It was the proudest day of my life when I learnt that my troops had advanced into enemy territory.
King Rama VI in 1918 when Siamese troops entered Germany.
Siam and World War I recounts how the elite of a kingdom in Southeast Asia shrewdly decided to enter into the Great War of 1914-18. While the war brought an unprecedented death toll and suffering to nearly the entire European continent, by participating in the fight against Germany, Siam became the only Southeast Asian state to declare war on a Western power and thereby managed to reap political gain internationally and solidify elite rule domestically. As well as detailing the political background that led to the sending of an expeditionary force to France, author Stefan Hell tells fascinating personal stories: of the Thai who was one of the few survivors of a boat sunk by a German torpedo, of Thai students interned in a German castle, and the outrage of Germans and Austrians interned in Bangkok.
Lavishly illustrated with hitherto unpublished photographs and memorabilia, Siam and World War I is a groundbreaking book of great historical interest.