Biography of Thanom Kittikachorn (1911-2004)

Military and Thai politician, born on August 11, 1911 in Tak, northeast of Thailand, and died on 16 June 2004 in Bangkok. He was Prime Minister of the country on two occasions; the first of them in 1958, and the second from 1963 until 1973.

Thanom joined the 20 years at the Royal Academy military Bangkok, where it coincided with Sarit Thanarat. In 1951 he received the grade of general and participated in 1957, as lieutenant-general of the Thai armed forces, in the overthrow of Luang Songgram, after the coup d ' ├ętat led by Sarit Thanarat. A coalition Government where he occupied the post of Prime Minister, until he was overthrown by a new coup in October of that same year, again led by Sarit was formed in January 1958. In the next Government, Thanom was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. The death of Sarit, in December 1963, he returned to the post of Prime Minister, and had to face the attacks of the Communist guerrillas in the North of the country. Thanom fought against these guerrillas, led by officers trained in China and Viet Nam in the North, with the help of consultants and American pilots, carrying Thai troops on missions against the insurgents. A supporter of us policy in Indo-China, allowed the Americans to use Thai air bases, and completed its aid with the dispatch of combat troops to Viet Nam and Laos.

In the field of domestic policy, Thanom tried to restore political rights suspended in 1958, by promising to restore parliamentary democracy. The first municipal elections were held in December 1967, and in June 1968 the eighth Thailand Constitution was promulgated. In parliamentary elections held in February 1969, the party Kingdom of the village Thai, led by Thanom, got parliamentary majority, to obtain 75 seats against the fifty-six opponents of the Democratic Party. Thanom got, thus staying as Prime Minister and Defense Minister in the next Government. The change of role of United States in Southeast Asia, the continuity of the activities of guerrillas in the North of the country and the weakening of the Thai economy, did that, in November 1971, Thanom dissolved the Government and the Parliament, which also suspended the Constitution and to establish a new Government military. A new Constitution was proclaimed in December 1972. Thanom returned to hold the post of Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the student demonstrations against the Government led, in October 1973, the appointment of a civilian Government and the resignation and subsequent flight to Singapore of Thanom.

His secret return to the country, in August 1976, caused a month later bloody clashes between his supporters and left-wing students in Bangkok. At the beginning of the month of October, the military, led by Sangad Chaloryu, took control and put an end to the unrest. In the subsequent Government formed by the military, Thanom did not participate directly, despite having been the cause of the end of the previous Government.