The Summit Crisis of 1960

The summit crisis of 1960, caused by the Soviet shoot-down of a U-2 plane carrying Gary Powers on May 1, 1960 had important ramifications for the progression of the Cold War, but is little know these days. Recent events in the Ukraine possibly leading to a new Cold War give us more perspective on how governments and media operate in times where the Official Enemy can be blamed.

In the last quarter of 1957 the Soviets launched two satellites into space, the first time in history that this had happened, and that act caused much fear and changes in the United States. Shortly thereafter NATO met and decided to put offensive missiles into Europe, after which the Soviets called for a summit meeting between the Soviets and the NATO countries. They followed this up with visits to the United States by two high-ranking Soviet officials. At this time President Eisenhower visited India where he was hailed as the “Prince of Peace” and there made a conciliatory speech laying out the problems in the Cold War. The Soviets announced they were reducing their armed forces by one-third. Things in the world were looking positive for peace, after 15 years of the Cold War.

The summit was scheduled for early 1960. Though well-meaning, Eisenhower (a Libra whose mother was a member of a pacifist church) seemed to have little control over his subordinates, especially the new Secretary of State. His administration seemed to be sending mixed signals about the desirability of the upcoming summit, though the people of the United States were in favor of it. This had been pointed out by no less than Adlai Stevenson, who Eisenhower had defeated in the last two elections. He pointed out that the United States always insists on unconditional surrender from the Soviet Union, which is not very popular with that country.

A high-altitude U-2 spy plane took off on May 1 to surveil the Soviet Union, flown by Francis Gary Powers. It was shot down. Some at the time thought that the overflight so close to the summit was an attempt to sabotage of the summit by the CIA, and considering what we have learned about the CIA in the half-century since this would not surprise me in the least.  In any case it was extremely bad timing.  Before the United States knew that Powers was captured (he had a suicide pill), several government officials, including the President, lied and said it was a NASA experimental plane. When it was revealed that Powers was alive, America had egg on its face. The Soviets then gave Eisenhower a chance to back down gracefully and say it was a mistake by his subordinates. But Eisenhower, instead of admitting that it was a mistake, doubled down and claimed that America had a right to fly planes over the Soviet Union, something in violation of international law, and if it happened to America one can imagine that we would seek revenge. At this point, since it was rubbed in their face, the Soviets had no choice but to make a big deal of this incident.

As a result, the summit did not happen, and both sides grew more hostile in the coming years. This was right before John F. Kennedy was elected President on the basis of a fictitious “missile gap” . The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis both happened in the next two years, and Vietnam escalation was a short way off. The hopes of the people of the world, who had been subject to the Cold War and threat of nuclear Armageddon for over a decade, were crushed.

So this event was quite important to the formation of the Sixties. For a bit there it seemed that the Cold War could be modified or perhaps even eliminated, but after a shoot down of the U-2 the Cold War only increased in intensity, with the problems in Cuba, Berlin, and Vietnam a result.



U-2 Shoot Down

U-2 Shoot Down


The first chart is for that day as transits to the US chart. Notice that Mars is opposite the Natal Neptune and square natal Mars, and transiting Neptune is semisquare natal Neptune and sesquiquadrate natal Mars, and, as we will see later, transiting Neptune is sesquiquadrate transiting Mars. So what we have is a lot of Mars/Neptune, which emphasizes the Mars square Neptune in the United States. Mars-Neptune hard aspects indicate that it is difficult to handle ones energies cleanly. Perhaps one may want to do good, but it is easy to delude oneself about ones actions. There is something hinky about the use of energy. This message comes across clearly in this situation.

Then there is the tight conjunction between the transiting Node and the Neptune of the United States. This further emphasizes the Neptunian side of this event. Ebertin talks about a lack of community-sense. Next notice Venus, the planet of diplomacy – this was a summit meeting – is sesquiquadrate, exact at noon, to the Ascendant and square to Pluto. This emphasizes the Pluto-Ascendant semisquare in the US natal chart that we’ve talked about before. This aspect represents the shadow side of America, the US tendency to demand unconditional surrender from our enemies. Then there is Uranus semisaquarte both the Midheaven and Venus, and thus at the midpoint of the two natal planets – there will be upset in our international diplomacy. Finally transiting Jupiter is opposite natal Jupiter: the United States may be over-confident, will push things too far without considering the consequences. All these transits work together to reinforce a picture of what happened that day.


Summit — World Transits



Summit Harmonic 8


If we look at the transits for the day we see two hard aspect, Mars sesquiquadrate Neptune and Saturn sesquiquadrate Pluto. To see how tight these two aspects are, look at the eighth-harmonic of the same chart, in which sesquiquadrates are reduced to conjunctions. Both of these conjunctions are very close, showing they are very powerful at this time. We’ve shown several examples of the bad consequences that happen when there is a hard aspect between Saturn and Pluto; this is also a hard aspect, only not a square, opposition, or conjunction. But it is so tight, almost exact, that the harmful effects are shown as in the start of various wars.

Here was an occasion where the Cold War, that had gone on for 15 years, could have been modified or even ended, to the great support of many people in the world. This, however, would not have been good for the defense industries or the politicians who wanted the Cold War to continue, as Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address as the Military-Industrial Complex. But because an illegal flight was discovered in a most embarrassing way, this attempt was thwarted and the Cold War continued for another decade before a successful attempt to modify it actually happened. Then, a decade after that, the Cold War was given renewed energy, which was called at the time the New Cold War, not to be confused with the Cold War II which is happening now, at the same time as we have another Mars sesquiquadrate Neptune for the first half of this year.

Mush of this information is from chapter 20 of The Free World Colossus, David Horowitz (yes, that David Horowitz! He use to be a good historian.) 1965.


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