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Thu, March 1, 2007 : Last updated 14:31 pm (Thai local time)



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Home > National > Thanom's sometimes turbulent life





Thanom's sometimes turbulent life

Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn (1912-2004)

The royally sponsored cremation ceremony for Thanom took place yesterday at the Debsirin Temple. He was the country's 10th prime minister, in 1958, and then again from 1963 to 1973.

He suffered a stroke in 2004 and received an urgent operation at Bangkok Hospital. His Majesty the King paid for his medical care for five months until Thanom died of infections.

Thanom's life:

1911: Born on August 11 in Tak province to Amphan and Linchee Kittikachorn.

1930: Graduates as a sub-lieutenant from the Military Academy.

1942: Battalion commander under the Japanese in World War II at the Burmese-Chinese border for more than a year.

1947: As a lieutenant-colonel, he takes part in a coup led by Colonel Sarit Thanarat and becomes a regimental commander and head of the Lop Buri military province. Later he is promoted to colonel, commanding the 11th Infantry Division.

1951: Appointed a non-elected MP, his first political role.

1953: Led the suppression of a rebellion in February, winning much praise and promotion to lieutenant-general. Represents Thailand at the ceremony to mark the end of the Korean War in July.

1955: Appointed deputy cooperatives minister while serving as commander of the First Region Army.

1957: Appointed defence minister in a caretaker government led by Pote Sarasin, which is installed after a military clique, headed by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, overthrows the government of Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsongkram.

1958: Becomes prime minister and defence minister, is appointed general and retains his seat as army commander-in-chief. He resigns as prime minister after nine months.

1959: Replaced by Sarit as prime minister, appointed deputy premier and defence minister in the new government, and also serves as armed forces deputy supreme commander.

1963: Appointed premier a day after Sarit's death. Also serves as army commander-in-chief.

1964: Promoted to field marshal, admiral of the fleet and air force marshal.

October 1968: Leads the Saha Prachathai Party.

February 1969: Re-appointed prime minister after the general election.

November 1971: Stages a coup against his own government, citing the need to suppress communist infiltration. Becomes chairman of the National Executive Council, which serves as a caretaker government for one year.

December 1972: Appointed prime minister for a fourth time, also serving as defence and foreign ministers. Public discontent rises amid demands for a general election.

October 1973: Student-led uprising against Thanom's administration leads to his downfall. He is exiled in the United States along with his son, Colonel Narong, and brother-in-law Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien - known as the 'Three Tyrants'.

1976: Returns to Thailand as a novice monk, triggering a student protest at Thammasat University. The far right, aided by the security forces, storms the campus and attacks students on October 6, killing many protesters.

Thanom and his former ruling partners never resume a role in politics. He made an effort to rehabilitate his image, arguing that he was not responsible for the 1973 violence and sought to recover his property that was seized when he was overthrown.

2004: Dies aged 92.








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