Victory Monument

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Victory Monument is a large military monument in Bangkok, Thailand. The monument is located in Ratchathewi district, northeast of central Bangkok, at the center of a traffic circle at the intersection of Phahonyothin Road, Phaya Thai Road, and Ratchawithi Road.

The monument was erected in June 1941 to commemorate the Thai "victory" in the Franco-Thai War, a brief conflict waged against the French colonial authorities in Indo-China, which resulted in Thailand annexing some territories in western Cambodia and northern and southern Laos. These were among the territories which the Kingdom of Siam had been forced to cede to France in 1893 and 1904, and patriotic Thais considered them rightfully to belong to Thailand.

The monument is entirely western in its design: in this it is in sharp contrast with another prominent monument of Bangkok, the Democracy Monument, which uses indigenous Thai forms and symbols. The central obelisk, although originally Egyptian, has been frequently used in Europe and America for national and military memorials - its shape suggesting both a sword and an outstanding mark that holds in a territory (by some erotic-minded it can be identify with masculine potency); here it is designed in the shape of five bayonets clasped together. The five statues, representing the army, navy, air force, police and civilian bureaucracy, are in a standard western "heroic" style, familiar in the 1940s in both fascist and communist states, and were executed by the Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci, who worked under the Thai name Silpa Bhirasi. The sculptor did not like the combination of his work with the obelisk, and referred to the monument as "the victory of embarrassment."

The monument became an embarrassment in a more political sense in 1945 when the Allied victory in the Pacific War forced Thailand to evacuate the territories it had gained in 1941 and return them to France. Many Thais regard the monument as an inappropriate symbol of militarism and a relic of what they now see as a discredited regime. Nevertheless the monument remains one of Bangkok's most familiar landmarks.

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