Korean War

The Korean War was the first “hot” war to come out of the recently formed Cold War, and the first (of many)  wars that the United States would not “win”.  As we will see below, the Korean War was basically Saturn and Neptune.  Those two planets don’t have a terribly good reputations, and together they are not improved.  Saturn and Neptune over the years were explored recently.

The Korean War started  on June 25, 1950 when the North, expecting to be invaded by the South, invaded the South in advance.  The War ended on July 27, 1953, after a couple of years of indecisive combat.  But, strangely enough, the Korean War has never been officially ended.  An armistice was declared, ending the hostilities, but a  peace treaty has never been signed to this day.

But to understand the origins of the Korean War, and the behavior of North Korea even to this day  (as I write, North Korea is accused of hacking the computers of Sony (a Japanese company) because of a movie depicting the assassination of the leader of North Korea, even though the evidence does not really exist and a former employee of Sony Pictures is accused by a company involved with computer security)  we need to look at the history proceeding the division of the Korean Peninsula into two zones.

It  all goes back to the end of World War Two.  Korea had been occupied by Japan since the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Korean-supplied  “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during World War II is just one manifestation of this.   The Koreans were not happy with this act and are still trying to get Japan to apologize for this.  After the War the peninsula was split arbitrarily at the 38th degree of latitude and the Northern half was given to those who had been against the Japanese during the War, and some who had fought with the Chinese against Japan, while the South was given to those who had supported the Japanese during the Second World War, and who were also, interestingly enough, friendly with the Americans.  The first leader of North Korea, the grandfather of the current leader, had served with Mao during the civil war in China.  The two parts of Korea did not get along well.  There were also some rebellions in the Southern part from people of South Korea who were not happy with being ruled by supporters of their enemies.  Some of these rebellions were ruthlessly put down by the South Koreans, at times with help from their American allies.


Start Korean War

At the start of the Korean War transiting Neptune was on the US Saturn with an orb of 14 minutes.  It was   stationary  direct at the time and had been close to the US Saturn two month before and two months after the start  of the war.  Also on that day the transiting Sun was conjunct  transiting Uranus, suggesting unexpected events, and these two planets were on the Venus-Jupiter conjunction which is part of the core of the United States.  Mars was just past the Midheaven of the US and had crossed it two weeks earlier, at which time the transiting Sun was on the US Mars.

The Cold War was  high in America  at this time, since the Soviet Union had exploded its first atomic bomb in the previous year. The Communists had also defeated the Kuomintang in the Chinese Civil War the previous year, and Joseph McCarthy had made his notorious charge that the State Department was filled with Communists a few months earlier.  The United States was able  to convince the UN to sign on to the War only because the Soviets were boycotting  the General Assembly to protest the exclusion of the new Chinese government from that body.  The Korean War was used  to increase the defense budget of the US for fiscal year 1951 by almost five times from the previous year.   The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO – still in the news after all these years) had been formed the previous year and  was put on a more military basis.  The US had also recently passed NSC-68 — a founding document of the Cold War  — which put forth the policy of containment of the Communist menace.  This policy  was maintained until Nixon started a policy of détente with the Soviets, which was then again changed to a more active policy of rollback when Reagan assumed the Presidency.

The Year of 1950 was a good one for the US in the Korean War.  The American forces (actually called UN forces, with token representations from other countries) were led by a hero of the Pacific battles of World War II, General Douglas MacArthur.  MacArthur invaded Korea at Inchon in what was a questionable move, and it turned out to be a tremendous victory; then he rapidly pushed the North Korean troops back across the 38th parallel that divided the two halves of the Korean Peninsula, thus achieving the status quo before the invasion of the North.  The  war had been won at that point. If only MacArthur had declared victory at that point most of the bloodshed of the war would have been avoided.


Korean War Inchon Landing

In the chart for the start of the Inchon invasion, we see the Sun-Saturn conjunction of the US Neptune, repeating the Saturn-Neptune that highlights the Korean War.  Transiting Uranus if midway between Jupiter-Venus and Sun  — a good time for America.  And  finally, Neptune is still on the US Saturn; the war has gone on for less than half a year.


MacArthur Crosses the 38th Parallel

Two  weeks later MacArthur crossed the 38th parallel, thus entering North Korea.  The chart for this shows Venus conjunct Saturn — that does not promise good — midway between Saturn and the MC of the US.  For Venus at the midpoint of Saturn and the Midheavewn Ebertin says “bearing grief or suffering” which describes the rest of the Korean War, that had started  out so well for what was called he UN troops.

But no.  MacArthur wanted to conquer the Northern part of the peninsula and so he pushed forward.  And then, perhaps driven by the anti-Communist fear of his homeland, wanted to use the atomic bomb to replace the new Communist government in China.  This brought China into the war.  MacArthur so infuriated Truman that he was fired by the President.  MacArthur returned to the United States with a hero’s welcome, and many people thought that Truman was wrong.  Much fighting went on for the next two years with nothing resolved.  Dwight David Eisenhower, commander of troops in Europe during World War II and at that time President of Columbia University, then ran  for President of the United States vowing that he would end the Korean War.   The war in fact ended a few months after he took office.


End Korean War

Here are two charts for the end of the Korean War.  In the chart showing transits to the US, the Saturn-Neptune conjunction is trine the US Mars; Jupiter is also conjunct that Mars and thus square the US Neptune.  As discussed previously Saturn-Neptune is important.  In the chart for just the transits at the end of the war, we again see the Saturn-Neptune conjunction trine  transiting Venus with Pluto sextile Neptune-Saturn and Venus.  As  previously indicated, the long sextile of Neptune and Pluto is the marker of the long Cold War.  Also Uranus is square Neptune, a highlight of the Fifties which we will discuss at some other time.


Korean War End


Saturn and Neptune: Disillusion

There are many quadrature aspects — square, opposition, conjunction — of Saturn and Neptune: they happen about once a decade.  (Disclosure: The author has Saturn and Neptune configured to a Personal Point.)  Saturn represents discipline, discrimination, restriction; it has a bad reputation but without Saturn things would go wildly out of control.  Neptune represents spirit, imagination, unconscious drives, illusion, deception.  Neptune can be a very transcendent force, but unfortunately many people have a difficulty recognizing it (cf. mental illness)  and there seems to be even more difficulty with the forces represented  by Neptune when people act as a mass.

Richard Tarnas talks about this combinations representing confusion, doubt, alienation, uncertainty, disenchantment, disillusion, sorrow, and conciliation.  Saturn allows you to see through the illusions that Neptune brings, though that is not always comfortable.  Sometimes we are happier with our illusions  and dreams and do not want to awaken  from them and have to face reality.  But sometimes we need to face reality to grow.

Saturn and Neptune combinations are difficult to describe accurately — the hard nosed  reality of Saturn versus the numinous quality of Neptune.  Ebertin gives  the principle for this combination as “suffering, renunciation, asceticism”.  I think it will be more useful to look at examples of this pair of planets from history.


Korean War

There was a Saturn-Neptune conjunction in the closing years of the Korean War.  The Korean War had started  out with high hopes among the Americans and their allies, but as  it dragged on with no progress but increasing causalities,  the war became less and less popular and people became disillusioned (a Saturn-Neptune word).  It often happens  that after the reality of any war seeps into people’s consciousness, the patriotic  and jingoistic feelings they had at the beginning tend to fade.  For the Korean War this loss of illusion is illustrated by the movie and later television show MASH.


End of World War I

The closing square of those two planet directly preceding the conjunction of the Korean War was in 1944-45 and indicates the feeling of dread among, most especially the Germans and the Japanese, when people saw that the war started with such high hopes for ruling the word end in such misery.  And  life in the German and Japanese homelands was not very nice after the Allied bombings of such places as Dresden and Tokyo.  For the Allies, even though the end of the war in Europe was clear after D-Day (June 6, 1944) there was still much fighting to do.  In the Pacific theater, there were events like the Bataan Death March and the more  recent Battle of Iwo Jima that were ominous suggestions that the Pacific war would last for a long while, even though Japan’s desire for surrender was known to high officials.


Roosevelt Depression

The opposition of Saturn and Neptune preceding that was 1936-37.  This is often called the “Roosevelt Depression”.  After  his  re-election with a huge majority, FDR felt that the economy was improving so well that he could cease so much government interference in the economy.  He was wrong, and the employment rate rose again.  The country did not really get out of the Depression until spending for the Second World War started up.  The optimism engendered by the New Deal was tarnished  when unemployment increased.



The square before that was in 1926.  In the United States this was the year of the Scopes trial, celebrated in the play and movie Inherit the Wind.  It represented the outcome of the conflict between the forces of modernism represented  by Darwin and his theory of evolution, and the fundamentalist who took the Bible literally.  In that case the illusions and beliefs of the fundamentalist had came up against the reality of the modern world, and lost.   But here we are now 90 years later and it appears that the forces arrayed against modernism are stronger that ever.


World War I

The conjunction before that was in 1917.  The  war people were being disillusioned with was the First World War (“The War To End All Wars”), which was much bloodier than anyone could have  imagined before, and lasted much longer than many had thought.  World War I was the first truly industrial war, with poison gas, machine guns, tanks, and airplanes.  In some battles only a few feet of territory were captured in a day.   The whole generation of people, whether or not they fought in the war , were disillusioned. The escape of the Twenties was one result of a retreat from that war.


Last Transcontinental Walk

The closing square before this was in 1909.  One of the events of that year, which takes on much more importance  in hindsight, is referred to in a  recent book called The Last Great Walk by Wayne Curtis.  Though it is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend now that once, a century ago, many people use to walk for recreation and competition.  In 1909 an American Edward Weston (not the photographer) walked from New York to San Francisco and it was covered by the news media.  This turned out to be the last time such a walk was attempted because the automobile was taking over the country for transportation and  even recreation.  This would  have many unintended consequences that could not be guessed of at that time, a little over 100 years ago.  As  a result of the automobile’s increasing dominance of the world, the atmosphere has filled  up with car exhaust resulting in the climate change that is becoming apparent now.   People’s lack of exercise due to being able to drive anywhere has resulted in increased obesity and many physical diseases that were relatively unknown at the time, as well as many traffic accidents that kill tens of thousands of people per year and result in injuries  ranging from minor to crippling to many more people.  And the layout and design of cities, and the birth of suburbs and bedroom communities, have been altered the world in a way that is difficult to erase.


Dreyfus Affair

The opposition before that took place at the turn of the century.  This time was especially potent as discussed  previously  and we can see from our perspective that it was truly the death of the old society that had existed  up to the Twentieth Century, and Modernism was being born.  But on a more particular level, consider the Dreyfus Affair in France.  A member of the French military had been sentenced for treason in the early part of the last decade of the Nineteenth Century.  Many, perhaps most, at least in France, had initially accepted the verdict.   But as time went on more doubts arose,  and the actual person who had committed the treason,  a relative of Hungarian royalty, was found.  Dreyfus had been brought back from the French penal colony on Devil’s Island off the coast of South America for a second trial in 1899.  While he was expected to be freed, the second trial also found him guilty. The  uproar of such  a miscarriage of justice forced the government of France to pardon him, and Dreyfus was convinced to accepted the pardon.  What has seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the decade turned out to be a large stain on France.


Civil War

The opposition of Saturn and Neptune before that was 1862-63.  This was the Civil War in America, whose disillusion colored the next forty years.  Now that we are celebrating the 150th anniversary no one remembers just how bloody were the battles and how many people of the country were affected.  This was by far the biggest war ever fought on US soil.   One book that tries to capture the horror of the Civil War is This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust.


Death of Kennedy

Moving forward after the Korean War, the opening square after that war was 1963.  The young president of the United States,  John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed  by assassination.   Many people at the time though this was the end of innocence  of America, that the Dream of Camelot was gone.  Even now there is much nostalgia for this time and Kennedy is considered a great peace maker, even though during his term the world   came  closer to a nuclear war than any time   before or since, though currently we are trying our best to gin up another war with a nuclear power, under a President who has been compared to Kennedy.


Late Vietnam War

The following opposition was in 1970-71. The Vietnam War had gone on for at least ten years, increasingly bloody, with little possibility of victory just around the corner, even though many government officials always saw a light at the end of the tunnel.  There was increasing dissent in the United States, and things were occasionally turning violent.  It was also the end of that mythical time called “The Sixties” — a killing at the rock concert at the Altamont Speedway in California the previous year was  regarded as the end.  Reality was back.


End of Carter Presidency

The square after that was in 1979-80.  This was near the end of the Carter presidency in the United States, and people were just plain disillusioned.  The hostages from the American embassy in Tehran had been captured by Iranian militants and American were increasingly unhappy with the Revolutionary government in Iran, unaware that the deposed Shah of Iran had been put in place  by the CIA over 35 years previously.  There was increasing anger towards Iran — the slogan “Nuke Iran” was appearing as graffiti in many places.  An attempted rescue of the hostages had gone very bad.  Carter delivered his famous “Maliase” speech which portended  our current crises, but at that time only depressed people further.  Also, an urge for “market solutions” was welling up from the populace, having been propagandize by corporations following the Powell Doctrine, put in place in the early part of the decade by Lewis Powell, who was on the Supreme Court at the time.  This doctrine urged businesses to fight back since they were being out gunned by the forces of democracy from the Sixties.


Fall of Berlin Wall

The conjunction  in 1989 will be dealt with separately.  This time saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and of many Communist countries such as Poland.  The Communist experiment, which had first successfully taken control of a government 60 years previously was  coming apart at the seams.


Impeachment of Bill Clinton

The  square after this was in 1998-99.  This  was the closing years of the Clinton Presidency and saw the impeachment of that President.  The long impeachment of the President went on for months and alternatively filled the  news cycle and disgusted much of the American public.  By the end of the impeachment any remaining glow of the Clinton Presidency was gone, and the boom of the Clinton years, due to the “”dot.com”  bubble that had expanded after the World Wide Web and the public awareness of the Internet, which had existed for 30 years by that point, was about to break.  As  is typical in modern times, by the last two  years of a two term Presidency, everyone was ready for something else.


Iraq War Fatigue

Finally  the opposition after that was in 2006-07.   The War in Iraq had been going on for a few years, and not only were people disillusioned with that war, in America and abroad,  but Americans were also disillusioned with the whole Bush presidency.  There was talk about impeaching him.  This call  was  not taken up by the “loyal opposition”, which did not want to rock the ship of state but to only assume the reins of power. There was also a large housing boom, where many, many people were getting into the market, and very few warned that this would end badly.