Embracing the “Enemy”: Some Aspects of the Mutual Relations between the United States and Thailand under Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram, 1948-1957


  • Jan Bečka Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague


This article focuses on the relationship between the United States and Thailand under Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram between the years 1948 and 1957. It first seeks to show how Phibun, who had collaborated with the Japanese during World War II and had at one time faced prosecution as a war criminal, was able to overthrow the post-war liberal government and gain acceptance in the United States. Next, it will present and analyze the basic tenets and principles of the Thai-American relationship in the context of the Cold War and the bipolar rivalry in Asia. Finally, it will explain the issue of Phibun ’ s changing image in the United States and his attempts to make his government more “democratic” as part of his struggle to retain power and to quell the growing internal discontent with his regime.

Keywords:Thailand, United States, Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram, Cold War, anti-communism, SEATO, democracy