Siam In The First World War

1185 words - 5 pages

The signed of Siamese's changing attitude in maintained strict neutrality since the start of the War, shown when Germany's declared intention to wage an unrestricted Sub-Marine warfare. On 1 February 1917 German Ambassador Count Johann von Bernstorff announced a re-opened German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare to Robert Lansing U.S. Secretary of State. A few days after on 3 February 1917 the United States of America ruptured diplomatic relations with Germany and subsequently President Wilson send circular note urging neutral countries to protest to Germany against declaration of submarine policy. On 7 February 1917 Siamese’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Prince Devawongse, received ...view middle of the document...

However Dering the man on spot pointed out to the French Minister that situation between Siam and China is not analogous and indicated that the most the Allied powers could do was to “induced Siamese Government to protest as Signatory of the Hague Convention against Germany’s past and threatened violations of International Law”. Subsequently on 10 March Siamese Government sent reply to German circular Note on submarine warfare as suggested by Dering. The situation has changed in favour to Allied powers once United States of America declared state of war exit with Germany and Austro-Hungary on 6 April 1917. In seeing this development of the event the king Vajiravudh re-evaluated the situation, on 28 May 1917 about two months prior Siamese declared war with Germany and Austro-Hungary, the King Vajiravudh stated to his council of ministers the realities of Siam's position regarding the neutrality policy its maintain so far. He analysed the fact that as Siam situated in between two colonial powers on all side, “Siam could never dare to show the slightest partiality towards Germany”, and The King anticipated that Germany would not win the war as America was on the Allied side. He pointed out that as a neutral, Siam could hope at best to retain what it had, but it would run a large risk of losing a great deal, Siam would be at the mercy of the Allies if Britain and France decided to take over German assets and privileges in Siam, in which Siam could do nothing but to yield. However if opportunity arise for Siam to take on Allies side it will always be a gained certainly any treaties with Germany will terminated and the Allies may consent to fix tariffs that binding Siam, as a Quid Pro Quo for a service render.

Even though the king Vajiravudh know the advantage of joining the Allies, but there was no opportunity or a good reason to declaring the war with Central Powers. This is due to the fact that there was no Siamese killed or Siamese ships had been torpedoed and no Siamese sailors had been taken prisoner. The other reason was that the Allied powers were not united in their attitude and willingness to persuaded Siam to join the war. As mentioned earlier that the French Government tried to put pressure on Siamese Government to rupture with Germany, also the Russia Minister after meeting with Siamese Heir Presumptive Prince Chakrabongs who was a student at Page Corps and was commission in a Hussar regiment, derived their information that a section of Royal Family were in favour of...

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