Thailand, Japanese Pan-Asianism and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

  • Nigel Brailey

Abstract

Whatever one’s thoughts about it currently, as it struggles to renew its demo­cracy, Thailand has been most consistently prominent in modem times as a kind of arbiter of international affairs. In the 1960s, it was probably the most signi­ficant part of the South-East Asian ‘audience’ the United States was trying to impress through its opposition to communism in Vietnam.1 In the 1890s, it was already the object of Japanese pan-Asianist initiatives designed to halt the spread of Western empire in Asia. And between 1941 and 1945, its loyalty was being competed for by the United States and Japan as the one never-colonised state in South-East Asia, and therefore the nearest to being the true, authentic and repre­sentative voice of the region.2

Keywords

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Joseph Frankel introduction to N. Sheahan (ed.), New York Times Pentagon Papers (New York, 1973) p. 647.Google Scholar
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    See Nigel Brailey, Thailand and the Fall of Singapore: A Frustrated Asian Revolution (Boulder and London, 1986) pp. 101–2;Google Scholar
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  4. 3.
    Direk Jayanama, Siam and World War II trans. Jane Keyes (Bangkok, 1978) pp. 113.A fuller version appears in W.L. Swan, ‘Japanese Economic Relations withSiam, Aspects of their Historical Development 1884–1942,’ (PhD thesis, Australian National University, 1986) appendix, pp. 247–8.Google Scholar
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    The significance of Japan’s isolation for its 1930s policy-making is widely attested to. See especially G.R. Storry, Japan and the Decline of the West in Asia, 1894–1943 (London, 1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Iida, ‘Japan’s Relations with Independent Siam’, also reproduced as ‘King Wachirawut, Thai Nationalism and Taisho Japan’, in I. Nish (ed.), Japan-Thailand Relations (LSE ST/ICERD Discussion Paper 228 ), 1991.Google Scholar
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    See Louis Allen, The Longest War (London, 1984), esp. pp. 557–68, which places much emphasis on Burmese nationalist hero Aung San’s initial total devotion to the Japanese, and by contrast, the unwillingness of the originally more cautious Dr Ba Maw to ever disavow them.Google Scholar
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    W.H. Elsbree, Japan’s Role in Southeast Asian Nationalist Movements (New York, 1953).Google Scholar
  33. See also H. Grimai, Decolonization: the British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires 1919–1963 (London, 1978; original Paris edn, 1965).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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  • Nigel Brailey

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