Event Reports

First World War Centenary

European and Thai Experiences

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Thailand together with the Thai-German Society Thailand, the German Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG) and the Chulalongkorn University held a colloquium on the impact of the wars on Thailand and Germany.

Together with the director of the German Historical Institute in Rome, Prof. Dr. Martin Baumeister, Thai and German representatives of scientific, political and civil society organizations discussed the reasons and the characteristics of World War I and its impacts on the two countries and the political development in the first half of the 20th century.

Prof. Baumeister lectured about the previously unknown level of violence during World War I and its impact on the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. Prof. Dr. Pornsan Watanangura from Chulalongkorn University, Henning Glaser from the German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance as well as Prof. Dr. Kittisak Prokati from Thammasat University supplemented this with inputs about the high number of European crisis before the outbreak of World War I and the consequences of the war on the Weimar Republic. Dr. Stefan Hell of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta and the former Foreign Minister of Thailand, Dr. Tej Bunnag, in addition, dealt with the role of Thailand during the war and in the League of Nations, which was founded in 1920. Dr. Catthiyakorn Sasitharamas of Srinakharinwirot University also explained the role of Russia and the USA in the war. Furthermore, the anti-war film "Westfront 1918" was already presented with a critical introduction by Prof. Baumeister and subsequent discussion.

Since World War I found little attention in Thailand so far, the event could make a contribution to a deeper understanding of the world’s history, 100 years ago. The lively interest of the audience led to some questions about the impact of World War I on the failure of the Weimar Republic. It became clear, that a stable constitution needs institutions that support the democratic principles. It was also pointed out, which reasons were responsible for the weakness of the Weimar Democracy and which lessons therefore were drawn in Europe. Especially in light of the current political and social development in Thailand, these findings are helpful.

Contact Person

Georg Gafron