We have just seen a couple of more anniversaries in the preceding week, and they are both related. It all started out in the Nineteenth Century. Britain showed that the way to be a world power was to have colonies in countries that were not European. For Britain the most notable example was India. So other European powers thought they needed some colonies of their own — there was still plenty of the world left that Britain had not grabbed, especially in Africa and Asia. So France captured the countries of Southeast Asia now known as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia — the region known as Indochina since it is between India and China. This happened starting in 1887.
The natives of Indochina were not happy with this arrangement, but the colonies endured. But at the beginning of World War Two, France fell to the Germans and it was either occupied by Germany or else the Vichy government controlled part of France, and the Japanese occupied Vietnam. Shortly before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, an organization called the Viet Minh was formed in Vietnam to fight the Japanese occupation of the country. The Viet Minh were led by someone who would become well known later in the United States by the name of Ho Chi Minh. Part of his desire for freedom was based on that founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. At that time he still though of the United States as a bastion of freedom. When the Japanese were defeated, he declared Vietnam a free country, but the French, also liberated, but from Germany, decided to regain control of Vietnam.
Since the French had suffered through the Second World War, they did not have the resources to support a war in Indochina (even with money from the US Marshall Plan), so a majority of the money they needed to battle the Viet Minh was supplied by the United States under the Presidency of Harry Truman. The final battle of that first Indochina War was at Dien Bien Phu where the French were surrounded by the Viet Minh. The United States considered supplying nuclear bombs to defeat the Viet Minh, but fortunately that was never acted upon since the French soldiers and the Viet Minh were in such close proximity that the French would also have been killed if nuclear weapons had been used. The Viet Minh overran the French position and that was the end of French colonial ambitions in Vietnam.
Here is a chart for the fall of Dien Bien Phu to the Viet Minh. Mars is sesquiquadrat Pluto –explosive violence — and this battle is still important. In fact, one of the best correspondents of that war, before he died in 1967, was Bernard Fall, and his history of this battle is called Hell in a Very Small Place. In the fourth harmonic chart of the same event, we see Saturn half way between the Sun and Neptune — delusions come to a sorry end.
And to show that the United States has been involved in Vietnam for a long time, here is a chart for the first American killed in Vietnam. The man killed was a U.S. Army officer serving with the OSS (Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner of the CIA) and killed by the Viet Minh, who thought he was French. In this chart of the death of the first US soldier in Vietnam — the first of many — transiting Mars is conjunct the transiting Node (we will see this same configuration at about the same place later in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) and near the Sun of the US — the country would be involved here for the next 30 years, but that was not suspected at the time.
Emperor Bao Dai (backed by the French from 1949) was granted control of the Southern part of the country. A peace agreement was signed in 1954, allowing the withdrawal of the French, with an election to be held, and the country was temporarily divided at the 17th line of latitude. Dwight Eisenhower, the President of the United States, thought that Ho Chi Minh would easily win that election. But the elections were never held, the United States decided to support Bao Dai in the southern part of Vietnam as an anticommunist bulwark against the North. This was the height of the Cold War, and any threat from the Communists was threat to the “Free World”. After all, the United States had recently “lost” China and they were not about to allow that to happen again to Vietnam.
In 1955, the Catholic Ngo Ninh Diem defeated Bao Dia in an election (probably rigged) to become president of South Vietnam. He ruled a majority Buddhist country and there were continual protests by Buddhists of his discrimination against them, eventually reaching the level of self-immolation.
The United States first began to send troops to Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed by the US Congress. This was in response to an incident where the North Vietnam fired on a US Cruiser, though facts about that incident since then have cast doubt on the action, but it was one of many acts that were used to get a nation into war.
In the chart for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution there is a tight Uranus Pluto conjunction, with Mercury there as well. This action determined much hat was to transpire in the upcoming years and affect the lives of many, many Americans. Transiting Mars is conjoined transiting North Node (as we saw in the death of the first US soldier), suggesting again that this violence will touch many lives.
In the chart for the arrival of the first troops that were promised by that Resolution, we see the same Uranus Pluto conjunction, but this time joined with Mars — gunfire — instead of Mercury. The same Moon-Jupiter conjunction seen in the Gulf of Tonkin chart is here again. Many Americans were so optimistic that this would work out well!
The United States continued to send troops to Vietnam during the Sixties, resulting in wide-spread protest in this country against that. At that time there was a draft in the US and all young males had to appear for a draft physical. Student deferments while being in college were popular, and upon leaving college ex-students found themselves receiving draft notifications, which resulted in widespread draft card burnings. After Johnson resigned Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 to continue the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1970 — a date that is celebrated as an anniversary but not for the 1970 decision– Nixon announced an “incursion” into Cambodia and the college campuses erupted in protest. On May 4 National Guardsmen at the campus of Kent State in Ohio killed four students and wounded nine others. More protest and students strikes spread across campuses in the country, involving even students who had not protested the war. People in Ohio heavily backed the National Guardsmen. Less than three weeks later the song “Ohio” was written by Neil Young and recorded by the then “super-group” Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, with the haunting line: “Four Dead in Ohio”. It was released the next month and became an anthem.
In the event chart for the Kent State shooting, we see that it is just before the New Moon (about one day) and the Moon was on the MC at the time of the shooting — it was a very public shooting and the whole world was aware of it. Saturn is conjunct the Sun, speaking of the depression that resulted, at least among some people. Jupiter is at the lowest point, opposite the MC, and luck was certainly not present in this incident — “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground .” Pluto is semisquare the Ascendant and occupies the same relative position that it does in the US chart. The fourth harmonic version of this event chart allows us to see the aspects more easily. In the chart for the event on the US chart, we see that the midpoint of Uranus and Pluto is the MC of the US and Mars is on the Descendant — this was a martial event — “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming … Soldiers are cutting us down”.
Also, less than two weeks later, at Jackson State College in Mississippi, two students were killed by police in a similar protest to that in Ohio. But this did not get as much notice, partly because it happened later and partly because black students were killed, and there was nothing unusual then, and there is still nothing unusual, about black people being killed by police, as any number of recent incidents can attest to. But killing white students was unheard of, which is partly why it so upset other students. However, for many Americans, the students got what was coming to them.
But the Vietnam War was far from over, even though there were withdrawals of American troops from that country. In 1973 a forgotten peace agreement was signed in Paris. But the real end of the war, and another anniversary, is the rapid withdrawal of the final American presence from Vietnam on April 30, 1975. The is Reunification Day, a holiday recognized in the reunited Vietnam and especially in what is now know as Ho Chi Minh City.
It is hard to place an exact time for the withdrawal. At 10:24 that morning (Saigon time) there was an unconditional surrender by the leader of South Vietnam. But the actual withdrawal of the last US helicopter took place later that day. At the time Saigon was 8 hours East of Greenwich, and thus 12 hours (Daylight time in East coast) from Washington. I’m using a chart set for Noon on the East Coast of the US. Pluto is just past the MC and very elevated in the chart. Saturn is on the Sun of the US (depressed country!) and Neptune is on the Ascendant of the US, perhaps suggesting the bewilderment of United States citizens at this turn of events. Uranus and Pluto are far apart, the Sixties have ended. If we look at the fourth harmonic chart we see that there would be a grand square except that the Mercury-Pluto square is too wide. However, Mars is square Pluto, suggesting some of the violence that came at this withdrawal, and the condemnation that followed in the United States regarding a “stab in the back” of our brave forces. And notice that Uranus and Pluto are square in the fourth harmonic chart , and in fact the two planets are separated by a semi-semisquare of 22.5 degrees.