Siam or Thailand: What’s in a name?

Siam or Thailand: What's in a name? - Bangkok Post, January 10, 2008
...Contemporary observers also pointed out that the change of name was not simply a rejection of a name that had been imposed by foreigners, it was at the same time a preparation for the Thai to assume a leading role among all Thai peoples.
The former British ambassador Sir Josiah Crosby also clearly identified the underlying reason why Phibun's government decided to change the word Siam to Thailand. Crosby stated: ''The fact that the official change of nomenclature should have been made in coincidence with the launching of the Pan-Thai movement may be interpreted not unfairly as the indication of a desire to familiarise outsiders with the claim of Siam to be regarded as the mother-country of all peoples of Thai race.''
Typical for the thinking of the 1930s and early '40s, it did not occur to the proponents of a larger united land of all Thai peoples to ask themselves whether or not the peoples speaking related languages were interested in joining such a new venture, nor whether they were willing to accept Bangkok's rule.
Nevertheless, a growing number of Thais could be forgiven for dreaming of a much larger country, one including northern Burma, parts of southern China, Laos, large parts of Indochina and major extensions on the Malay Peninsula.
The dream of more than doubling their territory, at first a murmur with the weakening of the colonial powers and China, became a distinct possibility, a scenario whereby a subtle, clever leadership should be quick to act when opportunity would present itself.
Premier Phibun was just the man for this difficult task, a master at playing off _ telling the British the Thais would remain neutral at all costs while at the same time secretly manoeuvring towards a pact with the Japanese.
...Should a Thai government ever wish to indicate the beginning of a new era, it could hardly find a more effective symbol than a re-investiture of the old name.
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