Continued from page 1

But the effects of Mr. Phibun’s fervently nationalistic agenda (“Thailand for Thais”) can still be seen and felt today., a Thai news website, published a satirical article Friday about a Thai teacher’s struggle to explain why the Nazi parade was wrong to a female Sacred Heart student.

“But sir, if the Nazis wanted racial purity, a sort of Germany for the Germans, isn’t that the same as Thailand for the Thais? I mean, our civics classes are full of ideas about being truly Thai,” the student tells her teacher.

“And this [Nazi expansionist idea of a ‘Greater Germany’]. Isn’t this like these maps of Thailand in all our history books showing the bits of [Laos] and [Malaysia] and Cambodia and so on that should be Thailand?” the student says.

Sanitsuda Ekachai, assistant editor of the English-language Bangkok Post, wrote last week: “For people who have grown up in a country where toddlers are ordered to turn left and right like soldiers since kindergarten, while the male high school students are forced to cut their hair like the Marines - and where a coup d’etat is a common occurrence - many have simply come to accept militarism as part of life.”

Thailand has had 18 successful or attempted coups since the 1930s, the most recent in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Catholic school’s students’ attention to detail in their outfits - which included purchased hats, scarves and other regalia - prompted some critics to suggest that parents and teachers knew about and funded the parade.

“From the visual evidence, it is clear that this Nazi celebration could not have taken place without the knowledge and cooperation of the school administration,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at a Jewish human rights group that offered to provide educational materials about “Nazi mass murder.”