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Phibun Songkhram

Field marshall Phibun Songkhram (July 14, 1887 - June 11, 1964) (also sometimes spelled Phibul Songkhram) was prime minister and military dictator in Thailand from 1938-1944 and 1948-1957.

He was born on July 14, 1887 in the Nonthaburi province[?] as son of Mr. Keed and Mrs. Sam-Ang Keetasangka. He studied at the Royal Army Academy as well as the General Staff Army College in France.

During the coup of 1932 which changed Thailand to a constitutional monarchy Major Phibulsonggram joined the People's Party as its military representative, and after prime minister Colonel Phraya Phaholpolpayuhasena resigned he was appointed prime minister on December 16, 1938. During his term he was promoted to Field Marshall in recognition of the modernizations of the country done by him. He renamed the country from Siam to Thailand, and also finally introduced the western calendar.

During the World War II Japan invaded Thailand, and the government chosed to cooperate. This led to his imprisonment after the war and exile in Japan, however in 1948 he returned to office after a military coup.

At the end of his reign suspicions of irregular practices during an election came up. The resulting unrest led to a coup by Field Marshal Sarith Thanarath in 1957, after which Phibun Songkhram had to leave the country. His final exile had been Japan where he died in 1964.

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