Mom Rajawongse Seni Pramoj was three times the prime minister of Thailand, a politician in the Democrat Party, lawyer and professor. A descendant of the Thai royal family, he was the great-grandson of King Rama II, his final two terms as PM sandwiched the only term of Kukrit Pramoj. Born a son of Prince Khamrob and mother Daeng, he was educated at Trent College in Derbyshire before obtaining a BA second class honours degree in jurisprudence from Worcester College, Oxford, he continued his studies at Gray's Inn, receiving first honours. After returning to Thailand he studied Thai Law, following six months as a trainee at the Supreme Court, he started to work at the Justice Civil Court, he was transferred to the Foreign Ministry and in 1940 was sent to the United States as Thai ambassador. Japanese forces invaded Thailand early on the morning of 8 December 1941, shortly after the attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; the Prime Minister, Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, ordered a ceasefire at noon, entering into an armistice that allowed the Japanese to use Thai military installations in their invasion of Malaya and Burma.
On 21 December, a formal military alliance with Japan was concluded. The Phibun government declared war on Great Britain and the United States on 25 January 1942. Although the Thai ambassador in London delivered Thailand's declaration of war to the British administration, Seni refused to do so. Instead, he considered organising a resistance movement in the United States. Following a late morning interview with Secretary Cordell Hull on 8 December, Seni returned to his legation to confer with his staff; the ambassador and his staff unanimously decided to cast their lot with the Allies. Late the same afternoon, he returned to the State Department to offer their services to the Allied cause. Blaming pro-Japanese elements for the early Thai surrender, he spoke to Hull of unfreezing Thai assets in the United States for further prosecution of the war and suggested that the Thais in the country might "organise and preserve a government of true patriotic, liberty-loving Thais while his government is in the clutches of Japan."
The State Department decided to act. This enabled him to tap into the frozen Thai assets; when asked to draw up a list of "reliable and influential Thai nationals known to be patriotic and anti-Japanese" by the State Department, Seni named Regent Pridi Phanomyong, politicians Khuang Aphaiwong and Wilat Osathanon, diplomats Phraya Sisena and Direk Jayanama as "reliables". Seni advanced plans to mobilise Thai volunteers in support of the Allies. Beyond the legation staffers and their families, most other Thai residents were students enrolled at colleges and universities, including institutions such as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell. Many chose refusing repatriation. Most, like Seni, saw their nation as a victim of Japanese aggression. Seni became prime minister on 17 the day he returned to Bangkok. However, he found his position as the head of a cabinet packed with Pridi's loyalists quite uncomfortable. Northeastern populist politicians like Tiang Sirikhanth and Bangkok newcomers like Sanguan Tularaksa were not people the aristocratic Seni preferred to associate with.
They, in turn, viewed Seni as an elitist, out of touch with Thailand's political realities. Pridi continued to wield power behind the scenes; the regent's looming presence and overarching authority rankled the proud, thin-skinned Seni, fuelling a personal animosity that would poison Thailand’s postwar politics. The Pramoj brothers subsequently joined the newly formed Democrat Party in 1946, for the most part made up of royalists and conservative reactionaries. Seni would spend the next two years vigorously carrying out a personal campaign against Pridi. Earlier in the year he had called for an investigation of the use of the US$500,000 in Thai assets unfrozen by the US government that he had turned over to the OSS. Insinuating the money had been transferred to the senior statesman, he lamented that "most of the money had not been spent for what it was intended." An independent investigatory panel, found no mistake, concluding that the Free Thai had "performed remarkably well" and that the Thai people "owe a great deal to them."
The outcome left the ex-prime minister looking foolish. Seni soon got his revenge, however. In the immediate aftermath of King Ananda Mahidol's death and his party launched relentless attacks against the government and accused Pridi of being responsible for the king's assassination, the implausibility of the charge notwithstanding. In November 1947 the Democrat Party cooperated with disgruntled army officers to oust the government of Thawan Thamrongnawasawat; as part of the deal, Seni was awarded a cabinet portfolio in Khuang's coup-installed cabinet. On Tuesday, 14 June 1949, in a lecture delivered before the Siam Society, Seni pleaded, " happen to belong to that peculiar species known as politicians who are in the incorrigible habit of attempting to accomplish the impossible." Word had gotten around that his brother and he had been "getting up a little English translation of some of King Mongkut's public papers and private correspondence...without putting it to a final execution." He chooses to speak of the king in his capacity as a legislator, "because legislation is the field I am more familiar with than any other."
Seni provides, "ample evidence to show that the King was the first an
The Franco-Siamese War of 1893 was a conflict between the French Third Republic and the Kingdom of Siam. Auguste Pavie, French vice consul in Luang Prabang in 1886, was the chief agent in furthering French interests in Laos, his intrigues, which took advantage of Siamese weakness in the region and periodic invasions by Vietnamese rebels from Tonkin, increased tensions between Bangkok and Paris. Following the conflict, the Siamese agreed to cede Laos to France, an act that led to the significant expansion of French Indochina; this conflict succeeded the Haw wars, in which the Siamese attempted to pacify northern Siam and Tonkin. The conflict started when French Indochina's Governor-General Jean de Lanessan sent Auguste Pavie as consul to Bangkok to bring Laos under French rule; the government in Bangkok, mistakenly believing that they would be supported by the British government, refused to concede territory east of the Mekong and instead reinforced their military and administrative presence.
Events were brought to a head by two separate incidents when Siamese governors in Khammuan and Nong Khai expelled three French merchants from the middle Mekong in September 1892, two of them and Esquilot, on suspicion of opium smuggling. Shortly afterwards, the French consul in Luang Prabang, M. Massie and discouraged, committed suicide on his way back to Saigon. Back in France, these incidents were used by the colonial lobby to stir up nationalistic anti-Siamese sentiment, as a pretext for intervention; the death of Massie left Auguste Pavie as the new French Consul. In March 1893 Pavie demanded that the Siamese evacuate all military posts on the east side of the Mekong River south of Khammuan, claiming that the land belonged to Vietnam. To back up these demands, the French sent the gunboat Lutin to Bangkok, where it was moored on the Chao Phraya next to the French legation; when Siam rejected the French demands, de Lanessan sent three military columns into the disputed region to assert French control in April 1893.
Eight small Siamese garrisons west of the Mekong withdrew upon the arrival of the central column, but the advance of the other columns met with resistance. In the north, the French came under siege on the island of Khoung, with the capture of an officer, Thoreaux. In the south the occupation proceeded smoothly until an ambush by the Siamese on the village of Keng Kert resulted in the killing of French police inspector Grosgurin. Inspector Grosgurin was a French commander of a Vietnamese militia in Laos. Like Auguste Pavie, he had been engaged in several exploratory expeditions in the region, he was a member of one of the French armed columns dispatched in April 1893 by Lassenan to cross the Annamite Range into the Lao area of Khammuan and to occupy the disputed territory. The column was at first successful in evicting the Siamese commissioner at Khammuan by 25 May. Shortly afterwards on 5 June, the Siamese commissioner organized a surprise ambush on the village of Kien Ket, where Grosgurin, confined to his sickbed, had encamped with his militia.
The commissioner had been instructed by Siamese government representatives to "compel their retirement, by fighting, if necessary, to the utmost of their strength". The ambush resulted in the killing of Grosgurin and 17 Vietnamese; the incident and the death of Grosgurin became known as the "Affair of Kham Muon" and was used as a pretext for strong French intervention. As a result, relations between Bangkok and the West soured, with France demanding reparations; the British sent three navy ships to the mouth of the Chao Phraya, in case evacuation of British citizens became necessary. In turn the French went one step further in July 1893 by ordering two of their ships, the sloop Inconstant and the gunboat Comète, to sail up the Chao Phraya towards Bangkok, without the permission of the Siamese, they came under fire from the fort at Paknam on 13 July 1893. The French forced their way to Bangkok. With guns trained on the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the French delivered an ultimatum to the Siamese on 20 July to hand over the territory east of the Mekong and withdraw their garrisons there, to pay an indemnity of three million francs in reparation for the fighting at Paknam, to punish those responsible for the killings in the disputed territory.
When Siam did not comply unconditionally to the ultimatum, the French blockaded the Siamese coast. In the end the Siamese submitted to the French conditions after finding no support from the British. In addition, the French demanded as guarantees the temporary occupation of Chantaburi and the demilitarisation of Battambang, Siem Reap and a 25 kilometre-wide zone on the west bank of the Mekong; the conflict led to the signature of the Franco-Siamese Treaty, on 3 October 1893. Following the killing of Grosgurin, the Commissioner of the Kammuon District, Phra Yot, was acknowledged by his government to have been the responsible official, although was he acquitted of wrongdoing in a trial in March 1894. A "Franco-Siamese Mixed Court" was subsequently convened in June 1894; the court determined that Phra Yot had brought extra forces to surround the house in Kien Ket occupied by the ill Grosgurin, outnumbering his small Vietnamese militia. In a joint agreement between the Siamese and the French, Phra Yot was condemned to 20 years of penal servitude.
The solicitor for the defense was the Ceylonese lawyer William Alfred Tilleke, appointed Attorney General of Siam and granted a peerage by the king. The Royal Thai Army fort Phra Yot Muang Khwan in Nakhon Phanom Pro
The Burma Campaign was a series of battles fought in the British colony of Burma, South-East Asian theatre of World War II involving the forces of the British Empire and China, with support from the United States, against the invading forces of Imperial Japan and the Indian National Army. British Empire forces peaked at around 1,000,000 land and air forces, were drawn from British India, with British Army forces, 100,000 East and West African colonial troops, smaller numbers of land and air forces from several other Dominions and Colonies; the Burma Independence Army was trained by the Japanese and spearheaded the initial attacks against British Empire forces. The campaign had a number of notable features; the geographical characteristics of the region meant that weather and terrain had a major effect on operations. The lack of transport infrastructure placed an emphasis on military engineering and air transport to move and supply troops, evacuate wounded; the campaign was politically complex, with the British, the United States and the Chinese all having different strategic priorities.
It was the only land campaign by the Western Allies in the Pacific Theatre which proceeded continuously from the start of hostilities to the end of the war. This was due to its geographical location. By extending from Southeast Asia to India, its area included some lands which the British lost at the outset of the war, but included areas of India wherein the Japanese advance was stopped; the climate of the region is dominated by the seasonal monsoon rains, which allowed effective campaigning for only just over half of each year. This, together with other factors such as famine and disorder in British India and the priority given by the Allies to the defeat of Nazi Germany, prolonged the campaign and divided it into four phases: the Japanese invasion, which led to the expulsion of British and Chinese forces in 1942. Japanese objectives in Burma were limited to the capture of Rangoon, the capital and principal seaport; this would close the overland supply line to China and provide a strategic bulwark to defend Japanese gains in British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.
The Japanese Fifteenth Army under Lieutenant General Shōjirō Iida consisting of only two infantry divisions, moved into northern Thailand, launched an attack over jungle-clad mountain ranges into the southern Burmese province of Tenasserim in January 1942. The Japanese attacked over the Kawkareik Pass and captured the port of Moulmein at the mouth of the Salween River after overcoming stiff resistance, they advanced northwards, outflanking successive British defensive positions. Troops of the 17th Indian Infantry Division tried to retreat over the Sittaung River, but Japanese parties reached the vital bridge before they did. On 22 February, the bridge was demolished to prevent its capture, a decision that has since been contentious; the loss of two brigades of 17th Indian Division meant. General Archibald Wavell, the commander-in-chief of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command ordered Rangoon to be held as he was expecting substantial reinforcements from the Middle East. Although some units arrived, counterattacks failed and the new commander of Burma Army, ordered the city to be evacuated on 7 March after its port and oil refinery had been destroyed.
The remnants of Burma Army broke out to the north. On the eastern part of the front, in the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road, the Chinese 200th Division held up the Japanese for a time around Toungoo, but after its fall the road was open for motorised troops of the Japanese 56th Division to shatter the Chinese Sixth Army to the east in the Karenni States and advance northward through the Shan States to capture Lashio, outflanking the Allied defensive lines and cutting off the Chinese armies from Yunnan. With the effective collapse of the entire defensive line, there was little choice left other than an overland retreat to India or to Yunnan. After the fall of Rangoon in March 1942, the Allies attempted to make a stand in the north of the country, having been reinforced by a Chinese Expeditionary Force; the Japanese had been reinforced by two divisions made available by the capture of Singapore and defeated both the newly organised Burma Corps and the Chinese force. The Allies were faced with growing numbers of Burmese insurgents and the civil administration broke down in the areas they still held.
With their forces cut off from all sources of supply, the Allied commanders decided to evacuate their forces from Burma. On 16 April, in Burma, 7,000 British soldiers were encircled by the Japanese 33rd Division during the Battle of Yenangyaung and rescued by the Chinese 38th Division; the retreat was conducted in difficult circumstances. Starving refugees, disorganised stragglers, the sick and wounded clogged the primitive roads and tracks leading to India. Burma Corps managed to make it most of the way to Imphal, in Manipur in India, just before the monsoon broke in May 1942, having lost most of their equipment and transport. There, they found themselves living out in the open under torrential rains in extr
Sanguan Tularaksa was a Thai politician and a leading member of the Seri Thai. Sanguan was of Teochew origins. A longtime Pridi Banomyong acolyte and member of the 1932 coup group, Sanguan was a member of the National Assembly and Chairman of the Bureau of Tobacco Monopoly in the Ministry of Finance. In 1943 he was made the leader of a delegation sent by the Free Thai leader to establish contacts with the Allies at Chungking, his efforts proved crucial to the securing of British and American support for the underground movement, which would soon receive arms and equipment for effective guerrilla operations. In 1946 he was appointed ambassador to the Republic of China, he refused to return to Thailand following the coup d'état of 1947, declaring that the new constitution was illegitimate. Sanguan spent the next decade living in China, he was jailed by the government of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat. He was released in 1965
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War. The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German and Italian aggression. At the start of the war on 1 September 1939, the Allies consisted of France and the United Kingdom, as well as their dependent states, such as British India. Within days they were joined by the independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. After the start of the German invasion of North Europe until the Balkan Campaign, the Netherlands, Belgium and Yugoslavia joined the Allies. After first having cooperated with Germany in invading Poland whilst remaining neutral in the Allied-Axis conflict, the Soviet Union perforce joined the Allies in June 1941 after being invaded by Germany; the United States provided war materiel and money all along, joined in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
China had been in a prolonged war with Japan since the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, but joined the Allies in 1941. The alliance was formalised by the Declaration by United Nations, from 1 January 1942. However, the name United Nations was used to describe the Allies during the war; the leaders of the "Big Three"—the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States—controlled Allied strategy. The Big Three together with China were referred as a "trusteeship of the powerful" were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in the Declaration by United Nations and as the "Four Policemen" of the United Nations. After the war ended, the Allied nations became the basis of the modern United Nations. Members The origins of the Allied powers stem from the Allies of World War I and cooperation of the victorious powers at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. Germany resented signing Treaty of Versailles; the new Weimar Republic's legitimacy became shaken. However, the 1920s were peaceful. With the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, political unrest in Europe soared including the rise in support of revanchist nationalists in Germany who blamed the severity of the economic crisis on the Treaty of Versailles.
By the early 1930s, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler became the dominant revanchist movement in Germany and Hitler and the Nazis gained power in 1933. The Nazi regime demanded the immediate cancellation of the Treaty of Versailles and made claims to German-populated Austria, German-populated territories of Czechoslovakia; the likelihood of war was high, the question was whether it could be avoided through strategies such as appeasement. In Asia, when Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, the League of Nations condemned it for aggression against China. Japan responded by leaving the League of Nations in March 1933. After four quiet years, the Sino-Japanese War erupted in 1937 with Japanese forces invading China; the League of Nations initiated sanctions on Japan. The United States, in particular, was sought to support China. In March 1939, Germany took over Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich Agreement signed six months before, demonstrating that the appeasement policy was a failure. Britain and France decided that Hitler had no intention to uphold diplomatic agreements and responded by preparing for war.
On 31 March 1939, Britain formed the Anglo-Polish military alliance in an effort to avert a German attack on the country. The French had a long-standing alliance with Poland since 1921; the Soviet Union sought an alliance with the western powers, but Hitler ended the risk of a war with Stalin by signing the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact in August 1939. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of Eastern Europe between the two powers and assured adequate oil supplies for the German war machine. On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On 17 September 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. A Polish government-in-exile was set up and it continued to be one of the Allies, a model followed by other occupied countries. After a quiet winter, Germany in April 1940 invaded and defeated Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Britain and its Empire stood alone against Mussolini. In June 1941, Hitler broke the non-aggression agreement with Stalin and Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
In December, Japan attacked the Britain. The main lines of World War II had formed. During December 1941, U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised the name "United Nations" for the Allies and proposed it to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he referred to the Big Three and China as a "trusteeship of the powerful", later the "Four Policemen". The Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942 was the basis of the modern United Nations. At the Potsdam Conference of July–August 1945, Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman, proposed that the foreign ministers of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States "should draft the peace treaties and boundary settlements of Europe", which led to the creation of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the "Big Five", soon thereafter the establishment of those states as the permanent members of the UNSC. Great Britain and other members of the British Commonwealth, most known as the Dominions, declared war on Germany separately from 3 September 1939 with the UK first, all within one week of each other.
British West Africa and the British colonies in E
The Shan States were a collection of minor Shan kingdoms called mueang whose rulers bore the title saopha in British Burma. They were analogous to the princely states of British India; the term "Shan States" was first used during the British rule in Burma as a geopolitical designation for certain areas of Burma. In some cases, the Siamese Shan States was used to refer to Lan Na and Chinese Shan States to the Shan regions in southern Yunnan such as Xishuangbanna. Historical mention of the Shan states inside the present-day boundaries of Burma began during the period of the Pagan Dynasty; these were part of the larger Tai migration that founded the Ahom Kingdom in 1229 and the Sukhothai Kingdom in 1253. Shan political power increased after the Mongols overran Pagan in 1287 and the Shans came to dominate many of the northern to eastern areas of Burma—from northwestern Sagaing Division to the present-day Shan Hills; the newly founded Shan States were multi-ethnic states that included a substantial number of other ethnic minorities such as the Chin, Lisu, Pa-O, Kachin, Wa, Burmans.
The Shan States were a dominant force in the politics of Upper Burma throughout the 13th to 16th centuries. The strongest Shan States, Mogaung and Hsenwi raided Upper Burma. Mogaung ended the kingdoms of Sagaing and Pinya in 1364; the Mohnyin-led Confederation of Shan States captured the Ava Kingdom in 1527 and ruled Upper Burma until 1555. The Shan States were too fragmented to resist the encroachment of bigger neighbours. In the north, China annexed today's Yunnan in the 1380s, stamping out the final Shan resistance by the 1440s. In the south, the Toungoo Dynasty captured all those Shan States that would become known as Burmese Shan States in 1557. Though the Shan States came under the suzerainty of Burmese kingdoms based in the valley of the Irrawaddy River, the Shan saophas retained a large degree of autonomy; when Burma gained independence in 1948, the Federated Shan States became Shan State and Kayah State of the Union of Burma with the right to secede from the Union. However, the Shan States and the saophas' hereditary rights were removed by Gen. Ne Win's military government in 1962.
Most Shan States were just little principalities organised around the chief town in the region. They played a precarious game of paying allegiance to more powerful states, sometimes simultaneously. Smaller states such as Loi-ai, Monghsat and Monghsu paid allegiance to more powerful Shan states like Yawnghwe and Hsenwi; the larger Shan States in turn paid tribute to larger neighbours such as the Ava, the Burmese Kingdom and China. Some of the major Shan States were. Early history of the Shan states is clouded in myth. Most states claimed having been founded upon a predecessor state with a Sanskrit name. Tai Yai chronicles begin with the story of two brothers, Khun Lung and Khun Lai, who descended from heaven in the 6th century and landed in Hsenwi, where the local population hailed them as kings; the Shan people have inhabited the Shan Highlands and other parts of northern modern-day Burma as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao existed as early as the 10th century CE but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Pagan.
The historical relevance of the Shan states inside the present-day boundaries of Burma increased during the period of the Pagan Kingdom in the Shan Hills and Kachin Hills and accelerated after the fall of the Pagan Kingdom to the Mongols in 1287. The Shans, including a new migration that came down with the Mongols came to dominate an area from northern Chin State and northwestern Sagaing Region to the present-day Shan Hills; the newly founded Shan States were multi-ethnic states that included a substantial number of other ethnic minorities like the Chin, Palaung, Pa-O, Akha, Lahu, Wa and Burmans. The most powerful Shan states were Mohnyin and Mogaung in present-day Kachin State, followed by Theinni, Thibaw and Kyaingtong in present-day northern Shan State; the Confederation of Shan States were a group of Shan States that conquered the Ava Kingdom in 1527 and ruled Upper Burma until 1555. The Confederation consisted of Mohnyin, Bhamo and Kale, it was led by the chief of Mohnyin. The Confederation raided Upper Burma throughout the early 16th century and fought a series of war against Ava and its ally Shan State of Thibaw.
The Confederation defeated Ava in 1527, placed Sawlon's eldest son Thohanbwa on the Ava throne. Thibaw and its tributaries Nyaungshwe and Mobye came over to the confederation; the enlarged Confederation extended its authority down to Prome in 1533 by defeating their erstwhile ally Prome Kingdom because Sawlon felt that Prome did not provide sufficient help in their war against Ava. After the Prome war, Sawlon was assassinated by his own ministers. Although Sawlon's son Thohanbwa tried to assume the leadership of the Confederation, he was never acknowledged as the first among equals by other saophas. An incoherent confederation neglected to intervene in the first four years of Toungoo–Hanthawaddy War in Lower Burma, they did not appreciate the gravity of the situation until 1539 when Toungoo defeated Hanthawaddy, turned against its vassal Prome. The saophas banded together and sent in a force to relieve Prome in 1539. However, the combined force was unsuccessful in holding Prome