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Thailand and World War 2

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Since the beginning of time all of the textbooks about war and battles have been written by the winners and most of them are white-washed. Looking at World War II the main countries that are mainly written and read about in books are France, Poland, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and the infamous Japan. But these books never reference countries like Thailand. I was born in Thailand and I never got the chance to be close to my grandmother who lived during the time of World War II, so I wanted to further investigate this major event that affected her life. I also initially wanted to interview my grandmother for a first person source but I found out that she had passed and so I changed my idea for my question, instead of focusing on how the war affected individuals in Thailand I wanted to start off with knowing something a little broader than that. Which led to the question of how did the battle in Thailand affect World War II.

In this investigation we are looking at the role of Thailand in World War II. There will be points made from many different perspectives of history. And we will be looking at why Thailand promptly change from neutral at the beginning of the war to had to changing sides during World War II, which helped shape the war. By investigating this battle between Japan and Thailand it would prove how much other countries can and did affect World War II, which can also be used to prove that other countries, even third world countries did have an affect on the world.

 The reasoning behind the change of sides

According to many sources Thailand was mainly neutral but they also went with the side that seemed more likely to win. And just like in World War I Thailand joined the Allies when they were winning the war, so presumably they went with the same mindset during the second World War as well. One of the things that prompted this change was because of the religious belief that Buddhist believed in, which was that one should change themselves to fit in or to just go with the flow. But the allies weren’t leading during the second World War, the Axis Power were. This wasn’t the only reason why Thailand joined the axis powers, on December 8th, 1941, Thailand had some unexpected and unwelcome visit from Japan, which also forced them to join. Japan had invaded Thailand in hopes of using their land during the war for their own convenience and personal gain.

The asian underground railroad

Japan used Thailand’s land to build a railroad in order to make shipping supplies to their forces in Burma, which is modern Myanmar, easier and more efficient. Many refugees and prisoners of Japan during the second World War were forced to work on the railroad. Life on the railroad was not a merry one, it came with many harsh conditions. An Australian man named, Snow Fairclough, who was a prisoner of the war, described his experience in an interview by saying that, “[I survived with] just a bit of help and encouragement from them and a grim determination not to bloody well die in a place like that; to die like a slave in the jungle.” The Japanese ran it like somewhat like concentration camp but included work and lacked the main goal of genocide. But in other articles they defended Thailand by stating that Japan was basically manipulating them into all of this by promising the Thais land that were supposed to be “rightfully” theirs.

Which side actually?

Most articles, books, and references will talk about how Thailand helped only Japan and just does not mention any other countries who they have helped. Some might even argue that Thailand was never an ally to Japan but rather manipulated into carrying out Japan’s wishes and thus Thailand was the victim. But only a few knew about the secret Siam. This was a secret organization that helped the Allies, particularly the United States, during World War II.


Since Thailand and Japan went to war together during World War II, Japan had a whole country to their benefit. But that is not all Thailand’s personal war with Japan also lead to some people in Thailand to help out the United States as well, which is why Thailand was not brutally punished after the war was over.

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