Pibulsonggram and his administration soon considerably, but cordially, distanced itself from Japan following the aftermath of the French-Thai War, which lasted from October 1940 to May 1941, when Japanese territorial ambitions were skilfully realized during the peace talks. The Japanese gained the right to occupy French Indo-China. Being threatened by the war, Pibulsonggram stated that the Japanese would be the transgressors. The administration also realized that Thailand would fend for itself when the Japanese invasion came, considering the deteriorating relationships with the major Western powers in the area.

Alliance with Japan

When the Japanese invaded Thailand on December 8, 1941, (because of the international date line this occurred an hour and a half before Pearl Harbor),[4] hesitant Pibulsonggram was reluctantly forced to order a general ceasefire after just one day of resistance and allow the Japanese armies to use the country as a base for their invasions of Burma and Malaya.[5] Hesitancy, however, gave way to enthusiasm when the Japanese rolled their way through Malaya in a "Bicycle Blitzkrieg" with surprisingly little resistance.[6][7] On December 12, Pibulsongkram signed a military alliance with Japan. The following month, on January 25, 1942, Pibulsongkram declared war on Britain and the United States. South Africa and New Zealand declared war on Thailand on the same day. Australia followed soon after.[8] All who opposed the alliance were sacked from his government. Pridi Phanomyong was appointed acting Regent for the absent King Ananda Mahidol, while Direk Jayanama, the prominent Foreign Minister who had advocated continued resistance against the Japanese, was later sent to Tokyo as the Thai ambassador to Japan.

As Japan neared defeat and the underground Seri Thai anti-Japanese resistance steadily grew in strength, the pro-Seri Thai National Assembly forced out Pibulsonggram. His six-year reign as the military commander-in-chief was at an end. His resignation was partly forced by two grandiose plans. One was to relocate the capital from Bangkok to a remote site in the jungle near Phetchabun in northern Thailand. The other was to build a "Buddhist city" near Saraburi. Announced during a time of economic difficulty, these plans turned many government officers against him.[9] Pibulsonggram went to stay at the army headquarters in Lopburi.

Khuang Abhaiwongse replaced him as Prime Minister, ostensibly to continue relations with the Japanese, but in reality secretly assisting the Seri Thai underground.

At the war's end, Pibulsonggram was put on trial at Allied insistence on charges of having committed war crimes, mainly that of collaborating with the Axis powers. However, he was acquitted amidst intense public pressure. Public opinion was favourable to Pibulsonggram as he was thought to have done his best to protect Thai interests.[10]

Coup, second premiership, and more coups

In November 1947, Army units under the control of Pibulsonggram carried out a coup which forced then Prime Minister Thawal Thamrong Navaswadhi to resign. Khuang was again installed as Prime Minister as the military coup risked international disapproval. Pridi Phanomyong was persecuted. He was, however, aided by British and American intelligence officers, and thus managed to escape the country. On April 8, 1948, the military forced Khuang out of office and Pibulsonggram assumed his second premiership.

On October 1, 1948, the unsuccessful Army General Staff Plot was launched to topple the government of Pibulsonggram. As a result of this plot, more than fifty Army and Reservist and several prominent supporters of Pridi Phanomyong were arrested.

A Palace Rebellion in 1949 was another failed coup attempt. The aims of its plotters were to overthrow the government of Pibulsonggram and to restore his main civilian rival Pridi Phanomyong to the Thai political scene.

Instead of the Fascism that characterized his first premiership, Pibulsonggram and his regime promoted a façade of Democracy. American aid was received in large quantities following Thailand's entry into the Korean War as part of the United Nations' multi-national allied force in the Cold War against the communists.

Pibulsonggram's anti-Chinese campaign was resumed, with the government restricting Chinese immigration and undertaking various measures to restrict economic domination of the Thai market by those of Chinese descent. Chinese schools and associations were once again shut down. Despite open pro-western and anti-Chinese policies, in the late 1950s Pibulsonggram arranged to send to China two of the children of Sang Phathanothai, his closest advisor, with the intention of establishing a backdoor channel for dialogue between China and Thailand. The girl, aged eight, and her brother, aged twelve, were sent to be brought up under the assistants of Premier Zhou Enlai as his wards; the girl, Sirin Phathanothai later wrote The Dragon's Pearl an autobiography telling her experiences growing up in the 1950s and 1960s among the leaders of China.

On June 29, 1951, Pibulsonggram was attending a ceremony aboard the USS Manhattan when he was taken hostage by a group of naval officers, who then quickly confined him on board the warship Sri Ayutthaya. Negotiations between the government and the coup organizers swiftly broke down, leading to violent street fighting in Bangkok between the Navy and the Army, which was supported by the Air Force. Pibulsonggram was able to swim back ashore when the Sri Ayutthaya was bombed by the Air Force. With their hostage gone, the sailors and marines were forced to lay down their arms.

On November 29, 1951, the "Silent Coup," was staged by the Army-led Coup Group and it consolidated the military's hold on the country. It reinstated the Constitution of 1932, which effectively eliminated the Senate, established a unicameral legislature composed equally of elected and government-appointed members, and allowed serving military officers to supplement their commands with important ministerial portfolios.

On November 13, 1956, Thailand's Criminal Code BE 2499 was signed into law by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the present king of Thailand. Field Marshal Pibulsonggram countersigned the Code.

Sarit seizes power

At the end of his second term, suspicions of fraudulent practices during an election emerged. The American-equipped Thai army played a major role in the coup d'état of 1957, and the United States was "deeply involved"[11] The resulting unrest led to a second coup in October 1958 by Field Marshal Sarit Dhanaraj, who had earlier sworn to be Pibul's most loyal subordinate. Sarit was supported by many royalists who wanted to regain their foothold in Thailand's royalty. Pibulsonggram was then forced into exile in Japan. He lived there until his death in 1964.

Royal decorations

Plaek Pibulsonggram received the following royal decorations in the Honours System of Thailand:[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ (Thai) ผู้นำทางการเมืองไทยกับสงครามโลกครั้งที่ 2: จอมพล ป.พิบูลสงคราม และ ปรีดี พนมยงค์
  2. ^ Benjamin et al., 1990, p. 64, ...Phibun was a Thai by nature. Although it was said that his grandfather was a Cantonese, he had no features of an overseas Chinese.
  3. ^ "man on horseback". The Free Dictionary. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/man+on+horseback. Retrieved June 30, 2011. "n. A man, usually a military leader, whose popular influence and power may afford him the position of dictator, as in a time of political crisis" 
  4. ^ Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War, Vol 3, The Grand Alliance, p.548 Cassell & Co. Ltd, 1950
  5. ^ A Slice of Thai History: The Japanese invasion of Thailand, 8 December 1941 (part one)
  6. ^ Ford, Daniel (June). "Colonel Tsuji of Malaya (part 2)". The Warbirds forum. http://www.warbirdforum.com/tsuji2.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2011. "Though outnumbered two-to-one, the Japanese never stopped to consolidate their gains, to rest or regroup or resupply; they came down the main roads on bicycles" 
  7. ^ "The Swift Japanese Assault". National Archives of Singapore.. 2002. http://www.s1942.org.sg/s1942/bukit_chandu/directory_bicycles.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2011. "Even the long legged Englishmen could not escape our troops on bicycles." 
  8. ^ A Slice of Thai History: The Japanese invasion of Thailand, 8 December 1941 (part three)
  9. ^ Roeder, Eric (Fall 1999). "The Origin and Significance of the Emerald Buddha". Southeast Asian Studies Vol. 3. Southeast Asian Studies Student Association. http://www.hawaii.edu/cseas/pubs/explore/eric.html. Retrieved June 30, 2011. "Judith A. Stowe, Siam becomes Thailand (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991), pp. 228-283." 
  10. ^ Aldrich, Richard J. The Key to the South: Britain, the United States, and Thailand during the Approach of the Pacific War, 1929-1942. Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-588612-7
  11. ^ Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Mar., 1962), pp. 93-110
  12. ^ Biography of Field Marshal P., Royal Thai Army website. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.

Bibliography

  • Batson, Benjamin Arthur; Shimuzu, Hajime; Asada, Shunsuke; The Tragedy of Wanit: A Japanese account of wartime Thai politics, Issue 1 of Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Dept. of History, National University of Singapore, 1990, ISBN 9971622467

External links

  • Duncan Stearn:A Slice of Thai History: The Japanese invasion of Thailand, 8 December 1941 [1] (part one) [2] (part two) [3] (part three)
Preceded by
Phraya Phahol Pholphayuhasena
Prime Minister of Thailand
1938–1944
Succeeded by
Khuang Abhaiwongse
Preceded by
Khuang Abhaiwongse
Prime Minister of Thailand
1948–1957
Succeeded by
Pote Sarasin



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  • Plaek Pibulsonggram — (thaï : พิบูลสงคราม de แปลกพิบูลสงคราม ou ป. พิบูลสงคราม), de son nom de naissance Plaek Khittasangkha, né le 14 juillet 1897, mort le 11 juin 1964, était un militaire et homme politique thaïlandais. Il était également désigné sous les noms… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Plaek Pibulsonggram — Phibul1955 in New York Feldmarschall Plaek Phibun Songkhram (Thai: จอมพล แปลก พิบูลสงคราม gesprochen [ʤɔːmpʰon plæ̀k pʰíbuːn sǒŋkʰraːm], weitere Schreibweisen: Phibunsongkram, Pibul Songgram) (* 14. Juli 1887 in Nonthaburi; † 11. Juni 1964 in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Plaek Pibulsonggram — Phibun en 1955, en Nueva York Plaek Pibulsonggram (en tailandés : แปลก พิบูล สงคราม) ,(14 de julio de 1897 11 de junio de 1964, a menudo conocido como Phibun Songkhram o simplemente Phibun, fue primer ministro virtual y dictador de Tailandia …   Wikipedia Español

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