|Communist insurgency in Thailand|
|Part of the Cold War|
Ta Ko Bi Cave, a former hideout used by communist rebels.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Royal Thai Armed Forces: 127,700 |
Royal Thai Police: 45,800
United States: 24,470
| 1,000–12,000 rebels|
|Casualties and losses|
~90 soldiers and police killed
33 soldiers and police killed
1,450+ soldiers, police, and officials killed
418 soldiers and police killed
133 insurgents killed and 49 captured
93 insurgents killed
365+ insurgents killed
1,172 insurgents killed
3,000+ insurgents surrendered
|Unknown civilian deaths (3,008 killed by government forces alone in 1971-1973)|
The Communist insurgency in Thailand was a guerrilla war lasting from 1965 until 1983, fought mainly by the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and the government of Thailand. The war declined in 1980 following the declaration of an amnesty and by 1983 the CPT had abandoned the insurgency.
In 1927, Chinese communist Han Minghuang attempted to create a communist organization in Bangkok before being arrested.Ho Chi Minh visited north Thailand the following year, attempting to organize soviets in local Vietnamese communities. In the aftermath of the Siamese revolution of 1932, conservative Prime Minister Phraya Manopakorn accused his political opponent, Pridi Panomyong, of being a communist and shortly afterwards a law was passed criminalising communism.
During World War II communists formed an alliance with the Free Thai Movement. In 1946, Pridi Panomyong assumed office, repealing the Anti-Communist Act of 1933 and establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.In 1960, North Vietnam created a training camp for Thai and Laotian volunteers in Hoa Binh Province, Vietnam. A total of 400 people attended the camp in its first year of operation.
In 1949, Pridi Phanomyong's attempt to return to power after the 1947 coup d'état was crushed. The suppression of the "palace rebellion" convinced the CPT leadership that better preparations had to be made in order for a future rebellion to succeed.
The failure of the 1952 Peace Rebellion was followed by the 13 November 1952 Anti-Communist Act. The act was sparked by the spontaneous involvement of a small number of communist party members in the rebellion.
During the course of the Korean War, the CPT continued to stockpile weaponry in rural areas and make general preparations for armed struggle. At the same time, the CPT formed the Peace Committee of Thailand, a pacifist movement operating mainly in urban areas. The Peace Committee contributed to CPT's expansion and the rise of anti-American sentiment in the country.
Ideologically, the CPT aligned with Maoism and during the Sino-Soviet split the party sided with the Communist Party of China. In October 1964, the organization declared its position in a congratulatory message on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic of China,and the following month a group of Thai communists formed the Thailand Independence Movement in Peking, China.
On 8 December 1964, the Thailand Independence Movement issued a manifesto demanding the removal of US military personnel from Thailand and calling for regime change. The manifesto was later also broadcast by Radio Peking.Former Thai army officer Phayon Chulanont established the Thai Patriotic Front, another Thai communist organization, on 1 January 1965. The two parties formed the Thai United Patriotic Front on 15 December 1966. Hill tribesmen, as well as the Chinese and Vietnamese ethnic minorities, formed the backbone of the movement.
In the early-1950s, a group of 50 Thai communists traveled to Beijing, where they received training in ideology and propaganda. In 1961, small groups of Pathet Lao insurgents infiltrated north Thailand. Local communist party cells were organized and volunteers were sent to Chinese, Laotian, and North Vietnamese training camps, where training focused on armed struggle and terror tactics to fight capitalism in the region. Between 1962 and 1965, 350 Thai nationals underwent an eight-month training course in North Vietnam. The guerrillas initially possessed only a limited number of flintlocks as well as French, Chinese, and Japanese weapons. In the first half of 1965, the rebels smuggled approximately 3,000 US-made weapons and 90,000 rounds of ammunition from Laos. The shipment, originally supplied to the US-supported Royal Lao Armed Forces, was instead sold to smugglers who in turn traded the weapons to the CPT.
Between 1961 and 1965, insurgents carried out 17 political assassinations. They avoided full scale guerrilla warfare until the summer of 1965, when militants began engaging Thai security forces. A total of 13 clashes were recorded during that period.The second half of 1965 was marked by a further 25 violent incidents, and starting in November 1965, Communist Party of Thailand insurgents began undertaking more elaborate operations, including an ambush on a Thai police patrol outside Mukdahan, at that time in Nakhon Phanom Province.
The insurgency spread to other parts of Thailand in 1966, although 90 percent of insurgency-related incidents occurred in the northeast of the country.On 14 January 1966, a spokesman representing the Thai Patriotic Front called for the start of a "people's war" in Thailand. The statement marked an escalation of violence in the conflict, and in early April 1966 rebels killed 16 Thai soldiers and wounded 13 others during clashes in Chiang Rai Province. A total of 45 security personnel and 65 civilians were killed by insurgent attacks during the first half of 1966.
Despite insurgent attacks on the 24,470 United States Air Force personnel housed on bases in Thailand, American involvement in the conflict remained limited.
Following the defeat of the National Revolutionary Army in the Chinese Civil War, its 49th Division crossed into Thailand from neighboring Yunnan. The Chinese troops quickly integrated into Thai society, engaging in the lucrative opium trade under the aegis of corrupt officials. Drug trade provided an important source of income for the local population, while at the same time nationalist troops cooperated with the government during its counter-insurgency operations. In July 1967, the 1967 Opium War broke out when opium growers refused to pay taxes to the Kuomintang. Government forces became involved in the conflict, destroying a number of villages and resettling suspected communists. The newly transferred populations provided new recruits for the CPT.
In February and August 1967, the Thai government conducted a number of counter-insurgency raids in Bangkok and Thonburi, arresting 30 CPT members including secretary-general Thong Chaemsri.Further arrests ensued in October and November 1968.
The Thai government deployed over 12,000 troops to the country's northern provinces in January 1972, carrying out a six-week operation in which over 200 militants were killed. The government's casualties during the operation amounted to 30 soldiers killed and 100 wounded.
In late-1972, the Royal Thai Army, police, and volunteer defence forces commit the Red Drum killings of more than 200(informal accounts speak of up to 3,000) civilians who were accused of supporting communists in Tambon Lam Sai, Phatthalung Province, southern Thailand. The massacre was probably ordered by the government's Communist Suppression Operations Command (CSOC).
It was only one example "of a pattern of widespread abuse of power by the army and enforcement agencies"during the brutal anti-communist operations of 1971–1973 that took an official death toll of 3,008 civilians throughout the country (while unofficial estimates are between 1,000 and 3,000 in Phatthalung Province alone). Those killed were accused of working with the Communist Party of Thailand. Until that point, communist suspects arrested by soldiers were normally shot by the roadside. The "red oil drum" technique was later introduced to eliminate any possible evidence. Suspects were clubbed to a point of semi-consciousness before being dumped in gasoline-filled, used oil drums and burnt alive. The 200 litre red drums had an iron grille divider with a fire below, and the suspect above.
On 6 October 1976, amid rising fears of a communist takeover similar to the one that had taken place in Vietnam, anti-communist police and paramilitaries attacked a leftist student demonstration at Thammasat University in Bangkok, during an incident that became known as the Thammasat University massacre. According to official estimates, 46 students were killed and 167 wounded.
From 1979, amid the rise of Thai nationalism and the deterioration of China–Vietnam relations, the CPT fell into serious turmoil. The pro-Vietnamese wing had eventually seceded and formed a separated faction called Pak Mai.
Efforts to end the insurgency led to an amnesty being declared on 23 April 1980 when Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda signed Order 66/2523. The order significantly contributed to the decline of the insurgency, as it granted amnesty to defectors and promoted political participation and democratic processes. By 1983, the insurgency had come to an end.
The Thai people, a descended of Tai ethnic group, who migrated into mainland Southeast Asia over a period of many centuries. The word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည, probably the same root as Shan and Ahom. Chinese: 暹羅; pinyin: Xiānluó was the name for the northern kingdom centred on Sukhothai and Sawankhalok, but to the Thai themselves, the name of the country has always been Mueang Thai.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces is the name of the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. It consists of the following branches:
The People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the Vietnamese People's Army (VPA), is the military force of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The PAVN is a part of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces and includes: Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Border Defence Force, and Coast Guard. However, Vietnam does not have a separate Ground Force or Army branch. All ground troops, army corps, military districts and specialised arms belong to the Ministry of Defence, directly under the command of the Central Military Commission, the Minister of Defence, and the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army. The military flag of the PAVN is the flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with the words Quyết thắng added in yellow at the top left.
South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", which was a constitutional monarchy (1949–1955). The country was renamed the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought in the Federation of Malaya from 1948 until 1960. The conflict was between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military wing of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). The fighting spanned both the colonial period and the creation of an independent Malaya (1957). Although it was referred to as "The Emergency" by colonial authorities, the MNLA referred to it as the "Anti-British National Liberation War". The conflict was called an "Emergency" by the British for insurance purposes, as London-based insurers would not have paid out in instances of civil wars.
The Laotian Civil War (1959–75) was a civil war in Laos fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government from 23 May 1959 to 2 December 1975. It is associated with the Cambodian Civil War and the Vietnam War, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict.
The First Indochina War began in French Indochina on December 19, 1946, and lasted until July 20, 1954. Fighting between French forces and their Việt Minh opponents in the south dated from September 1945. The conflict pitted a range of forces, including the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Bảo Đại's Vietnamese National Army against the Việt Minh, led by Hồ Chí Minh and the People's Army of Vietnam led by Võ Nguyên Giáp. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.
Search and Destroy, Seek and Destroy, or even simply S&D, refers to a military strategy that became a large component of the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War. The idea was to insert ground forces into hostile territory, search out the enemy, destroy them, and withdraw immediately afterward. The strategy was the result of a new technology, the helicopter, which resulted in a new form of warfare, the fielding of air cavalry, and was thought to be ideally suited to counter-guerrilla jungle warfare. The complementary conventional strategy, which entailed attacking and conquering an enemy position, then fortifying and holding it indefinitely, was known as "clear and hold" or "clear and secure." In theory, since the traditional methods of "taking ground" could not be used in this war, a war of attrition would be used, eliminating the enemy by the use of "searching" for them, then "destroying" them, and the "body count" would be the measuring tool to determine the success of the strategy of "search and destroy."
The Kingdom of Cambodia, also known as the First Kingdom of Cambodia and the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime, referred to Norodom Sihanouk's first administration of Cambodia from 1953 to 1970, an especially significant time in the country's history. Sihanouk continues to be one of the most controversial figures in Southeast Asia's turbulent and often tragic postwar history.
Kriangsak Chamanan served as prime minister of Thailand from 1977 to 1980. After staging a successful coup, he was asked to become Prime Minister in 1977, he ruled till 1980 and is credited with "helping steer Thailand to democracy" in a time where internally, communist insurgents are rampant and neighbouring countries have turned to communist rule following the communist takeover of Vietnam: South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He died on 23 December 2003, aged 86.
The Third Indochina War was a series of interconnected armed conflicts, mainly among the various communist factions over strategic influence in Indochina after United States withdrawal in 1973 and Communist victory in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 1975. The complete American withdrawal instantaneously eliminated the principal and common adversary of all the communist powers. Ever more diverging Chinese and Soviet strategic and political doctrines had increased the Sino-Soviet split of the mid-1950s. The local communist regimes of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos pledged allegiance with one of these two opposing factions. The ensuing hostilities were fuelled by century-old animosities between Vietnam and Cambodia, and – particularly – Vietnam and China.
The history of Thailand from 1932 to 1973 was dominated by military dictatorships which were in power for much of the period. The main personalities of the period were the dictator Luang Phibunsongkhram, who allied the country with Japan during the Second World War, and the civilian politician Pridi Phanomyong, who founded Thammasat University and was briefly prime minister after the war.
The Communist Party of Thailand was a communist party in Thailand active from 1942 until the 1990s.
The Indochina Wars were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia from 1945 until 1991, between communist Indochinese forces against mainly French, South Vietnamese, American, Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese forces. The term "Indochina" originally referred to French Indochina, which included the current states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In current usage, it applies largely to a geographic region, rather than to a political area. The wars included:
The Cambodian–Vietnamese War, known in Vietnam as the Counter-offensive on the Southwestern border, and by Cambodian nationalists as Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, was an armed conflict between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Kampuchea. The war began with isolated clashes along the land and maritime boundaries of Vietnam and Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978, occasionally involving division-sized military formations. On 25 December 1978, Vietnam launched a full-scale invasion of Kampuchea and subsequently occupied the country and removed the government of the Communist Party of Kampuchea from power.
Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War began with a small commitment of 30 military advisors in 1962, and increased over the following decade to a peak of 7,672 Australian personnel following the Menzies Government's April 1965 decision to upgrade its military commitment to South Vietnam's security. By the time the last Australian personnel were withdrawn in 1972, the Vietnam War had become Australia's longest war, and was only recently surpassed by Australia's long term commitment of combat forces to the War in Afghanistan. It remains Australia's largest force contribution to a foreign conflict since the Second World War and was also the most controversial in Australian society since the conscription controversy during the First World War. Although initially enjoying broad support due to concerns about the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, a vocal anti-war movement developed in response to Australia's programme of conscription.
The Internal Security Operations Command or ISOC is the political arm of the Thai military. It was responsible for suppression of leftist groups from the 1960s to the 1980s during period it was implicated in atrocities against activists and civilians. ISOC was implicated in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. After Thaksin was deposed in a military coup, the junta transformed the ISOC into a "government within a government", giving it wide-reaching authority over the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Department of Special Investigation, and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO). The junta also authorized it to help provincial authorities in marketing OTOP products. In June 2007, the junta approved a draft national security bill which gave ISOC sweeping powers to handle "new forms of threats" to the country. The ISOC revamp modelled it after the US Department of Homeland Security, and gave ISOC sweeping new powers to allow the ISOC chief to implement security measures such as searches without seeking approval from the prime minister.
The United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races was an organization in Vietnam whose objective was autonomy for the Degar (Montagnard) tribes. Initially a political nationalist movement, after 1969 it evolved into a fragmented guerrilla group that carried on insurgencies against, successively, the governments of South Vietnam and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Opposed to all forms of Vietnamese rule, FULRO fought against the communist Viet Cong and capitalist ARVN at the same time. FULRO's primary supporter was Cambodia, with some aid sent by China.
The popular uprising of 14 October 1973 was a watershed event in Thailand's history. The uprising resulted in the end of the ruling military dictatorship of anti-communist Thanom Kittikachorn and altered the Thai political system. Notably, it highlighted the growing influence of Thai university students in politics.
Unity was the code name for Thailand's covert supply of mercenary soldiers to the Kingdom of Laos during the Laotian Civil War. From 4 July 1964 until March 1973, battalions of Thai volunteers fought Communist insurgents on the Plain of Jars in Military Region 2. As the Hmong L'Armée Clandestine was sapped by ongoing casualties and a limited basis for replacements, Unity battalions replaced them.