King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) of Thailand --coup?

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Heinrich
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King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) of Thailand --coup?

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Post by Heinrich » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:28 am

Ananda Mahidol (20 September 1925--9 June 1946) was the eighth monarch of Thailand under the House of Chakri. He was recognized as king by the National Assembly in March 1935. He was a nine-year-old boy living in Switzerland at this time. He returned to Thailand in December 1945. He was found shot to death in his bed in June 1946. Medical examiners ruled it a murder and three servants were later executed. His killing has been the subject of much controversy.

Ananda Mahidol (Thai: อานันทมหิดล) is one word in Thai and is his given name. King Vajiravhud, his uncle, sent a telegram on 13 October 1925 giving him this name. It is pronounced "Ananta Mahidon" and means "the joy of Mahidol" (his father). When he held his birth rank of "mom chao" -- the lowest rank of Thai princes -— he used the surname of "Mahidol", his father's given name. His full name and title was thus, "Mom Chao Ananda Mahidol Mahidol" (Thai: หม่อมเจ้า อานันทมหิดล มหิดล). His full royal name was, "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramentharamaha Ananda Mahidol Phra Atthama Ramathibodindara"



Suicide or Regicide? Either way, Bhumibol was aware of the circumstances of his brother's death, but chose to keep them a secret, allowing three innocent palace staff to be executed and allowing politician Pridi Panomyong to be falsely blamed for the incident by his political opponents.

The evil side of the Thai royal family had been hidden from the Thai public for more than 64 years, often with self-censorship, but particularly due to the lese majeste law that prevent them from being exposed publicly. King Bhumibol's brother, Anand Mahidol, was found shot dead in the head on his bed 64 years ago and there was a widespread suspicion that Bhumibol had something to do with his death because he was the only one in the bedroom with King Anand at the time of his death. However, due to the severity of the lese-majeste law, the matter of King Anand's murder had been hidden from the Thai public for 64 years and had never been discussed publicly by any Thais.
Bhumibol came to Thailand in 1928, after Prince Mahidol obtained a certificate in the Public Health programme at Harvard University.
He briefly attended Mater Dei school in Bangkok but in 1933 his mother took the family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the École Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Lausanne.
In 1935 his elder brother, Phra Ong Chao Ananda Mahidol, became King of Thailand, and elevated Bhumibol and his sister to Chao Fa status, the most senior class of the Thai princes and princesses. The family came to Thailand briefly in 1938 for Ananda Mahidol's coronation, but then returned to Switzerland.
On june 9, 1946 bhumibol most likely shot his brother who was currently crowned RAMA IX, and seized the thrown for himself becoming the King of Thailand

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Henk
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Re: King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) of Thailand --coup?

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Post by Heinrich » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:54 am

The Mysterious Death of HM King Ananda Mahidol. Rama V111

King Ananda Mahidol or Rama VIII (long royal name: Phrabat Somdej Phra Paramenthara Maha Ananda Mahidol Phra Athama Ramathibodinthra Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหาอานันทมหิดล พระอัฐมรามาธิบดินทร (roughly "HM King Ananda Mahidol, the Eighth Ruler") (September 20, 1925 – June 9, 1946) was the eighth king of the Chakri dynasty of Thailand.
Early life
Prince Ananda Mahidol Mahidol (Mom Chao Ananda Mahidol Mahidol — หม่อมเจ้า อานันทมหิดล มหิดล) was born in Heidelberg, Germany. He was the first son of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkhla (son of King Chulalongkorn) and Mom Sangwal (last title Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindhara Boromaratchachonnani) who were studying there at the time. King Vajiravhud, his uncle, sent a telegram on October 13 1925 auspiciously naming him "Ananda Mahidol" (อานันทมหิดล), meaning "the joy of Mahidol". ("Ananda Mahidol" is one word and is his first name. It is pronounced "Ananta Mahidon". When he held his birth rank of "Mom Chao" -- the lowest rank of Thai princes -- he used the surname of "Mahidol" from his father; his name at this point was thus "Mom Chao Ananda Mahidol Mahidol").
He followed his parents to Paris, Lausanne, and then to Massachusetts when, in 1927, another uncle, King Prajadhipok issued a royal edict exalting him to the higher princely class of Phra Worawong Ther Phra Ong Chao. (This edict also benefited other "Mom Chao" who were the children of Chao Fa and their commoner wives, among them his elder sister Mom Chao Galyani Vadhana and his younger brother who, upon his birth later in the year, was born Phra Worawong Ther Phra Ong Chao Bhumibol Adulyadej).
The family returned to Thailand in 1928 after Prince Mahidol finished his medical studies at Harvard University. Prince Mahidol died at age 37 in 1929, when Ananda Mahidol was just 4 years old. His widowed mother was thus left to raise her family alone.
A coup d'etat in 1932 ended the absolute monarchy and raised the possibility that King Prajadhipok might abdicate. Queen Savang Vadhana, his grandmother, was concerned about Prince Ananda Mahidol's safety, since he was one of the likely heirs to the throne. It was then suggested that the Mahidol family again move to Lausanne. The official reason given was for the health and further education of the princes. They left Thailand in 1933 and Prince Ananda Mahidol spent most of his youth in Switzerland.
However, when King Prajadhipok's abdication appeared imminent, the Prince's mother was approached by a member of government, asking for her opinion about Ananda Mahidol becoming the next Thai monarch.
Circumstance of succession
It was an interesting turn in the history of succession when King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) abdicated in 1935 due to political quarrels with the new quasi-democratic government as well as health problems, and abstained from exercising his right to name a successor. By that time, the crown had already passed from Prince Mahidol's line to that of his half-brothers when his eldest full brother, Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis, died as a teenager during King Chulalongkorn's reign. A half-brother, Prince Vajiravhud replaced Prince Vajirunahis as the Crown Prince, and Vajiravhud's mother was later made Queen Regent when King Chulalongkorn left for a European tour. The implication of these was that the princes born to the same mother as Prince Vajiravhud (Queen Saovabha) thus had higher claim to the throne than other princes. This was what took place on the death of King Vajiravhud — the crown was passed to his youngest brother, Prince Prajadhipok.
Offering the throne to Prince Prajadhipok was not without a debate. In doing so, another strong candidate was bypassed: Prince Chulachakrapongse, son of the late Field Marshal Prince Chakrapongsepoovanat of Phitsanulok, who before his death had been the heir-apparent to King Vajiravhud. It was questioned whether the Succession Law enacted by King Vajiravhud actually barred Prince Chakrapongsepoovanat (and for that matter, Prince Chulachakrapongse) from succession on the ground that he married a foreigner (Russian). However, his marriage took place before this law was enacted and had been endorsed by King Chulalongkorn himself. There was no clear resolution, but in the end the young nephew was passed over and Prince Prajadhipok was enthroned.
When King Prajadhipok later abdicated, since he was the last remaining son of Queen Sri Pacharindra, the crown went back to the sons of the Queen whose rank was next to hers: Queen Savang Vadhana, mother of the late Crown Prince Vajirunahis. Besides the late Crown Prince, she had two more sons who survived to adulthood: Prince Sommootiwongwarothai of Nakhon Si Thammarat, who had died without a son, and Prince Mahidol who, although deceased, had two living sons. It thus appeared that Prince Ananda Mahidol would be the first person in line of royal succession.
Nevertheless, the same debate over the half-foreign Prince Chulachakrapongse occurred again. It was argued that King Vajiravhud had virtually exempted the Prince's father from the ban in the Succession Law, and the crown might thus be passed to him.
Since the kingdom was now governed under a constitution, it was the Cabinet who would decide. Opinion was split on the right to succession of Prince Chulachakrapongse. A key figure was Pridi Phanomyong, who persuaded the Cabinet that the Law should be interpreted as excluding the Prince from succession, and that Prince Ananda Mahidol should be the next king. It also appeared to be convenient for the government as well to have a monarch who was only 9 years old and was attending school in Lausanne, Switzerland. On March 2, 1935 Prince Ananda Mahidol was elected by the Thai parliament and government to succeed his uncle, King Prajadhipok.
Life as King
As the new King was still a child and was then studying in Switzerland, the parliament appointed Colonel Prince Anuwatjaturong, Lieutenant Commander Prince Artit Thip-apa, and Chao Phraya Yommaraj (Pun Sukhum) as his regents.
At age 13, he visited Thailand for the first time as monarch, accompanied by his mother and his younger brother Bhumibol Adulyadej. Only after the end of World War II did he return, in December 1945, with a degree in Law, for a second visit. Despite his youth and inexperience, he quickly won the hearts of the Thai people, who had continued to revere the monarchy through the upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s. He was a handsome young man and Thais were delighted to have their King amongst them once again. One of his well-remembered activities was a highly successful visit to Bangkok's Chinatown, which was calculated to defuse the post-war tensions that lingered between the ethnic Chinese and the Thais.
Foreign observers, however, believed that Ananda Mahidol did not really want to be King and felt his reign would not last long. Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the British commander in South-East Asia, visited Bangkok in January 1946 and described the King as "a frightened, short-sighted boy, his sloping shoulders and thin chest behung with gorgeous diamond-studded decorations, altogether a pathetic and lonely figure." At a public function, Mountbatten wrote, "his nervousness increased to such an alarming extent, that I came very close to support him in case he passed out."
A mysterious death

On June 9, 1946, the King was found shot dead in his bedroom in the Grand Palace, only four days before he was scheduled to return to Switzerland to finish his doctoral degree in Law at the University of Lausanne. His brother Bhumibol Adulyadej succeeded him. Ananda Mahidol was never crowned as king, but his brother posthumously gave him the full royal title of the nine-fold umbrella.
Events of 9 June 1946
Keith Simpson, pathologist to the British Home Office and founding chairman of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Guy's Hospital London, performed a forensic analysis of the King's death and recounted the following sequence of events on the morning of 9 June 1946:[1]
King Ananda was woken by his mother at 6am.
At 7.30am, his page, But Pathamasarin, came on duty and began preparing a breakfast table on a balcony adjoining the King's dressing room.
At 8.30, But saw the King standing in his dressing room. He brought the King his customary glass of orange juice a few minutes later. However, by then the King had gone back to bed and refused the juice.
At 8.45am, the King's other page, Chit Singhaseni, appeared, saying that he had been called to measure the King's medals and decorations on behalf of a jeweller who was making a case for them.
At 9am, Prince Bhumibol visited King Ananda. He said afterwards that he had found the King dozing in his bed.
At 9.20am, a single shot rang out from the King's bedroom. Chit ran in and then ran out along the corridor to the apartment of the King's mother, crying "The King has shot himself"
The King's mother followed Chit into the King's bedroom and found the King lying face up in bed, bloodied from a wound to the head.
Aftermath
An initial radio announcement on 9 June surmised that the King was accidentally killed while toying with his pistol.[2]
In October 1946, a Commission of Inquiry reported that the King's death could not have been accidental, but that neither suicide nor murder was satisfactorily proved.
In November 1947, Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram staged a coup against the elected government and ordered a trial. King Ananda's secretary, Senator Chaleo Patoomros, and the pages, But and Chit, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to kill the King.
The trial began in August 1948. The prosecution's case was supported by 124 witnesses and such voluminous documentary evidence that the defense counsel asked for an adjournment to give them time to consider it. When this was refused the counsel resigned, and new counsel were found. Later, two of the defense counsel were arrested and charged with treason. Of the remaining two, one resigned, leaving only a single young lawyer for the defence, Fak Na Songkhla. Towards the end of the case, he was joined by Chaleo Patoomros's daughter, who had just graduated.
The trial ended in May 1951. The court found that King Ananda had been assassinated, but that Chaleo had not been proved guilty and that neither of the pages could have fired the fatal shot. However, they found Chit guilty of being a party to the crime. The charges against Chaleo and But were dismissed and the two released.
Chit appealed his conviction, and the prosecution appealed against the acquittal of Chaleo and But. After fifteen months of deliberation, the Appeal Court dismissed Chit's appeal, and undeterred by the legal doctrine of double jeopardy found But guilty also.
Chit and But appealed to the Supreme Court, which deliberated for ten more months before finally upholding both convictions, and this time convicting Chaleo as well.
In February 1955, Chaleo Patoomros and the two pages, Chit Sinhaseni and But Paramasrin, were executed by Pibulsonggram's government on charges of conspiracy to kill the King. Today it is acknowledged that the charges against the men were baseless.
Alternative explanations of the death
The King's death is still a mystery. Since this subject is never openly discussed in Thailand, the best current account is in William Stevenson's The Revolutionary King, written with the co-operation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This account exculpates those executed and suggests that Ananda Mahidol was murdered by Tsuji Masanobu, a former Japanese intelligence officer who had been active in Thailand during the war.
It is clear from Stevenson's account that Ananda Mahidol cannot have killed himself, either by suicide (as is sometimes suggested) or accidentally. He was found lying on his back in his bed, not wearing his glasses, without which he was almost blind. He had a small bullet wound in his forehead and a somewhat larger exit wound in the back of his head. His pistol, a Colt .45 given to him as a gift by a former US Army officer, was not nearby. The Colt .45 is not a prone to accidental discharge; it will fire only if considerable pressure is applied to the safety plate at the back of the butt at the same time as the trigger is depressed. The Colt is also a heavy pistol and difficult to use by a person without training. It would have been virtually impossible for Ananda Mahidol, a frail 20-year-old, to lie on his back and shoot himself in the forehead with such a pistol. If he had done so, the impact would have blown his skull apart, not caused the small wound seen by many witnesses. Stevenson writes that no cartridge case was found, and subsequent inquiries ordered by King Bhumibol, but suppressed by later governments, found that the Colt had not been fired.
Dr. Keith Simpson, a forensic pathologist who investigated the King's death found it highly unlikely that the death was due to suicide,[3] noting that:
• The pistol was found by the King's left hand, but he was right-handed
• The direction of bullet fired was not inward towards the centre of the head.
• The wound, over the left eye, was not in one of the elective sites, nor a `contact' discharge.
• The King was killed while lying flat on his back. Simpson noted that in twenty years' experience he never known of any suicide shooting himself whilst lying flat on his back.
If Ananda Mahidol did not kill himself, he must have been murdered. It must therefore be asked who stood to benefit from his death. The most obvious beneficiary was his brother Bhumibol, who was next in line to the throne. The possibility that the current King murdered his brother is so shocking as to be unthinkable, let alone mentionable, in modern Thailand, but it was commonly rumoured during the 1950s. However, the possibility can be dismissed on several grounds. First, if, as seems clear, the King's own pistol was not the murder weapon, Bhumibol would have had to obtain and use another weapon, then successfully conceal it in the few seconds before other witnesses arrived on the scene. Secondly, all accounts agree that Bhumibol was summoned to the King's bedchamber by their mother, who was first on the scene. Third and most importantly, Ananda Mahidol and Bhumibol were very close, and according to Stevenson Bhumibol had absolutely no desire to be King (according to some accounts, he still does not have). His only desire was to return to his quiet life in Switzerland.
The King's murderer must therefore have come from outside the Royal Palace. Here there is no shortage of suspects. Thai politics at this time was dominated by two figures who had led the 1932 revolution against the absolute monarchy, but who had subsequently fallen out. These were Field Marshal Pibulsonggram, who had been the pro-Japanese dictator of Thailand during World War II, but who in 1946 was seeking to rehabilitate himself as a client of the United States, and Pridi Phanomyong, a left-wing civilian politician who had been an underground leader during the war and was regarded as a supporter of British interests. At the time of the King's death, Pridi was Prime Minister, and Britain and the U.S. were conducting a clandestine battle for influence in postwar Thailand.
The role of the monarchy was of central importance to Thai politics, and the virtual vacancy of the throne which had existed since 1932 had been of great value to Pibulsonggram's wartime regime. It is possible that he saw the re-emergence of a strong monarchy under King Ananda Mahidol as a threat to his prospects of returning to power under U.S. patronage. It is therefore plausible that Pibulsonggram could have used the Japanese officer Tsuji Masanobu, who had avoided war crimes prosecution by making himself useful to the Americans, as his agent to bring about the King's death in the hope that Bhumibol would be a more pliant King. A royal murder also served to discredit Pridi's government, to Pibulsonggram's benefit.
Alternatively, it is possible, though much less likely, that Pridi saw the re-establishment of a strong monarchy as a threat to his hopes of establishing a socialist government in Thailand. Although he was not a communist, Pridi was sympathetic to the Chinese Communists, and later lived for a time in exile in the People's Republic of China. Since Britain had a Labour government at this time, Pridi saw no contradiction between his left-wing policies and his role as a British agent. Killing the King, according to this theory, would weaken the monarchy and make a left-wing revolution easier. In the Cold War atmosphere of the 1950s, Pridi was widely named as the man behind the King's death. According to William Stevenson, King Bhumibol has said that he does not believe that Pridi was involved in the apparent murder.
Given that it is over 60 years since Ananda Mahidol's murder, it seems unlikely that it will be solved. It is possible, however, that King Bhumibol, the only surviving witness to these events, knows the full truth and that this will be revealed after his death.
Another theory regarding Ananda Mahidol's mysterious death -- that of suicide -- was explored by journalist Rayne Kruger in his book, The Devil's Discus (Cassell & Co., Ltd. [London]. 1964). The book is banned in Thailand. However, a website by a Thai writer has provided a summary of Kruger's arguments, and links to other material about this still puzzling event.
Regards :
Henk
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