What is it about?

This article seeks to explain how Thailand used war as an opportunity. At a time when colonialism was still a threat, mastering the European conventions associated with war, such as demonstrating familiarity with international legal concepts such as neutrality, earned Thailand international acceptance. Having a small contingent in soldiers participate in World War, also helped, even though they had zero military impact.

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Why is it important?

The article adds to the literature on how international society uses norms and the display of symbols to define membership. It also adds to our understanding of colonialism, Thailand's strategies to survive colonialism, and the longer term impact that had on its thinking about the uses of military forces.


This was a fascinating article to write because Thailand's involvement in World War I had mainly only been approached form the point of view of its domestic political dimensions. Setting Thailand, and its diplomacy, in a larger international context yielded many insights into a critical period when Asia was struggling for recognition and states were struggling to adapt to Western concepts of "civilisation."

Greg Raymond
Australian National University

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This page is a summary of: War as Membership: International Society and Thailand’s Participation in World War I, Asian Studies Review, January 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2018.1548570.
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