The Three Princes was a name given to Princes Boun Oum, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong who represented respectively the royalist, neutralist and leftist factions in the Kingdom of Laos in the post-WWII period.The trio were named by King Savang Vatthana to form a coalition government following the independence of Laos.
Prince Boun Oum was the son of King Ratsadanay, and was the hereditary prince of Champassak and also Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos from 1948–1950 and again in 1960–1962.
Prince Souvanna Phouma was the leader of the neutralist faction and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos several times.
Prince Souphanouvong was, along with his half-brother Prince Souvanna Phouma and Prince Boun Oum of Champasak, one of the "Three Princes" who represented respectively the communist (pro-Vietnam), neutralist and royalist political factions in Laos. He was the figurehead President of Laos from December 1975 to August 1991.
The Three Princes represented three different political views held during the Laotian Civil War.
The Laotian Civil War (1959–75) was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government, 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.
Right-wing Prince Boun Oum, cousin to the other two princes, overthrew the Phouma Government in 1960. Supported by Phoui Sananikone, General Phoumi Nosavan and the Hmong Leader, General Vang Pao.
Phoui Sananikone was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos on two occasions in 1950 to 1951 and again from 1958 to 1959, and also served as Foreign Minister on multiple occasions.
Major General Phoumi Nosavan was a military strongman who was prominent in the history of the Kingdom of Laos; at times, he dominated its political life to the point of being a virtual dictator. He was born in Savannakhet, the French Protectorate of Laos, on 27 January 1920. Originally a civil servant in the French colonial administration of Laos, during the last year of World War II he joined the resistance movement against the Japanese occupiers. Exiled from 1946 to early 1949 for his opposition to French return to colonizing Laos, he returned to his native soil to begin a military career in 1950 after the collapse of the anti-French Lao Issara government. By 1955, he was Chief of Staff of the brand-new Royal Lao Army. While in that position, he was largely responsible for appointing senior officers into command positions in the Military Regions of Laos. Following that, in 1957 he was the first Lao officer to be schooled in France at the École de Guerre. While in France, he became acquainted with Central Intelligence Agency operative John F. "Jack" Hasey. Phoumi returned to Laos to become a founding member of the Committee for the Defence of National Interests on 17 June 1958. On 25 December 1959, he took control of the capital of Vientiane and of the nation in a bloodless coup.
Vang Pao was a major general in the Royal Lao Army. He was a leader in the Hmong American community in the United States.
Pro-western Prince Souvanna Phouma was supported by Kong Le and the Royal Lao Government.
Captain Kong Le was a paratrooper in the Royal Lao Army. He led the premier unit of the Royal Lao Army, Bataillon Parachutistes 2, which campaigned relentlessly during 1959 and 1960. The idealistic young American-trained Lao Theung officer became known worldwide when on 10 August 1960 he and his mutinous paratroopers overthrew the Royal Lao Government in a coup d'état. He declared he aimed at an end to government corruption; to the shock of American officials, he declared U.S. policies were responsible for the ongoing fraud.
The Royal Lao Government was the ruling authority in the Kingdom of Laos from 1947 until the communist seizure of power in December 1975 and the proclamation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953 gave Laos full independence but the following years were marked by a rivalry between the neutralists under Prince Souvanna Phouma, the right wing under Prince Boun Oum of Champassak, and the left-wing, Lao Patriotic Front under Prince Souphanouvong and future Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane. During this period, a number of unsuccessful attempts were made to establish coalition governments.
Half brother of Souvanna Phouma, Prince Souphanouvong, a staunch communist and the leader of the Pathet Lao, was supported by Kaysone Phomvihane (later Prime Minister and President of the LPDR) and the North Vietnamese. By 1972, the Pathet Lao found it unacceptable to form a coalition with rightist members, mostly military generals and the rich and powerful Na Champassak and Sananikone families.
The Pathet Lao was a communist political movement and organization in Laos, formed in the mid-20th century. The group was ultimately successful in assuming political power in 1975, after the Laotian Civil War. The Pathet Lao were always closely associated with Vietnamese communists. During the civil war, it was effectively organized, equipped and even led by the People's Army of Vietnam. They fought against the anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War. Eventually, the term became the generic name for Laotian communists.
Kaysone Phomvihane was the leader of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 1955 until his death in 1992. He also served as the first Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 and then as President from 1991 to 1992.
The Kingdom of Laos was a constitutional monarchy that ruled Laos beginning with its independence on 9 November 1953. The monarchy survived until December 1975, when its last king, Savang Vatthana, surrendered the throne to the Pathet Lao, who abolished the monarchy in favor of a Marxist state called the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which has controlled Laos since.
Prince Phetsarath Ratanavongsa was the 1st Prime Minister of Laos from 8 April to 20 October 1945, and was the first and last vice-king of the Kingdom of Laos.
Sisavang Vatthana or sometimes Savang Vatthana was the last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 15 October to 21 November 1951. He ruled from 1959 after his father's death until his forced abdication in 1975. His rule ended with the takeover by the Pathet Lao in 1975, after which he and his family were sent to a re-education camp by the new government.
Soth Phetrasy (1915–2004) was a leading official of the Pathet Lao, the communist guerrilla movement of Laos associated with the Lao People's Party, during the 1960s and 1970s.
Parliamentary elections were held in Laos on 4 May 1958, in order to elect an additional 21 seats to the enlarged National Assembly. The Lao Patriotic Front won the most seats, although the ruling National Progressive Party remained the largest party in the Assembly, holding 26 of the 60 seats. Voter turnout was 82.1%.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government ministry which oversees the foreign relations of Laos. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs is H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith. The Ministry's main offices are located in Vientiane.
The Committee for the Defence of National Interests was an anti-communist right-wing political party founded in the Kingdom of Laos on 17 June 1958. Dismayed by the election of Lao communists to the National Assembly in the May 1958 elections, younger politicians and military officers founded CDNI as an alternative to older Lao politicians and senior officers then in power. The CDNI pronounced itself as a force for anti-corruption efforts in the Royal Lao Government. It was backed by the United States embassy; American support was manifested in political advice and civic actions such as Operation Booster Shot. In the 24 April 1960 elections, which were obviously rigged, the CDNI won 32 of 59 seats. The Pathet Lao leadership had been detained during the election; on 23 May 1960, they escaped to join their insurrection in the mountains. This ended the governing coalition, and fighting began in the Laotian Civil War.
Quinim Pholsena was a leftist minister and the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Laos from 1962 to 1963, under Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma.
Colonel Bounleuth Saycocie was a Lao military and political figure of the Second Indochina War.
The 1960 Laotian coups brought about a pivotal change of government in the Kingdom of Laos. General Phoumi Nosavan established himself as the strongman running Laos in a bloodless coup on 25 December 1959. He would be himself overthrown on 10 August 1960 by the young paratrooper captain who had backed him in the 1959 coup. When Captain Kong Le impressed the American officials underwriting Laos as a potential communist, they backed Phoumi's return to power in November and December 1960. In turn, the Soviets backed Kong Le as their proxy in this Cold War standoff. After the Battle of Vientiane ended in his defeat, Kong Le withdrew northward to the strategic Plain of Jars on 16 December 1960.
The following lists events that happened during 1950 in Laos.
The 1964 Laotian coups were two attempted coup d'etats against the Royal Lao Government. The 18 April 1964 coup was notable for being committed by the policemen of the Directorate of National Coordination. Although successful, it was overturned five days later by U.S. Ambassador Leonard Unger. In its wake, Neutralist Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma forged a fragile coalition with the Pathet Lao communists. On 4 August 1964, Defense Minister Phoumi Nosavan attempted to take over Vientiane with a training battalion. This coup was quickly crushed by the local Royal Lao Army troops, as the police sat out the conflict.
Kou Voravong was a Laotian politician. He was part of the anti-Japanese resistance leading group during the Second World War and after then anti-Lao Issara (ລາວອິດສລະ) in the post-war period. Throughout his career, from 1941 to 1954, he has been District Chief, Province Governor, member of the Lao National Assembly, and Lao Royal Government Minister.
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