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I read a Wikipedia article about military history of Thailand and it left me a taste of anti-Thai bias.

It is known that Thailand in 1940 (after the fall of Paris and establishment of Vichy government) assaulted nearby French colonial possessions in an attempt to restore own sovereignty.

This event described in Wikipedia as a "war of aggression". Yet it is difficult for me to see it as an aggression rather than an anti-colonial war, especially given that Thailand was returning the previously-lost territories. The assault on France is described as an attack on an Allied country, but it seems to me very much doubtful as Vichy France can be equally well considered a part of the Axis.

Furthermore, Wikipedia discribes the Thai government of Plaek Phibunsongkhram who was in office at the time as "fascist" which claim also looks quite doubtful (for example I never saw a definitely pro-Axis government of Japan being called "fascist"). The Thai government at the time kept good relations with the Great Britain and other allied powers.

Later, in 1941 Thailand was invaded by Japan in an attack, coordinated with the attack on Perl Harbor. Although the resistance of Thai army was minimal (even though there were some points of fierce fighting), this definitely puts Thailand in the set of countries attacked by the Axis.

After the invasion Thailand surrendered and joined the Axis as a puppet state (with Japanese occupation continuing).

Yet there was quite successful and numerous underground resistance movement. Wikipedia says that this resistance movement is the only reason for rehabilitation of Thailand. I am still curious why Thailand being a conquered country needs "rehabilitation" at all?

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Raise issues in the wikipedia talk page if you still think there is a problem with the page (a taste of anti-Thai bias say) after this has been answered. –  Nathan Cooper Jan 4 '13 at 18:26
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Looks like you're right, the wiki paragraph there does sound rather biased. Note also this: "The war ended indecisively. Disputed territories in French Indochina ceded to Thailand.". Sounds to me more like the Thai won actually. –  Felix Goldberg Jan 4 '13 at 21:10
    
@FelixGoldberg that's just standard French spin to prevent admitting defeat... again... –  Ryathal Jan 4 '13 at 21:33
    
They needed "rehabilitation" to avoid heavy reparations and gain political concessions from the US. From the Japanese Occupation wiki page - "As a result of the contributions made to the Allied war efforts by the Free Thai Movement, the United States, which unlike the other Allies had never officially been at war with Thailand, refrained from dealing with Thailand as an enemy country in postwar peace negotiations." –  RI Swamp Yankee Jan 10 '13 at 18:27
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How do you mean? They declared war on Britain, and gave material and military aid to British enemies while seizing British property (sawmills, mostly). This is all covered, with references, in the wiki articles referenced. (Questions on the legitimacy of colonial empire aside.) –  RI Swamp Yankee Jan 10 '13 at 18:46

2 Answers 2

The Thais had a puppet government that followed will of the Japanese (such as declaring war on the Allies). That made them nominally, at least, an Axis power. Also, Thailand allowed its territory to be used by the Japanese as a springboard for their invasions of Burma (Myanmar) and the East Indies (modern Indonesia).

Even so, Thailand contributed few troops or other supplies to Japan during World War II. Thus, their "participation" on the Axis side was treated (and viewed) as "symbolic." The role "Free" (dissident) Thais in resisting the Japanese somewhat mitigated the stigma that was attached to the official Thai government for its actions during the war.

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The fascist government of Thailand was pressured into declaring war on the Allies by the Japanese, who strong-armed their way into Thailand to build military bases and roads. The Thai government went along, hoping that this would appease the Japanese, who would leave after the war. (You'd think they would have heard of Manchuko or Korea...)

Here is the Wiki article on the Japanese Occupation of Thailand that explains it.

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Was not Thailand already occupied by the Japanese at the time? That is the government was a puppet one (possibly like in Denmark, China etc). –  Anixx Jan 4 '13 at 19:26
    
@Anixx I believe they had a (very little) bit more independence than the Vichy - control over their military and a free hand in domestic affairs, etc. At least, at first... –  RI Swamp Yankee Jan 4 '13 at 20:21
    
but weren't they completely occupied unlike Vichy? –  Anixx Jan 4 '13 at 20:24
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What are the grounds to call it "fascist"? –  Anixx Jan 7 '13 at 18:05
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many countries were dictatorships at the time. For example, I never heard even of Finland being callar "fascist". Similarly, Japan and Kuomintang China. –  Anixx Jan 7 '13 at 18:43

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