The Great Depression of the decade of the 1930s affected the United States and the rest of the industrial world. It started in the United States with the stock market crash of late 1929. The two important dates of the crash were Black Thursday — October 24. 1929 — and Black Tuesday — October 29, 1929 — when the market fell severly. After these two events, it became clear that a crisis had developed, even though few had an idea of how long it would last. The Republican President at the time, Herbert Hoover, who had taken office in March of that year, was not very effective at curbing the unemployment resulting from the stock market crash. The worst years of the Depression were 1932 and 1933. One of the things that most upset the public about Hoover’s term was his handling of the Bonus March that culminated on July 28, 1932. Hoover had been considered a boy wonder, earning his first million — he was a mining engineer — by the age of 40. He had performed miracles in such things as relieving the famine in Belgium after World War I, and was considered a Progressive, even though he was a Republican, as was another Progressive politician Theodore Roosevelt.
In the Bonus March, an army out-of-work veterans of World War I and their families rallied in Washington, D.C. to claim the money that had been promised them for service in the War but wouldn’t come due until 1945. At that point in the Depression that certainly needed it. The police forces of Washington at first tried to control the situation, which resulted in two deaths from shooting. Then Hoover sent General Douglas McArthur (Army Chief of Staff) to control them, and he was somewhat harsh, burning down the camps that they had set up, which were probably the first Hoovervilles that dotted the landscape of America after the Great Depression set in, serving as homes to the homeless. He also sent in mounted troops and tanks to disperse the residents of the camps, charging that the veterans were infiltrated by Communists. Accompanying McArthur was a young office by the name of Dwight David Eisenhower, but he was not involved in the bloodshed. Eisenhower would subsequently rise to commanding officer of all the troops in Europe during World War II, but he never was involved in killing. Perhaps this was because his mother was a member of a Peace church. He late went on to be President of the United States. But since Hoover had given the orders, Hoover was the person who got the blame for this catastrophe in dealing with veterans.
After Hoover was so tarnished by the Bonus March catastrophe, the Democrat Franklin Roosevelt was easily elected. After 1933 unemployment decreased until 1937 and 1938, when what is called the Roosevelt Depression occurred. After his re-election in 1936, with the largest majority ever for a President, FDR thought the Depression was just about over and he stopped much of the government spending that had helped people. He was wrong on this. Full employment did not return until the US got itself involved in World War II, which really heated up the defense industries, which employed many, and also sent many civilians into the military, were they were employed.
This first chart is for October 24. What I find most interesting is that the transiting Moon, which travels at about 1 degree every two hours, was exactly opposite natal Pluto, which at the time was unknown but would be discovered the next year on February 18. Pluto rules large, transformative events, which certainly fits the Great Depression. The aspect was exact at 9:08 that evening.
The second charts for is for Tuesday, October 29. At 11:29 that morning the Moon was directly on the Midheaven. By this time the public and the world were aware of what was going on, that a stock market crash had happened.
The third chart is a graphical ephemeris for one year starting the middle of 1929. There were three aspects involved in the Great Depression, involving the three outer planets. One was a square of Uranus and Pluto, which was the closing square of those two planets before the conjunction of the Sixties. This accounts for the rebellions of the thirties, and in fact it looked increasingly like there would be a revolution just before Roosevelt was elected. Then there was a sesquiquadrate between Uranus and Neptune, which also lasted during most of the Thirties. Finally there was a semisquare between the two outer-most planets, Neptune and Pluto; these were conjunct in the 1890s, and would form a long sextile during the Cold War. These three planets went in and out of orb during the decade of the Thirties. We can see from this graphical ephemeris that the last aspect (Neptune semisquare Pluto) was within two degrees of exact at the end of October, and would be exactly semisquare for the first time about two months later.
Here is a chart for the Bonus March. The army came at 4:45 that afternoon, but the killing occurred before that time. This chart is drawn up for 4 pm, just as the Moon was setting on the US chart, and thus on the Descendant. And indeed, it was setting for the government of Herbert Hoover. The tightest aspect in this chart is Jupiter opposite the Moon of the US with orb of 2 minutes, almost exact. One meaning for Jupiter is “bonus” or plenty, what the people of the United States were demanding. Unfortunately the next tightest aspect, at 5 minutes, is Saturn trine the Midheaven: The government of the US was stingy. But the next President, Franklin Roosevelt, was able to provide Jupiter — optimism — in spades, it was one of his major accomplishments. Roosevelt was born when Jupiter had just turned direct, and so it was slowly moving in his natal chart.
The next chart shows the 10 year period from 1929 to 1939. It is an harmonic 8 chart (as was the previous graphical ephemeris) so that when any of those two outer planets are making an aspect, the lines will come together. You can see how those three outer planets go in an out of aspect during this period You can also see that the tightest clumping of the three planets occurs in 1932 and 1933 (black arrow), and they slowly drifted apart after that as the depression got less worse.
This wheel chart is set up for 9/9/1932 showing the three outer planets and the aspects binding them that are most exact: Uranus square Pluto, Uranus sesquiqadrate Neptune, and Neptune semisquare Pluto.
It is also interesting to note that Pluto was transiting opposite its natal position — US chart — during the time of the New Deal. Since Pluto is moving faster at this time than it was a century ago, it will complete the circuit and return to its natal position in a few more years, as we will discus later.