Boworadet rebellion

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Boworadet rebellion
Troops in the Boworadet rebellion.jpg
Siamese soldiers during the rebellion
Date 11–25 October 1933
Result Decisive win for the Siamese Government
Prince Boworadet and other royalists and his allies Revolutionary Siamese Government (Khana Ratsadon)
Commanders and leaders
Prince Boworadet
Col. Sri Sitthi Songkhram
M.Gen Phraya Sena Songgram
Luang Phibulsonggram
Luang Amnuai Songkhram
Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena

The Boworadet rebellion (Thai: กบฏบวรเดช; RTGSKabot Boworadet; [kà.bòt.bɔ̄ː.wɔ̄ː.rá.dèt]) was a Thai rebellion (or unsuccessful coup d'état) led by royalist Prince Boworadet (1877-1947) in 1933, in consequence of the conflicts between the previous royalist regime (those loyal to Chakri dynasty rule and King Prajadhipok) and the succeeding constitutional regime led by Khana Ratsadon, following the Revolution in 1932. The Boworadet revolt was eventually defeated by the Siamese Government.

As a historical event, it was cataclysmic in the transformation of Thai politics and government and is meaningful to understand the contemporary Thai politics and the monarchy. In the next twelve years, the constitutional government had not been seriously threatened by the royalist and conservative. Its result immediately benefits a military regime led by Phibun. In a longer term, the controversies about King Prajadhipok's involvement are largely unknown to the public, thus his democratic credibility remains intact and is passed to the later kings in Thailand.


Thailand map of 1933, show the conflicts of provinces between the royalist rebels and the Government.
  Provinces that joined the Prince Boworadet's Army
  Provinces were loyal to the Government.

In 1932, People's Party carried out a revolution (coup) overthrowing the absolute monarchy in Siam, which was regarded as a crucial turning point 20th-century Thai history. After the establishment of a new regime, a series of counter-revolutionary crisis threatening the constitutional government. The King accepted the Promoters’ constitution as a temporary one, and took part in making another “permanent” constitution. Conservative figure Phraya Manopakorn Nititada [Mano] was appointed as the prime minister who later showed a pro-royal tendency.

In March 1933, Pridi Phanomyong, a Minister of State and a member of the People's Party, was attacked verbally by the constitutional monarch King Prajadhipok (or King Rama VII) as a communist following the proposal of the Draft National Economic Development Plan, or the Yellow Cover Dossier, to the National Assembly. The Yellow Paper was a plan to arrange and provide State welfare, to distribute all land to the rural poor, to interfere in economic affairs of the private sectors and to provide rural farmers more economic subsidies. These concepts were deemed communistic (or at least socialistic) by the Monarch. This led Thawan Ritthidet (Thai: ถวัลย์ ฤทธิเดช), a private citizen, to file a lawsuit against the King, accusing him of intervention in political, state and economic affairs. The fallout over Pridi's plan divided the Cabinet. Mano took advantage of the conflicts within the People's Party and got support of the non-reformists in the executive. After securing King Prajadhipok's signature on the decree, he carried out a silent coup to dissolve the National Assembly on the 1st April 1933, and used emergency decrees (such as the Anti-Communist Act) to govern. Pridi was immediately exiled to France.

On the 20 June, a senior Army Officer and member of the Khana Ratsadorn or the People's Party, General Phraya Phahon Phon Phayuhasena (Thai:พลเอก พระยาพหลพลพยุหเสนา (พจน์ พหลโยธิน); Phraya Phaphon ), seized power in a coup d'état, overthrowing the Government of Phraya Manopakorn. Phraya Phaphon appointed himself the second Prime Minister of Thailand, declared that Pridi Phanomyong was not guilty and invited him to return to Thailand. The second coup and Pridi's return stirred up another armed movement against the revolutionary government.

The following counter-revolutionary rebellion, Boworadet rebellion, led by Prince Boworadet and other important royal members was often regarded as another royalist attempt to undermine the People's Party and its revolutionary government, because major participants had relations with royal family. The rebels’ chief motive declared in the ultimatum was their concerns that Phahon and Pridi had ‘encouraged the people to despise the King Prajadhipok …’ However, there have been other counterarguments considering this rebellion. Some argued that it was not only an organized royalist rebellion but also headed by King Prajadhipok. The rebellion proclaimed that its armed struggle against the government was intended to establish real democracy in the country and they also accused Pridi of communism. The government regarded the rebellion as Prince Boworadet's personal ambition.[1]

Leaders of the Rebellion

Prince Boworadet

Prince Boworadet, one of major leaders of the Rebellion

Prince Boworadet (Thai: พระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองศ์เจ้าบวรเดช), was one of the grandsons of King Mongkut, a son of Prince Naret.[2] He was a career soldier who had served as the Thai Minister in Paris towards the end of Chualongkorn's reign. He was “retired” in the latter part of King Vajiravudh's reign, but he was brought back into active service shortly after King Prajadhipok ascended the throne.[3] He took over the position as minister of war from Prince Boriphat who was promoted to the Interior minister in 1928. In 1929 the king honored Boworadet by raising him from momchao to phra’ongchao status.[2]

Prince Boworadet had a fiercely conflict with Prince Boriphat, over the budget for the coming year in 1931. Prince Boworadet submitted a resignation to express his dissatisfaction. After some disputes between two sides, the resignation of Prince Boworadet was accepted the Supreme Council of State and the King Prajadhipok. The relationship with Prince and other powerful Princes had gone bad after the crisis of 1931.[4]

It was recalled on the Special Court's Decision on the Insurrection that Prince Boworadet had once consulted Phraya Phahon and Phaya Srisith about the plan to change the government. Because of the Prince's reluctance to use force to overthrow the government, the Promoters carried out the revolution without the Prince's cognizance. He then expected Phraya Phahon to invite him to be the prime minister. However, Pridi rejected Phraya Phahon's recommendation but name Mano in the Prince's stead. Prince Boworadet felt frustrated with the Promoters.[5] An ardent royalist, he was furious that anyone was allowed to sue the King. This added to his discontent of Phraya Phahon Phon Phayuhasena's coup against Phraya Manopakorn and his support of Pridi against the monarch.

At the end of July, Phibun and Supha sent a circular letter to a number of prominent individuals warning them to “exercise peace of mind”, otherwise “party will be forced to bring stringent measures to bear on you.” A number of members of the royal house received the letter, including Prince Boworadet who was staying at Hua Hin with the king at that time.[6] The combined catalysts of the warning and Pridi's return stirred up Prince Boworadet to revenge upon the promoters.[7]

Prince Boworadet secretly plotted with Colonel Phraya Sri Sitthi Songkhram (Thai: พระยาศรีสิทธิ์สงคราม), the commander of the Armed Forces of Bangkok, and other senior military officers to stage a coup d'état to unseat the Phraya Phahon government and replace it with a more traditional one.

Colonel Phaya Srisith Songgram

Phraya Srisith Songkram

Another prominent counter-revolutionary leader was Phaya Sristh, a former close friend of Phaya Phohon and Phaya Song, who also receive his military education in Germany. Like Prince Borowadet, he also refused to join the 1932 revolution, but he anticipated his revolutionary friends would appoint him to an important position in the new regime as his good educational background and high stature among army officers would help the promoters in strengthening the revolution. Much to his disappointment, he only got a minor position in the Ministry of Education. Later, he was appointed to the State Council and to replace Phya Song as the Directory of Military Operations after the four military leaders were expelled by the coup carried out by Mano. However, the second coup soon took over Mano government, Phaya Srisith subsequently became the bitter enemy of the new government. In the rebellion, he was assigned the task of inciting the Ayudhya garrison[8] and Borowadet's second-in-command.

Major General Phya Sena Songgram

He was a member of the royal family who had commanded the First Army Corps before the revolution. He was the only high-ranking officer who lost power on the first day of the revolution when a group of revolutionaries were attempting to arrest him. As early as January 1933, he had made an attempt to form an opposition party, National Party, which was regarded as a royalist party. He had harbored strong animosity against the promoters of the revolution, and he subsequently became a counter-revolutionary leader whose task was to incite the troops in the northern provinces.[9]

The Process of the rebellion

The rebellion broke out

Early in October 1933, Prince Boworadet had appeared in Korat to mobilize the armies to rebel. He soon took complete control of Korat and got positive responses from other provinces. The central government had sensed the political storms in the provinces, but was trapped by the antagonistic elements in Bangkok. Bangkok started military preparations for the upcoming insurrection.[10] Businesses and organizations offered money and volunteer services to help the defense. On 11 October 1933, under the leadership of Prince Boworadet, a full-scale rebellion broke out at the provincial garrison at Khoart. The garrisons of Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Prachinburi, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Sawan, and Phetburi one after another declared themselves in favor of the rebellion against the Bangkok government. They issued their first ultimatum calling on the government to resign immediately or be removed by force on the same day.[11] The legitimate government in Bangkok refused to comply with their demands.The first clash occurred on 11 October 1933 at Amphoe Pak Chong, in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. The government forces were defeated and several members of the government were captured.

On 12 October, troops from the northeast of the country marched on Bangkok, seized the Don Muang airport, and entered the northern suburbs,[2][7] occupied the area around Bang Khen.The rebels consisting of the Korat, Phetchaburi, and Udon Regiments, together with a cavalry unit and several artillery batteries set up a stronghold near the Lak Si train station, using machine guns and cavalry. They called themselves the National Rescue Council (Thai: คณะกู้บ้านเมือง; RTGS: Khana Ku Ban Mueang) and their attempt the Deer Plan (Thai: แผนล้อมกวาง; RTGS: Phaen Lom Kwang).

The Stalemate

Boworadet probably hoped that at least some Bangkok army units would join him and the King would show his preference by remaining strictly neutral and non-committal.[12] The rebels aimed to bring nine upcountry garrisons to besiege the city, but only three moved to the city's northern outskirts while the others prevaricated or repelled by the pro-government garrisons. Prince Boworadet tried to persuade other forces to join him, including the Royal Thai Navy, which instead declared itself neutral. The commander-in-chief of the navy withdrew his battleships from the capital and sailed them for the bases in the South.[2][13]

The rapid advance of the rebel army, the seizure of the Don Muang airport and the withdrawal of the Navy also struck panic and consternation into the hearts of the government. Even more discouraging was the fact that in the face of the royalist counter-revolution the promoters themselves were not well unified. Some members of Col. Phraya Song's senior military clique showed their reluctance to fight the rebel, and Col. Phraya Song and Col. Phra Prasas themselves left the country a few days before the rebellion and refused to return. For thirty hours Phraya Phahon also tried to negotiate a peaceful resolution.[7]

Neither side much wanted a shooting war, and most of the salvoes were propaganda. The People's Party put out radio broadcasts and leaflets damning the Boworadet forces as ‘rebels’ and ‘bandits’. In reply, the besiegers dropped leaflets on the city from aeroplanes, accusing the people's party of restraining the king.[14]

Major Luang Seri Somroeng Rit (Thai: พันตรีหลวงเสรีเริงฤทธิ์) was appointed (under truce) to ask the rebels to surrender, under a government offer of amnesty. However, the Major was seized and made a hostage.

Faced with the prospect of a full-scale battle to remove the existing leadership, Prince Boworadet decided to adopt a more conciliatory approach by entering into negotiations in which he called on the government to allow the king a greater political role.[11] On the afternoon of 13 October, Prince Boworadet sent another ultimatum to the government. The rebel leaders backed down from their original strong demand for government to resign because they found some important armies in the provinces failed to march to Bangkok and all the armies in Bangkok remained loyal to the government. The second ultimatum presents the following demands:

  • 1) The Country shall be headed by the King forever;
  • 2) All State affairs must be carried out in accordance with the Constitution, especially the appointment and removal of a member of the Council of Ministers, which can only be made by a majority of votes;
  • 3) Permanent public officials, both civil and military, shall not intervene in politics;
  • 4) The appointment of public officials shall be made with regard qualifications, without political partiality;
  • 5) The second type (non-elected)of the people's representatives shall be appointed by the King (as opposed to the Prime Minister);
  • 6) Armaments for the Army shall be provided everywhere, not gathered in any specific area;
  • 7) Amnesty shall be granted to the National Rescue Council and all its supporters.

With the situation turning in the government's favor, the government was unwilling to compromise with the insurgents. Phraya Phahon, in his radio speech, revealed the King's telegram expressing his regret for the rebels’ action to appeal for popular support, which got a warm response.[15]

Critical battle at Bangkok

Luang Phibulsonggram, Commander of Government forces

The government appointed Lieutenant Colonel Luang Phibulsonggram [Phibun], one of the 1932 coup makers, to command the Bangkok forces and take charge in the speedy defeat of the rebels. On the 13 October, Phibun launched a counterattack.[7] He opened a heavy artillery attack on the rebels’ positions.[14] Phibun's artillery forces were better supplied than the exhausted rebels. And they were supported in a non-combat capacity by Boy Scouts, students, and labourers.[11] For the next three days the two opposing parties shelled each other, causing many casualties and great damage.[16] These were supported by an armoured car and a tank commanded by Phibun's friend, Lieutenant Colonel 'Luang Amnuai Songkhram (Thom Kesakomon) (Thai: หลวงอำนวยสงคราม (ถม เกษะโกมล)), who would later be killed in combat. The government was able to drive the rebels with the help of the Nakhon Sawan Regiment and a declaration of the Prachinburi Regiment in support of the government and joined the fight. This broke the rebels' morale, and on 14 October they began to retreat.[14] On the afternoon of the 16 October, the government forces recaptured the Don Muang Airport on the outskirts of the city and drove the rebel troops to retreat along the northeastern railway line.Much destruction was done to the infrastructure of Bangkok (railways and bridges) and the surrounding area, including the Don Mueang Aerodrome [Don Muang Airport], from artillery bombardment, bombings and fire.

On their desperate way to escape, the rebels sent an empty locomotive down the track at top speed to collide with the government troop carrier. The resultant crash killed a number of government soldiers and gave the rebels time to reach their base in Khorat (Nakhon Ratchasima Province).[16] The government with superior forces (heavy artillery having been moved in by rail) was able to attack the rebel stronghold. Running out of ammunition and supplies, the rebels broke. Government forces pursued and advanced to the rebel base in Nakhon Ratchasima. By the end of the October, the rebellion finally winded down in the provinces with the possibility of further reinforcement by other provincial garrisons. On 23 October, the government forces seriously defeated the rebel forces at the jungle of Hin Lap,[17] and Boworadet's second-in-command, Phaya Sri Sitthi Songkram, died in the battle.

Defeat of the rebellion

By the end of October, the remnants dispersed, and the royalist rebellion was over. The government broadcast a radio appeal to rebel troops to surrender and offered a ten thousand baht reward for the capture of Prince Boworadet.[17] On 25 October Prince Boworadet and his wife suddenly boarded an aeroplane and left Siam for Vietnam (then part of French Indochina).When the news of his escape was known, Phya Sena Songgram and other important leaders, now approaching Burirum province, became greatly disheartened and fled. Twenty-two officers managed to flee the country and find asylum in French Indo-China.

Most of the rebel forces surrendered and granted amnesty except for important rebel leaders. Twenty-three lives had been lost in actions. The People's Party arrested the stragglers and eventually jailed 230 people including Prince Boworadet's younger brother, Prince Sinthiphorn Kadakorn (Thai: หม่อมเจ้าสิทธิพร กฤดากร). Two retired senior military officers were tired and executed. A royal prince was sentenced to life imprisonment. These later were sentenced to death, but later all the sentences were commuted, and no executions took place.[16][18] Most sentences were later reduced and many were pardoned completely.

Prince Boworadet received asylum in Cambodia, where he lived until 1948. He then returned home to Thailand, dying in 1953 at the age of 76.

King’s role in the rebellion

King Prajadhipok's role in the Boworadet Rebellion is still somewhat controversial among scholars. Some historians even did not mention the King's role in the rebellion other than the neutral standpoint he took at the beginning of the rebellion and the regret he expressed when the rebellion was quelled. Others took a much sympathetic view on King Prajadhipok's predicament during the rebellion.

Sympathetic views

Prince Boworadet's motives remain somewhat obscure even though the rebellion was generally regarded as royalist and reactionary. Prince Boworadet was regarded as having strained relations with several of the highest members of the royal family including Prince Boriphat, Prince Purachatra.[1] Nonetheless, before the 1932 revolution, he had been in contact with the promoters and had been considered as a possible leader of the plot against the absolute monarchy. So Baston indicates that the King did not remain good relationship as Prince Boworadet was suspected to participate in overthrowing King Prajadhipok's regime.[1] Some scholar listed King's letter to the British officials Sir R. Holland and Baxter as evidence that King had known the rebellion ahead. However, more details about the letter provided by historian Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian showed that the King had well been aware that the rebellion would not appeal to the people. If he really had been so sensible before the rebellion, it would less possible for him to lead the rebellion.

“There were two movements, one within and one outside Bangkok. The former was a representative of the genuine discontent with the People’s Party and would therefore have won, had it not been hampered by the latter led by Prince Boworadet, ‘No movement’ emphasized the King, ‘which had for its apparent object the restoration of the old regime could possibly succeed.’”[19]

Even though King Prajadhipok declined the government's request for his return to Bangkok, he offered five times to mediate and end the armed struggle but all received silent refusal from the government. It was evident that the Phahon government was in no mood to accept any role offered by the monarch as long as the King refused to return to the capital and support the government. The king's explanation for his escape to the south was that he tried to evade capture by the approaching pro-rebel soldiers. His intention was to remain a free agent and to strengthen his hand as an impartial party to whom both sides could look for a solution.[20]

Revisionist views

Historian Batson suggests Prince Boworadet's falling out with the King after his resignation. However, other evidences counter this speculation. The prince remained on the best of terms with Prajadhipok who gave him a new house a few months after his resignation. Following the overthrow of the absolute monarchy, Boworadet regularly spent time in the company of the King. They happened to be together when the second coup happened and when Phibun issued his circular letter. Another evidence was the King's letter to Baxter, his former adviser in England, at the beginning of August. He made it clear that for any action against the government to be “effective”, he would have to “retire to some safe place and await events.” The King and Queen's scheduled departure from Hua Hin Place on 5 October was proponed indefinitely. Even though no concrete conclusion of King's involvement can be made from these indications, suspicions were raised that the King was informed of the timetable of the rebellion.[21]

Another revisionist view provided by Nattapoll Chaiching, a Political scientist from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, that King Prajadhipok was the head of this anti-government conspiracy. Based on verdict report of the special court of 1939 and witnesses’ memoirs, Chaiching argues that King Prajadhipok established a large anti-Revolution underground network consisting of the royal family, secret agents, assassins, military officers, civil servants and journalists- all of them loyal to the old regime. Chaiching defends the validity of the sources writing that royalist witnesses are more likely to tell truth as the political atmosphere now in Thailand favors highlights of former King's role in bringing down the revolutionists. Boworadet Rebellion received full support of King Prajadhipok and the royalists and was plotted by them. Prince Boworadet was asked to be the commander of the rebel armies. King Prajadhipok made a personal donation of 200,000 baht, and mandated the combined army infantry units from the northeast should be the rebels’ principal troops. Two months before the rebellion, Meanwhile, the propaganda team of royalists took charge of publishing articles in the Bangkok attacking the People's Party to rally the public's support for the rebellion.

Before the rebellion broke out, King Prajadhipok began to strengthen the guard of the Klaikangwon Palace by ordering machine guns and reinforcement troops where he always lived after the 1932 revolution. He also prepared for an emergency escape route, which showed that he had already known the rebellion in advance. Chaiching interprets the King's leave from Klaikangwon Place to the south as King Prajadhipok awaited news of success in the south according to the plan. The royalists were also accused of trying to assassinate important leaders of the People's Party by special court of 1939. Memoirs of His Majesty's secret agent uncovered an attempt to assassinate the leader of the People's Party by snipers hired by royalists before the arrival of the Boworadet Rebellion. It seems that the rebellion was not the only method they used to undermine the government, but might be the last way.[22]

Once in England, the King began his negotiations with the government. One of his four issues he asked was an amnesty on those undergoing imprisonment for political offences; otherwise he would abdicate. He strongly objected to the government's treatment of the Boworadet rebels. The government disagreed with his demand. The King delayed signing the death warrants and automatically prevented the execution to take place, because at that time the Penal Code required a written royal consent before the executions could take place.[23]

Balanced evaluation

A more balanced analysis of the evidences provided by political scientists Federico Ferrara. Federico Ferrara pointed out the King's ambiguous behaviors and some disputed explanations. Even though Prince Boworadet had a difficult relationship with the King and other princes, but it is hardly to deny that the royalist credentials of some of Boworadet main lieutenants. Both sides justified their military actions by vowing their loyalty to the King, as the rebels alleged that the government “disrespected” the King and government declared that their fighting back was to protect the King. Although the King declared neutrality, he did not return to Bangkok as Phraya Phahon's request, instead he escaped to the south.[24] King Prajadhipok and Queen's move to Songkla, near the Malay border incurred many guesses. Some thought his move was to escape the seizure by either side thus avoiding choosing side or being used as an excuse by either side to legitimate their military actions.[25] A foreign observer provided various kinds of guesses in his article:

“Some said he had gone further south to raise support for Bavoradej [Boworadet]. Others said that he had fled south for fear of being taken into custody by the revolutionary [government] party and held as a hostage against Bavoradej. Some said he was out of sympathy with the rebellion and that he wished to disassociate himself from it entirely.”[26]

King Prajadhipok's position was very much weakened. He was suspected by the government to be conniving with rebels; he was criticized by many royalists for not coming to the assistance of the rebels who were fighting his political battle for him; and he was “openly” criticized for alleged weakness in “running away” to Songkhla.[26]

In general, all parts believed that support of the throne would ensure a quick success for either side thus there would be no bloodshed or misinterpretation of the King's will.[25] King could have played a more positive and effective role in helping to end the conflict.[27] His indecisiveness and impassive reaction throughout the crisis were much blamed for the large number of casualties. Shortly thereafter, the King's private Secretary issued a bland statement that expressed His Majesty's regret over the “suffering caused by the civil war” and announced a donation of 10,000 baht to the Red Cross society. But he also secretly funded the rebellion with a sum 20 times larger than the donation. However, the original sources about the 200,000 baht funding were questionable as the special court was found politicization and subservience to Phibun's interests.[24]

Historical Legacy

King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) was leaving Siam by train.

An immediate setback of the royalist power

Phraya Phahon's government was able to further cement their grip on power. Although there are controversies about King Prajadhipok's role in the rebellion, the result was nevertheless a blow to the royalist and conservative power. as the rebels had claimed to be fighting in his name. His prestige was greatly diminished and his power was severely weakened. The King's lack of leadership and indecisiveness was shown when he only released a telegram saying that he regretted the strife and civil disturbances occurred in the rebellion. The King and the Queen had then left the capital for Songkla, leaving the government to deal with the rebellion. His failure to support his constitutional government, which undermined his credibility and his perceived commitment to democracy and the constitutional system. This allowed Phraya Phahon and the King's opponents to claim that the monarch has failed to do his duty. A series of events following the rebellion eventually led to the King's abdication in 1935. The rebellion also led to the estrangement of the aristocratic factions and families, which has served the Kingdom for centuries. They were viewed by the government with distrust and never again regained their power and position in the Thai politics.

The beginning of the military regime

The promoters had crushed the counter-revolution at the expense of Revolution's democratic potential. The promoters relied on a host of repressive measures to stave off the royalist challenge to the constitutional regime and in the immediate aftermath placed Siam onto the track to military dictatorship. The government then could arrest dissents in the excuse of their involvement in conspiracies against government. The press was controlled and a draconian “Act to protect the constitution” criminalised public expressions of disrespect for the constitution or the constitutional regime.[24]

Pridi and his economic plan might be one of the reasons causing the turmoil. The accusation of him as a communist, the divided of the People's party and the first coup along with the rebellion squeezed his political power. The liberal and socialist civilian faction was weakened. Phahon's supporters won a clear mandate in the national elections and built a single-minded government party. Ironically, absolute monarchy was eventually replaced by an absolute military oligarchy.

The rebellion was also seen as the beginning of the meteoric rise of a player in the rebellion: Phibun, who became a hero. After the rebellion, senior officers, such as Phraya Song and his friends who had kept aloof from the military conflict, found their influence dashed. In the 1932, he had been simply one of the junior coup members, now he moved up rapidly in the military hierarchy.[16] He became minister of defense in early 1934. Phibun gradually weakened his enemies and eventually eliminated them. Several others were accused of being involved in plot to overthrow government, which was the most effective way to attack rivals. He also built up his political constituency in the army forces.[28] He replaced Phraya Phahon as Prime Minister from 1938–1944 de facto dictator of Thailand, and served again from 1948 to 1957. He is the longest serving Prime Minister in Thai history.

King Prajadhipok’s democratic credibility in a long term

Even though royalists suffered a serious setback, the democratic image of King was largely intact in the long term. Based on the easily obtained sources, one can hardly portray the figure of King Prajadhipok in too negative a light. Only by examining some revisionist resources, the disputed role he played in a series of events will come out. Because the revolutionary government turned into a military dictatorship, King's dissatisfaction with the promoters, his verbal attack of the government and his democratic rhetoric in the abdication statement earned him a democratic credibility. His behavior in the rebellion is ignored by some people who directly claim that there is no evidence showing King Prajadhipok's involvement. King Prajadhipok left democratic capital for the later kings in Thailand to sustain the extra-constitutional power of monarchy.

Recent event

A Rebellion Suppression Monument was erected by the victors at Khet Lak Si, Bangkok, as a commemoration of the event. It was later renamed the Constitution Defense Monument.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Batson, B. (1986). The end of the absolute monarchy in Siam. 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press. p. 247
  2. ^ a b c d Terwiel, B. (2011). Thailand's political history. 1st ed. Bangkok: River Books, p.257.
  3. ^ Barmé, S. (1993). Luang Wichit Wathakan and the creation of a Thai identity. 1st ed. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p.100.
  4. ^ Batson, B. (1986). The end of the absolute monarchy in Siam. 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp.190-194.
  5. ^ Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.201.
  6. ^ Barmé, S. (1993). Luang Wichit Wathakan and the creation of a Thai identity. 1st ed. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p.82.
  7. ^ a b c d Joseph J. Wright, J. (1991). The Balancing Act : A history of modern Thailand. 1st ed. Oakland, California: Pacific Rim Press. P.77
  8. ^ Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution. 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.197-199.
  9. ^ Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution. 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.199-201.
  10. ^ Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution. 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.202.
  11. ^ a b c Barmé, S. (1993). Luang Wichit Wathakan and the creation of a Thai identity. 1st ed. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p.85.
  12. ^ Terwiel, B. (2011). Thailand's political history. 1st ed. Bangkok: River Books, p.264
  13. ^ Mokarapong, T. History of the Thai Revolution (1972). 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.207.
  14. ^ a b c Baker, C. and Pasuk Phongpaichit (2014). A history of Thailand. 1st ed. Melbourne: Cambridge Univ. Press, p.120.
  15. ^ Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution. 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.209.
  16. ^ a b c d Terwiel, B. (2011). Thailand's political history. 1st ed. Bangkok: River Books, p.265.
  17. ^ a b Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.213.
  18. ^ Baker, C. and Pasuk Phongpaichit (2014). A history of Thailand. 1st ed. Melbourne: Cambridge Univ. Press, p.120; Mokarapong, T. (1972). History of the Thai Revolution. 1st ed. Bangkok: Chalermnit, p.214.
  19. ^ Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian (2003), Kings, Country and Constitutions: Thailand’s political Development 1932-2000, RoutledgeCurzon, London. P.82
  20. ^ Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian (2003), Kings, Country and Constitutions: Thailand’s political Development 1932-2000, RoutledgeCurzon, London. P.107
  21. ^ Barmé, S. (1993). Luang Wichit Wathakan and the creation of a Thai identity. 1st ed. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p.102.
  22. ^ Nattapoll Chaiching (2010), The Monarchy and the Royalist Movement in Modern Thai Politics, 1932-1957, Saying the unsayable: monarchy and democracy in Thailand edited by Soeren Ivarsson and Lotte Isager, p.158-159.
  23. ^ Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian (2003), Kings, Country and Constitutions: Thailand’s political Development 1932-2000, RoutledgeCurzon, London. p.83. p.111.
  24. ^ a b c Federico Ferrara (2012), The legend of King Prajadhipok: Tall tales and stubborn facts on the seventh reign in Siam, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 43(1), p.21
  25. ^ a b Batson, B. (1986). The end of the absolute monarchy in Siam 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press. p. 248.
  26. ^ a b Exell, Siamese Tapestry, op.cit. p.181.
  27. ^ Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian (2003), Kings, Country and Constitutions: Thailand’s political Development 1932-2000, RoutledgeCurzon, London. P106.
  28. ^ Somsakdi Xuto. and Somsak Chūtō. (1987). Government and politics of Thailand. 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p.44.
  • (in Thai) นายหนหวย (ศิลปชัย ชาญเฉลิม), เจ้าฟ้าประชาธิปก ราชันผู้นิราศ, โรงพิมพ์วัชรินทร์, 2530
  • (in Thai) ม.จ. พูนพิศมัย ดิสกุล, สิ่งที่ข้าพเจ้าได้พบเห็น (ภาคต้น), สำนักพิมพ์มติชน, พ.ศ. 2543
  • (in Thai) โพยม โรจนวิภาต (อ.ก. รุ่งแสง), พ. ๒๗ สายลับพระปกเกล้า พระปกเกล้าฯ (ฉบับพิมพ์ครั้งที่ ๒) พ.ศ. 2547
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