There is a little-known history regarding Siam’s decision to participate in the First World War on the side of the Allies, rather than remain neutral; something that can be explained in terms of political necessity and the survival of Siam.
During the reign of King Vajiravudh (1910-1925) Siam was the only independent country in the region that did not suffer from the demands for territory or other concessions. However, Siam’s sovereignty had suffered from encroachment, violations and limitations imposed by Western imperialism since the mid-19th century. In effect Siam was regarded as a second-rate nation in the international community, with limited autonomy in foreign relations, economics and commercial and judicial affairs.
Nevertheless, Siam managed to maintain independence from imperialist expansion. It benefited from rivalry between the European great powers, and used skilful diplomacy to become one of the founding members of the League of Nations in 1919. Continue reading »