A Special Relationship: The United States and Military by Daniel Fineman

By Daniel Fineman

The improvement of the Thai-American alliance from 1947 to 1958 dramatically remodeled either international locations' involvement in Southeast Asia. Bounded via vital political occasions in Thailand, a military coup in 1947 and the military's assumption of entire keep an eye on of presidency in 1958, the interval witnessed either the entrenchment of authoritarian army executive in Thailand and a revolution in U.S.-Thai kinfolk. in the course of those years the fashionable Thai political approach emerged, and the USA demonstrated its curiosity and effect in mainland Southeast Asian affairs. The advancements of the interval made attainable American's later, extra vast, involvement in Indochina.

A distinct Relationship presents the main entire research of this severe founding interval of the Thai-American alliance. It unearths fabulous new details on joint covert operations in Indochina, American aid for suppression of presidency competitors, and CIA involvement in Thai household politics.

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Extra resources for A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947-1958

Sample text

Then, when the British began negotiating directly with Pridi during the peace talks, the United States encouraged Seni to take a harder line in negotiations with Lord Mountbatten than Pridi was. After Seni helped his brother, Kukrit Pramoj, and Khuang Aphaiwong establish the Democrat Party in 1946, the United States found him a useful friend. Khuang, in the meantime, fell under the influence of Walter Kahn, American policy member of the Anglo-American Rice Commission, the body charged with regulating Thailand’s postwar rice sales.

By that point, Phibun and Pridi realized that Britain and the United States would determine who would rule Thailand, and a contest began between the two rivals for the Allies’ affections. Both secretly sent representatives to China to make contact with Chiang Kai-shek, and both laid plans for armed resistance against Japan. 6 Ironically, when the army then moved to stage a coup to put Phibun back in office, the Japanese ensured that Parliament’s decision would stick. 7 From that point until the 1947 coup, civilian cabinets, led behind the scenes by Pridi, governed the country.

Thai relationship long after Pridi’s exit from the scene. American military assistance offered Pridi clear and undeniable political benefits. Much of the officers’ dissatisfaction arose from the army’s international isolation and poor equipment. Accustomed to close contacts with the armed forces of the great powers and possessing the best weapons in the land, the army found itself after the war treated with circumspection by the Allies and holding outdated, inadequate weapons. Were Pridi able to secure military aid from the United States, he could solve this morale problem and soothe disgruntled officers.

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