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Siam and World War I: An International History

Examines Siamese policy of neutrality until the decision to enter the First World War with the Western Allies during 1914-1919 from foreigners’ perspectives and primary archives in Thailand, France, United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria. Narrates situational background in 1914, Siamese neutrality during 1914-1917. Focuses on roles of Thai elite in driving the country into the war, movements of King Chulalongkorn’s sons as key men in military and foreign relations, Siamese modernity, King Vachiravudh’s decision to take side. Depicts the war situation in Siam after the royal proclamation on the war with Germany and Austria- Hungary, responses from Thai government towards German assistance, lives of Germans and Austro-Hungarians who was formerly government service officers in Bangkok and in provinces, roles of German club in Bangkok, military censorship. Narrates the war situation in Europe, such as Thai prince in German captivity, death of 300 Thai students in the Hirano Maru ship sunken by German submarine. Investigates Siamese military expenditure for joining the World War I, victory celebrations in Europe, the treaty of Versailles, the aftermath, remembrance and symbol of World War I in Siam.