Looking back at events in the 1930’s, you wonder how the world slid into war and why countries could not see the writing on the wall. But living in those times, nothing seemed clear and most experts got it wrong. The British and French governments, under Chamberlain and Daladier, were convinced that appeasement in relation to Franco, Mussolini and Hitler was the wiser course, and only lone voices like Winston Churchill’s stood out for a more muscular stance. Astrologers in Britain predicted that war would not come, whilst one astronomer said that with the unusual alignment of planets in the early 1940’s, if astrology was supposed to work, war should be a possibility.
The lesson of this, is that when people are sucked into events, they have very little overview of what the future may bring. We are now experiencing a number of parallels to the period prior to World War II. This war did not come out of the blue, but was the result of catastrophic economic developments after the Great Depression, which started in 1929 and ravaged USA, Europe and Japan, and continued well up to the late 1930’s. Economists have likened the effect of this downturn to the Black Death, so severe was its effect on the social fabric. (Note 1)
But even before the Depression, Germany struggled under enormous war debts imposed by a vengeful France after the First World War. To deal with this, Germany printed money, which in 1923 resulted in a hyperinflation so surreal, that printing presses were working night and day to make money. In the end, the money was literally worth less than the paper it was printed on. People weighed the money instead of counting it. This was the Germany that ultimately welcomed Hitler, who put people back to work (making weapons), stabilized the economy and made Germany “great” again.
Emerging Political Systems
It is difficult to imagine the world of the 1930’s. Communism seemed a viable alternative to a failed capitalist system, even in the USA. The Spanish Civil War attracted fighters from all over the world, fascists and monarchists fighting on Franco’s side, and socialists, anarchists and communists fighting for equality on the Republican side. This was the defining struggle of the age – a struggle between good and evil, with each side demonizing the other. In the end, Communism proved the greater of the two evils, as soviet advisors brutally purged socialists and anarchists in Spain, whilst in Russia show trials exposed the hypocrisy of the system, which under Stalin resulted in the deaths of up to 20 million Russians through labor camps, collectivization, famine and execution. (Note 2)
Populism and Protectionism
The extreme circumstances of the 1930’s were partially reflected by the long-term square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer in the early thirties, which of course is similar to the recent series of seven squares, which took place from 2011-2014, this time from Aries to Capricorn. The 2008 financial meltdown, which started when Pluto entered Capricorn, has been the most serious economic downturn since the 1930’s. There have been consequences, and these have been especially felt by low and middle income families, who have then gravitated to populist leaders, and been attracted to nationalist and protectionist values – keeping immigrants out, and putting up trade tariffs. This discontent has been building up for many years, as the rich have become richer and the poor, poorer. Top management pay in 1965 was about 20 times a typical worker’s pay. In 2016, it was over 250 times greater.
Protectionism and isolationism strongly characterized the 1930’s as borders closed to immigrants, not least to Jews fleeing from Germany. Trade wars flourished, as Britain and the US tried to limit Japanese, Italian and German expansionism. Political forces in the US played a powerful role in limiting President Roosevelt’s New Deal aspirations, as well as creating a political climate of isolation and non-interference in Europe.
Democracy and Totalitarianism
These same parallels are clear today, both in Britain and Brexit, and in the USA. President Trump espouses policies strikingly like those of isolationist America in the Thirties. Now, as Uranus enters Taurus, just as it did in 1935, the urge is to protect, rather than to expand. Trade has become a zero-sum game, rather than win-win.
There is a strong link between the super-rich and those who feel poor. Both groups are motivated by the need to protect what they have, and stop other people getting it. This is the oldest need in the world. Populists the world over have tapped into the grievances that people feel, and used their votes to power their own greed. Civilizations have oscillated between periods when power has concentrated into the hands of the few, followed by social upheaval or war, and a period of creating democratic structures to ensure that totalitarian rule does not come back. Now, with totalitarian structures proliferating, as people vote for and support autocrats worldwide, we are approaching a tipping point.
The Coming Conjunction Cycle
Astrologically this is clearly reflected by Pluto in Capricorn, the current approach of Saturn to Pluto, which conjoins the eclipse cycle, both finally sealed by the grand conjunction of Jupiter with all three. The interplay between Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto lasts throughout 2020, but in the last part of that year Mars in Aries makes a series of squares to all three, moving retrograde at 28 Aries in early September, and direct at 15 Aries in mid-November. The US election on November 3rd reflects this pattern well:
USA election. Tuesday 3rd November 2020, 7.00 Washington DC.
The contact of Mars in Aries with Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto prior to and after the US election suggests a virulent and aggressive campaign, a fight to the death, and a determination to win. The autocratic trends peak, yet at the same time, autocracy is in its death throes, soon to be replaced by a resurgence of democratic power in 2021, as Jupiter and Saturn pass through Aquarius. When Saturn meets Pluto, it does not create autocracy, it meets its nemesis. With Jupiter approaching both, then the law courts play a powerful role. So, whilst autocrats desperately try to save the structures they have created by manipulating the law, democratic forces use the law to skewer the autocrats. As both Saturn and Jupiter arrive in Aquarius prior to the January 2021 US inauguration, this seems to point to a win for democracy.
Hitler – the Popular Leader
It is worth remembering that Hitler himself won power through democratic elections. Of course, he outlawed and imprisoned the opposition immediately afterwards, but even then, people were proud of their Fuehrer, and willing to look away from inconceivable injustices now that employment, prosperity and national pride were getting re-established, culminating in the 1936 Olympics where Germany won 86 medals. (And England won 14.)
The horoscope for the inauguration of Hitler as Chancellor depicts the instability of the time, with Venus constellating with the Uranus-Pluto square. The Moon in Aries and a muscular Mars-Jupiter conjunction in exact sextile to Pluto shows Hitler seizing the moment, whilst the Neptune-South Node conjunction shows the chaos and dissolution surrounding him.
Hitler becomes Chancellor. 20th Jan 1933. 11.25 Berlin. AS 29.20 TA
Once in power, Hitler scapegoated Jews, built up the military and worked on his plan to give Germany more lebensraum (= territory) In March 1938 he undermined the democratic leadership of Austria and the two countries merged. England and France made feeble objections. Germany then demanded parts of Czechoslovakia with German populations. Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement to secure “peace in our time”. Germany then occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia. Nobody wanted to go to war over that, and the France and England sold out the principles of democracy to a power-hungry dictator for a spurious peace.
The Coming of War
War was finally declared by the democratic powers when Hitler broke all promises and invaded Poland, convinced that democracies in Europe were weak, outdated and crumbling. It seems to be a characteristic of democracies that they are badly equipped to stand up to powerful men who are willing to completely trample over accepted norms. Trump has more than once expressed envy for autocrats who can rule without oversight. Democracy can be very inconvenient.
Outbreak of World War 2. 1st Sep 1939 4.16 Gdansk, Poland AS 1 VI
The first real military engagement in World War 2 was when Germany without warning bombarded Danzig from air and sea on September 1st. Britain and France declared war 2 days later. The horoscope shows a Saturn-South Node in Taurus in square to Pluto in Leo, reflecting the war juggernaut and monumental power struggle to come. Uranus is in Taurus, in trine to Neptune with Mars in Capricorn completing the grand trine, and as the first bombs rained down on Danzig, the MC activated this pattern – the dream of acquiring “living space” to the East.
Following the movement of the slow-moving planets, you can see that Jupiter moves through Aries to catch up with Saturn, which has moved with Uranus into Gemini, and this coincided with the dramatic development of flight, and ultimately with thousands of bombers filling the skies to destroy major German cities. Air power became decisive.
These planetary movements parallel current movements, where Saturn, Pluto and the South Node combine here in 2019, being particularly potent at the solar eclipse on July 2nd, when the Sun-Moon at 10 Cancer opposes Saturn and the Node at 17 Capricorn with Pluto at 22 Capricorn. This of course is just prior to the July 4th celebrations in the USA, powerfully activating the horoscopes for USA and Trump.
Of course, 2020 is not 1940. Everything has changed. Since this time, wars have become proxy wars, carried out by countries without weapons of mass destruction. World Wars have become unthinkable. We now live in a connected world, and we are becoming more dependent on the internet and wireless communications. The global battles of the future may well take place in a cyber world, although the chaos and destruction can be just as real. Probably, countries large and small have already planted bugs in major foreign infrastructures, and just need to send a simple message to release digital chaos. There can still be nuclear misunderstandings, especially as current nuclear accords between Russia and the US have been allowed to lapse. Normally Saturn-Pluto combinations see stronger control of nuclear weapons, but so far this has been focused on preventing proliferation and on controlling North Korea in particular.
The big struggle now is between globalism and nationalism, between free trade and protectionism, between short-term greed and climate responsibility. Blinkered politicians, like Trump, cannot see beyond their term of office, whilst young people feel a long-term concern for the planet. You would have to be blind not to see that in the end people of all races and beliefs will intermingle peacefully all over the world. White supremacists as well as religious fundamentalists are fighting a rearguard action against the inevitable reality of a united world where we feel as one. Getting there in these times of major transition is the big challenge.
Adrian Ross Duncan. 20th March 2019
1. Much of the information about the 1930’s has been gleaned from “Dark Valley. A panorama of the 1930s”, by Piers Brendon.
2. According to the Russian historian Roy Medvedev