The Previous Cycle (45 years)
The previous cycle started with the conjunction in May 1942, then an outgoing square in December 1951, the opposition in April 1965 and the incoming square in October 1975. (The new cycle started in February 1988.) What ‘Relationship between intellectual change and the Status Quo’ did this cycle signify’?
CONJUNCTION April 1941 to June 1943 (exact in May 1942)
The meaning advanced for the 1988 – 2032 cycle is a new mindset seeking the overthrow of governments, institutions and practices that inhibit freedom – specifically reflected in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War on the one hand and the restructuring of traditional investment infrastructures and practices on the other. What new mindset could have been born in 1942 ? May 1942 is of course smack in the centre of World War Two and at first sight it seems impossible to here find evidence for a new wave of ideas or a new intellectual mindset beginning to sweep away established political, economic, institutional and other structures. But we shall examine carefully the events within a 10 degree orb of this Conjunction – between April 1941 and June 1943.
DO THE START OF MAJOR WARS USUALLY CORRESPOND WITH THESE CYCLES ?
It is worth answering at this stage the question of whether the start of huge historical conflicts like the two World Wars exactly corresponds with one or more of these outer planet cycles. The outbreak of the 1914 – 1918 War did in fact coincide with a Saturn/Pluto conjunction, a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction and a Jupiter/Neptune opposition (see relevant Cycle chapters). However the outbreak of the 1939–1945/46 War coincided only with a Jupiter/Neptune opposition although the next year 1940 saw a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction along with a Saturn/Pluto square and a Jupiter/Pluto square (see relevant Cycle chapters). Although some writers have argued (Simon Pople AAJ 9/02) that the Saturn/Pluto cycle shows a close correlation with wars measured by the number of people killed in them, the fact remains that though World War 1 started with a Saturn/Pluto conjunction, the next Saturn/Pluto conjunction came over a year after the end of World War 2 !
NO – WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR IS A GENERIC UNDERLYING CHANGE
No, we have to accept that cycles do not necessarily correspond with the way that history is conventionally divided up by major global events. What we are looking for is not a global event however large but the start of an underlying global change or development in collective ideas, ideals, expectations and structures. These frequently do coincide with, indeed may help cause, wars but not always. Later we shall demonstrate that the forces behind World War 1 were primarily and essentially to do with Saturn/Pluto symbolism – the “transformation of socioeconomic structures”, whereas World War 2 had a far more complex set of causative forces behind it.
Hence in examining the period between April 1941 and June 1943 we must try and ignore for the time being the universally accepted 1939-1946 time bracket and just examine events and developments to see whether they make sense as part of a much more generic and underlying pattern than that represented by the history book military conflict frame. We may of course see the world’s history cut up in chunks by major events – after all that is the way we have been educated – but the universe may ‘see’ these events, which appear so close-up to us, in terms of a quite different, broader and more generic underlying pattern.
Let us look at three sets of key events which occur between April 1941 and June 1943 – first the strategic military events, second genocide – specifically the Holocaust (which was responsible for nearly a third of all deaths in WW2 and has an appalling significance which makes it standout today in the annals of history) and third, guerrilla warfare and any other major developments.
GLOBAL WAR INITIATES TECTONIC CHANGES TO WORLD POWER STRUCTURE :
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
THE NAZIS UNWITTINGLY INITIATE THE START OF A RESTRUCTURE OF WORLD POWER
What happened just after April 1941 does indeed mark a major threshold for it is at this point that the War spreads from countries sharing disputed borders with Germany (diplomatic pretext war) to a truly European conflict (unashamed war of conquest). The force seeking to overthrow existing structures in Europe – and later Russia and the Far East – is Fascism, here in the form of Hitler’s Nazi party and the German war machine. Hitler’s strategic aim is the conquest and subjugation of Europe and Russia but by May 1945 Hitler will be dead and the Germans will have surrendered to the allies. However what the Nazis unwittingly initiate between 1941 and 1943 is the start of a wholesale restructuring of the world power structure – this is the start of the rise of the US and Russia to supreme world powers and the beginning of the end of the British Empire. The date this sequence starts is just seven days after the cycle begins.
On May 10th 1941 the Nazis in a lightning strike invade Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg – while Britain’s Chamberlain resigns and Churchill takes over as Prime Minister. On May 12th the Germans invade France which leads to the evacuation of most of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkerque. In June the Germans enter Paris and France signs an armistice with Germany at Compiègne. In Spring 1940 the Germans launch attacks in the Balkans and Yugoslavia surrenders though Mihajlovic and Tito continue guerrilla warfare. Nazi tanks enter Athens and the remnants of the British Army quit Greece. In June Hitler attacks Russia – on 22 June over 4 million Axis troops invade the USSR along a 1,800 mile front – the largest invasion in the history of warfare.
In August 1941 Roosevelt and Churchill agree on war aims as they sign the Atlantic Charter which defines the Allied goals for the post-war world. This is not just a strategic agreement on how to defeat Fascism. It recognises that WW2 had partially resulted from how the victorious Allies ended World War One and uniquely for the first time in modern international history the Charter seeks to detail the post war principles that need adopting to avoid this happening again.
The Charter states the ideal goals of this war: no territorial aggrandizement; no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people; restoration of self-government to those deprived of it; free access to raw materials; reduction of trade restrictions; global cooperation to secure better economic and social conditions for all; freedom from fear and want; freedom of the seas; and abandonment of the use of force, as well as disarmament of aggressor nations. In the “Declaration by United Nations” of 1 January 1942, the Allies pledge adherence to the charter’s principles.
In between these two dates in December 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forces the U.S, joined by Britain, to declare war on Japan and soon after on Germany. Germany and Italy in turn declare war on the U.S. There can be no question that this now is truly a World War – and initially it goes badly for the Allies. In February 1942 the British surrender Singapore to the Japanese. In April and May US forces in Bataan and Manila Bay also surrender to the Japanese. In November the US and Britain land in French North Africa but make little progress.
In the first half of 1943 the wind now begins to change direction. In January at the Casablanca Conference Churchill and Roosevelt agree on unconditional surrender as a goal. In February the German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad, In May the Allies win the war in North Africa. Here the War reaches the end of the orb of this April 1941 to June 1943 cycle conjunction. You will note that though the German reversal at Stalingrad is unquestionably seen as the turning point in the war in Russia (the German Army is to suffer 80% of its military deaths on the Eastern Front), overall victory for the Allies is still far away and the War in Europe still has three more years to run. So can we really say there is a correlation between events in this period and a 45 year cycle ?
DOES THIS CORRELATION FIT ?
Yes – if we can accept the pivotal significance of three events whose unfolding will last many decades. 1) the plan for the United Nations, first officially referred to in January 1942, when 26 governments sign the Atlantic Charter 2) the USA’s worldwide commitment of its huge resources from December 1941 to defeat Japan and Germany and the postwar principles it signs to uphold. 3) the acceptance of the Soviet Union, formerly denied diplomatic recognition by most of the West, as an ally and in September 1941 a signatory to the Atlantic Charter – a treaty that in post war Europe it would later starkly contravene. On the other side of the world the African National Congress too adopts the “Atlantic Charter from the Standpoint of Africans within the Union of South Africa”
The UN had been preceded by a similar body the League of Nations, created in 1920, but the goals of that organisation, given its focus on ratifying the post World War 1 political map, were considerably more circumscribed. The League proved incapable of preventing aggression by Germany and Italy in the 1930s and failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. What makes the correlation of this cycle even more persuasive is that the League of Nations was created at the exact previous Saturn/Uranus opposition in early 1920.
THREE TECTONIC ALTERATIONS COME DIRECTLY OUT OF THIS PERIOD
Three tectonic alterations in the world’s power structure therefore come directly out of this period a) the arrival of the USA as an unquestioned superpower and the beginning of its longterm involvement in all foreign geopolitical zones b) the rise of the USSR as an unquestioned superpower, apparently in many ways equal to the USA in military strength, economic strength and advanced technology and c) the start of the break-up of the British Empire, which had once covered a quarter of the Earth’s total land area – beginning a rapid process of decolonisation which will dramatically reduce the number of people under British rule outside the UK from 700 million to a tiny fraction of that figure
If this correlation is correct these tectonic changes should reach maximum development at the cycle opposition in 1965.
USA GLOBAL INVOLVEMENT
The USA’s worldwide commitment can be seen in its ‘Lend-lease’ programme of March 11, 1941, in which an unparalleled transfusion of money takes place from one country to another. Initially it is into war beleaguered Britain but later into the Soviet Union, China and Free France. At a stroke this signifies the end of British world dominance of the money market and the start of the US becoming the world’s leading financial power. What again makes this more persuasive is that at the previous Saturn/Uranus square in 1931 Britain abandoned the gold standard, with the pound sterling falling from $4.86 to $3.49. The significance of ‘Lend-lease’ is that what appears as financial altruism (we can’t let our allies’ economy collapse) later turns out to be a far sighted shrewd investment. This ends the US’s non-interventionist policy, which had dominated its foreign relations since the end of World War I. In fact America’s dominance can be summed up by one statistic – by the end of World War II the United States is producing 46% of the world’s GDP !
USSR BECOMES PART OF THE ALLIES
In May 1941 Joseph Stalin assumes the Soviet premiership. In June 10,000 Estonians, more than 15,000 Latvians and between 16,000 and 18,000 Lithuanians are herded onto cattle trains and transported to the far eastern reaches of the Soviet Union, where many of them die. But on June 22 German armies, violating the 1939 Russo-German non-aggression pact, invade Russia under the codename Barbarossa. Within days US President Franklin Roosevelt pledges all possible support to the Soviet Union and within weeks Britain and the Soviet Union sign a mutual aid pact. It is the start of the admission of the communist country to the international community.
In September the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces begins – it will lead to the death of at least one million Russians from starvation and disease. In November the US starts its financial support to the Soviet Union. In that same month only 25 miles from Moscow the Soviet army halts the German advance. In May 1942 the Soviet Army launches its first major offensive of the war capturing back some of eastern Ukraine. In June the US and the Soviet Union sign a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort.
In August 1942 British premier Churchill arrives in Moscow to meet Stalin. Shortly after German forces begin an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad. It will end after the combined loss of nearly 2 million lives with the encirclement and destruction of the German 6th Army. In October 1943 (out of orb) delegates from the USSR meet with representatives from the Allied nations of Great Britain, the US and China, in an attempt to hammer out a greater consensus on war aims.
BRITISH EMPIRE STARTS DECLINE
Shortly after Britain declares war on Nazi Germany the Empire Dominions – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland and South Africa all follow suit. After Germany occupied France in 1940, Britain and its empire stood alone against Germany, until the entry of the Soviet Union to the war in June 1941. In December 1941, Japan launches, in quick succession, attacks on British Malaya, the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, and Hong Kong. The manner in which the British rapidly surrenders in the Far East irreversibly harms Britain’s standing and prestige as an imperial power. Most damaging of all is the fall of Singapore, which had previously been hailed as an impregnable fortress and the Far East equivalent of Gibraltar. The realisation that Britain could not defend its entire empire pushes Australia and New Zealand, now seriously threatened by Japanese forces, into closer ties with the US, which after the war would result in the 1951 ANZUS Pact.
THE FINAL SOLUTION
1942 has gone down in the history of genocide as one of the most infamous dates for it was in this very year that Nazi leaders set into motion the ‘Final Solution‘’ – almost certainly the most horrific programme of genocide in modern history. It is quite clear that the beginning of the Holocaust (as opposed to Nazi Anti-Jewish laws and persecution – see Chapter 3) does have a strong correlation with the May 1941 to May 1943 conjunction timeframe. In July 1941 Hitler’s deputy Hermann Goering instructs SS General Richard Heydrich to carry out the “final solution to the Jewish question” and shortly after the deportation of German Jews begins. In November 1941 massacres of Jews take place in Odessa and Kiev and a month later in Riga and Vilna. In January 1942 mass killings using Zyklon-B gas begin at Auschwitz-Birkenau while Nazi leaders attend the Wannsee Conference to coordinate the ‘final solution’. In July 1942 100,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto are deported to the Treblinka death camp. In January and April 1943 there are uprisings in the Warsaw Ghetto. While the genocide in scale and horror mounts in 1944 the essence of what we know as the Holocaust is already set in place by May 1943.
The Nazis, besides massacring many of the 6 million Jews in this timeframe, also begin wiping out 2,600,000 to 4,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and accelerate the killing of over a million political prisoners, 250,000 to 1,000,000 Roma/Gypsies, 70,000 to 275,000 handicapped and between 10,000 and 220,000 homosexuals.
There is one other instance of genocide between 1941 and 1943 – though it could be considered an early part of the Holocaust – it is the Croatian Ustasha massacre of up to 400,000 Serbs in 1941. From the middle of 1941 the Fascist Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic begins to carry out his plan to annihilate the Serbs. The Ustasha carry out horrendous massacres of Serbs, as well as Jews and Gypsies and any Croats not in sympathy with the Ustasha. Mass executions are carried out in camps similar to the Nazi death camps. The largest of these is Jasenovac. Conservative sources state that from 1941 hundreds of thousands died in these camps – perhaps as many as 400,000 – while Serbian sources claim far higher figures.
So does Genocide correlate with this cycle ? We review this issue on a separate webpage. But if there is a correlation it will NOT be cyclical – in other words it will not peak at the cycle opposition. It might however be synchronous with this cycle. However it is unlikely to make the match on its own – it is more likely to turn out that aspects from two cycles are necessary for a correlation with Genocide.
Beside the Nazi attempt to overthrow democratic institutions in the wider European region the cycle conjunction could also be said to match the development of 20th century Guerrilla warfare – destined to play such a crucial role in Vietnam and, along with air attacks, to transform how wars could in the future be won. More significantly later guerrilla warfare would develop into terrorism – as practised by fundamentalist and other terrorists today on civilians as much as the authorities. In 19th century wars combatants, normally nations, would line up infantry and cavalry and artillery in such a way they could attack the enemy or defend against his attacks. The objective was to win a military victory. Civilians certainly might be injured or killed but in most cases it was not part of the main thrust of any war. Now this is to completely change.
The first world war had seen two vast armies in trenches facing each other across ‘no man’s land’. Over one million soldiers from Great Britain and its Empire and France at any one time faced an equivalent number of German troops across 6,000 miles of trenches from the Belgian coast to France’s eastern border. During the four year conflict roughly 5 million soldiers ! on each side were killed – in the German case about a fifth of their entire army. The development of Guerrilla warfare has insured that today while pure military confrontations, with the most modern tanks and aircraft, may always win a battle, they are insufficient to win a war – we only have to look at Iraq and Afghanistan to see the evidence for that. It is arguable that the seeds of this quite new approach to war were laid during WW2. There is no question that it was military might and strategy that enabled the Allies to win WW2 but it must be true to say that the end of the war would have come a lot later without guerrilla warfare – which of course, remember, was frequently labelled by the Germans as ‘terrorism’ !
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUERRILLA WAR & TERRORISM
While noting that Terrorism may be said to have developed from guerrilla warfare there is a crucial difference. Terrorist acts tend to be executed with little or no regard for human life (indeed today sometimes their aim is to cause as many civilian deaths and severe maimings as possible) whereas guerrilla actions typically target either the military or the infrastructure which allows the then government to retain control of their territory. Nevertheless many guerrilla actions have resulted in civilian casualties – either directly in that ‘a bomb by the power station’ kills some civilians passing by – or indirectly, through the then government taking several dozen hostages and shooting them as a reprisal. Today the military are theoretically bound by human rights and war conduct conventions so the latter result seems less likely. Nevertheless. as we can see in Afghanistan with US drone attacks on militants, substantial civilian casualties continue to be caused. And a small number of army personnel do commit murders and other atrocities on civilians.
THE FIRST RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS
During World War II several guerrilla organisations, often known as resistance movements, operated in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. These included the Polish Home Army, Soviet partisans, Yugoslav Partisans and the French Resistance or Maquis – along with Italian partisans and in Greece ELAS and right wing forces. (Remember no such forces had existed in WW1 – though far earlier there had been sizeable guerrilla forces in Spain in the Napoleonic wars) Many of these WW2 organisations receive help from the UK Special Operations Executive (SOE) and later the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) . Not only do the resistance movements tie down many German units as garrison troops, so directly aiding the conventional war effort, but guerrilla incidents in occupied countries also help repudiate German claims that the occupied countries are pacified.
You need to read the ‘Cycles of History’ book to check out in detail the possibility that resistance against German and Japanese forces surges exactly within the period April 1941 and June 1943 ? However a check-list of the main examples and their dates in chronological order follows:
|Feb 1941||Dutch resistance first attack Nazi police rounding up young Jews|
|Aug 21 1941||Assassination of German naval cadet in Metro station in Paris|
|Sep 15 1941||German soldiers attacked in the Champs Elysees in Paris.|
|Oct 22 1941||German military commander in Nantes is assassinated|
|Oct 22 1941||German major shot in Bordeaux|
|Feb 1942||Polish groups ally to form the AK (Armia Kajowa) 250k members|
|29 Mar 1942||Hukbalahap group formed to fight the Japanese occupation.|
|Apr 15 1942||French resistance attacks the German HQ at Arras|
|Apr 29 1942||Belgian resistance destroys Tenderloo chemical works, kill 250|
|Apr 1942||In Belarus 300,000 partisans effectively harass German troops|
|Apr 1942||Detachment 101 of the OSS, a guerrilla force, set up in Burma|
|27 May 1942||Czech resistance assassinate SS general Reinhard Heydrich|
|Jun 1942||Russia helps establish central HQ for partisan movement|
|Jul 1942||ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organisation) & ZZW founded in Warsaw|
|Jul – Sep 1942||300,000 Jews deported from Warsaw ghetto|
|Aug 1942||Soviet partisans control 14,000 sq kms of German occupied land|
|Aug 1942||Nazis execute Schulse-Boysen, break up Soviet espionage group|
|12 Sep 1942||US Colonel Fertig organizes guerrillas to harass the Japanese|
|Oct 1942||The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a guerrilla army, is formed|
|25 Nov 1942||British & Greek agents destroy Gorgopotamos viaduct in Greece|
|Feb 1943||In Limburg the Valkenburg resistance movement set up|
|Feb 1943||UK General Wingate leads guerrilla force behind Japanese lines|
|16 Feb 1943||Mildred Harnach-Fish, German resistant, is guillotined|
|22 Feb 1943||In Germany the ‘White Rose’ anti-Nazi students are guillotined|
|Feb 1943||Dutch resistance cell CS-9 assassinates Luit-Generaal Seyffardt|
|Apr 19 1943||The ZOB + ZZW resist Nazi tanks & machine guns in Warsaw|
|2 May 1943||SA Chief of Staff Lutze is assassinated by German resistance|
|May 27 1943||First-ever unified meeting of the French Resistance in Paris|
|28 Sep 1943||Danish resistance starts smuggling Jews to neutral Sweden|
|10 Jun 1944||Reprisal kills males over the age of 16 in Lidice and Ležáky|
There appear to be only two other major cyclical developments in this two year period reflected in specific events – the first nuclear fission and the forerunner of the first ballistic missile. The first step in nuclear weapon history is the Manhattan Project‘s research into atomic power and the production of plutonium. On July 13, 1942 the US launches the Manhattan Project. On December 2, a team headed by Enrico Fermi produces the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear fission reaction by splitting the atom at the University of Chicago. It will lead three years later to the development of the first atomic weapon.
Both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945 also have a Saturn/Uranus correlation – albeit just a 30 degree aspect.
Almost in parallel is the German research on the V2 rocket. By late 1941, the German Army Research Centre at Peenemünde, on an island off Germany’s Baltic coast, had formulated the technologies essential to the success of the V2 rocket – a rocket with a range of 50 miles and a payload of about a tonne. The rocket, after some initial teething problems successfully launches on October 3 1942, follows its trajectory perfectly and lands 120 miles away having reached a height of 50 miles. Later versions of the V2, which had large liquid-fuel rocket engines, supersonic aerodynamics, gyroscopic guidance and rudders under jet control, include the first ever ballistic missile and the first projectile to reach outer space. The V2s are constructed at the Mittelwerk site by prisoners from Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp where an estimated 20,000 prisoners die during the war. After the War many of this project’s top scientists, including the V2 inventor rocket scientist Werner Von Braun, will work on nuclear arms and space rockets for the US.
We shall later attempt to correlate nuclear accidents with this cycle so for the record it is worth pointing out that there is no recorded example of a nuclear accident occurring between May 1941 and May 1943 at the Manhattan Project or elsewhere
Before drawing some conclusions on this Conjunction we need to remind ourselves that many of the key events of the first part of World War 2 earlier listed could just as well be signified by the other major cycle aspects taking place in 1941- 1943:
1941 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction
1942 Jupiter/Neptune incoming square (+270 degrees)
1943 Jupiter/Pluto conjunction
These cycles (see relevant Chapters) are all deemed to link society’s expectations (collective expectations) with either intellectual and technological change (Uranus), ideals (Neptune) or transformation (Pluto). The cycles and their 1941-43 aspects are discussed in detail in other chapters but it is sufficient here to summarise the likely key meaning of these cycles and their aspects in 1941-43 as follows:
1941 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction: The new mindset created by the emergence of a World War is the beginning of a new way of looking at intellectual research – in particular science and technology. World War 2 will drive an unprecedented explosion of new technologies – many to later have enormous peacetime significance
1942 Jupiter/Neptune square: the relationship of collective ideals to what expectations people have for the future of their world is terminally challenged. The hopes and ideals of the 1932 cycle, of which this incoming square marks the closing and dying part, are effectively all but killed off by the horrors of this world war, not least the Holocaust even if public awareness of the latter only circulated after 1945. Between 40 and 72 million people are estimated to have been killed in this war – a figure dwarfing that of any other conflict in recorded history
1943 Jupiter/Pluto conjunction: society’s expectations of how things will be in the future, specifically ‘after the war is over’ starts a new cycle. Old reference points were already fading and have now disappeared or become irrelevant. Everyone talks of ‘after the war’. There is a fundamental change in societal outlook – typified by the British opting for a socialist government rather than the party of their war leader hero Winston Churchill.
By removing these cycle influences from the 1941-43 timeframe we are left with six major developments which can still be correlated with the 1942 Saturn/Uranus conjunction – the beginnings of the United Nations, US global financial supremacy, the acceptance of communist Russia into the international community as a co-signatory of what will become the United Nations, the decline of the British Empire, the development of widespread guerrilla resistance as a means of war and the birth of nuclear weapons. All are massive key structural changes to the political, economic, and technological structure of the world and were all brought about by tectonic changes in the world’s power structure that take place in this period
OUT SQUARE Dec 1950 to Nov 1953 (exact in Dec 1951)
Can we find in the months surrounding December 1951 key developments that suggest a major challenge to the tectonic changes initiated at the conjunction in 1942. In particular can we find challenges or extensions to any of the six developments cited above? We shall examine carefully the events within a 10 degree orb of this cycle square between December 1950 and November 1953 (technically excluding May to August 1951 when the orb widened beyond 10 degrees)
UNITED NATIONS AND THE KOREAN WAR
THE UN’S FIRST KEY CHALLENGE
The first major cyclical event within this two year timeframe is the Korean War – the first key challenge to the effectiveness of the United Nations since the idea for such an organisation had first been developed in 1942 and the first war between the victorious ideologies of WW2 – US led Western democracy and Communism – now in the shape of the Peoples Republic of China (since 1949) as well as Stalin’s USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
THE 38th PARALLEL
In the Korean war the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is supported by the United Nations while on the opposing side the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), is supported by the People’s Republic of China – partly and covertly backed by Stalin. The war comes about primarily because of the political division of Korea agreed by the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II. Following the surrender of the Empire of Japan, which had ruled the territory since 1910, American administrators had divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, with US military forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern half. The North established a communist government, while the South established a nominally democratic government. Yet again the drawing of lines on a map is apparently to end up causing more problems than it solves.
Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea in June 1950 (out of orb). In the absence of a dissenting voice from the Soviet Union, who could have vetoed it, the US and other countries pass a Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Korea. The Soviet Union had boycotted the Security Council meetings since January 1950, in protest that it was the Republic of China (Taiwan) and not the People’s Republic of China who held a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
LEGITIMACY OF THE UN INTERVENTION
When US President Truman orders US air and sea forces to help the South Korean régime, the Soviet Union challenges the legitimacy of the UN backed war for two reasons. First, the intelligence upon which UN Resolution 83 was based came entirely from US Intelligence but North Korea was not invited as a sitting temporary member of the UN to contribute, which violated UN Charter Article 32. Second, the Korean conflict was beyond the scope of the UN Charter, because the initial north–south border fighting was classed by the UN as a civil war. The Soviet representative boycotted the UN to prevent Security Council action and to challenge the legitimacy of the UN action. Moreover, some legal experts suggested that a decision for such a military action required the unanimous vote of the five permanent members – the US, the UK, France and the USSR and the Republic of China.
All three criticisms presage a continuing problem the UN will go on to face – using force to compel a country it has judged needs deterring when only certain members of the Security Council deem it a legal action – a controversy destined to re-appear notably with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the civil war in Syria from 2011. It is not so much the Korean War that correlates with this Saturn/Uranus square but the first direct clash between US led democracy and Chinese (& Russian) Communism. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) enters the war on the side of North Korea in November 1950 just as the cycle Out square comes into orb.
THE THREE OFFENSIVES END IN STALEMATE
The first confrontation between Chinese and U.S forces results in the UN forces retreating though the Chinese do not follow-up their victory. The second offensive later in the month also forces UN troops to retreat with the US Eighth army crossing back over the 38th parallel. The Chinese third offensive in New Year 1951 overwhelms UN forces and allows the North Koreans to recapture the capital Seoul again. These setbacks prompt US General MacArthur to propose using nuclear weapons against Chinese or North Korean territory – a hugely dangerous comment that has him relieved of his command. From July 1951 there is a stalemate until July 1953 when the fighting ends with the signing of an armistice.
BORDER CONFRONTATION UNCHANGED TO THIS DAY
The agreement restores the border between the Koreas near the 38th Parallel and creates the Korean Demilitarized Zone – but there was never a peace treaty and the situation remains unchanged to this day. It is hard to say that the UN authorised military action succeeded in anything. The Communists lost around half a million military dead, the UN forces about 180,000 but the number of Korean civilians killed was between 2 and 2.5 million
The aftermath of the War sees China attaining some pride in having engaged the strongest power in the world with an under-equipped army, forcing it to retreat, and fighting it to a military stalemate. From the US position a long-term consequence of the war is to lead the US to guarantee the safety of Chiang Kai-shek’s regime in Taiwan, protecting it from the PRC to this day – though the UN Security Council seat very soon after the Korean War is taken over by the PRC. More generally there are set to be many geopolitical situations where the two main superpowers each back opposing local forces and where the scale and level of the superpower military involvement starts to escalate towards the nuclear level. Shall we see such a level maximised at the cycle opposition ?
US GLOBAL INVOLVEMENT
Now the US is committed to a world role it needs to expand its wartime aid scheme, the Marshall plan – directed purely at its co-combatants – into a more strategic package. In October 1951 the US Mutual Security Act authorizes nearly $7.5 billion for foreign military, economic, and technical foreign aid to any American ally. The aid is aimed primarily at shoring up Western Europe as the Cold War develops and is intended to stave off Soviet ‘encroachment’ and to signal Washington’s resolve that the US is capable of, and committed to, containing communism globally. A Report (NSC-68) by Paul Nitze had just been issued calling for containment of the Soviet Union – it would become the foundation for the strategy of global containment.
IMMIGRATION & NATIONALITY ACT
The not so altruistic side of American policy appears in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, which restricts immigration into the USA. President Truman tries to veto the law which he sees as un-American and discriminatory – attitudes evident in the words of one of its proposers Senator McCarran “I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors…. However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies.”
McCARTHYITE PARANOIA ABOUT COMMUNISTS
In the US an anti-communist witch-hunt led by Senator Joseph McCarthy begins in 1950. In 1941 Walt Disney had taken out an ad in Variety, the industry trade magazine, declaring that “Communist agitation” was behind a movie industry strike. But now the finger is pointing not at industry but government itself. In a speech to a West Virginia Republican Women’s Club Senator McCarthy produces a piece of paper that he claims contains a list of known Communists working for the State Department. McCarthy is usually quoted to have said: “The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” Some have insisted McCarthy referred to 57 not 205 names. McCarthy becomes the most visible public face of a paranoia about communists fuelled by Cold War tensions and fears of Communist subversion.
A challenge or spur to growing US global financial supremacy is harder to correlate with this period. There are no direct challenges to to the US’s new lead financial status in the world but it may be significant that in 1951 the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) is created, later to lead to the European Economic Community (EEC), now grown into the European Union (EU) – whose trade regulations and later currency will constitute the first major challenge to US global financial supremacy – a role later destined to be overtaken by China.
SOVIET UNION – REPRESSION
Meanwhile the Soviet Union is still preoccupied with internal dissension. In Czechoslovakia in November 1952 a series of show trials purges the Czech Communist Party of Jews and those people considered unorthodox Stalinists. 14 Communist leaders or bureaucrats, 11 of them Jews, are accused of participating in a Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy. All under duress or torture confess and are convicted – 11 of them are executed. This is part of a Stalin-inspired purge of “disloyal” elements in the national Communist parties in Central Europe, as well as a purge of Jews from the leadership of Communist parties. In January 1953 an article in Pravda accuses some of the nation’s most prominent doctors – particularly Jews – of a conspiracy to poison top Soviet leaders.
However on 1st March 1953 just after the out square goes out of orb a truly dramatic event in Russian history occurs – Stalin, seen by many historians as one of history’s worst mass murderers, who deliberately killed at least 6 million people, dies. Although Georgi Malenkov succeeds as premier of the USSR within months it is Nikita Khrushchev who takes over. His reactions to a crisis at the cycle opposition will be of cataclysmic importance to the world.
BRITISH EMPIRE DECLINE
INDIA, PAKISTAN, BURMA & CEYLON INDEPENDENCE
Meanwhile what has happened to the British Empire. The pro-decolonisation Labour government, elected at the 1945 general election, moved quickly to grant India independence in August 1947. It was however obliged – to assuage the fears of the Muslim League of domination by the Hindu majority – to establish a separate Islamic state for Muslim-majority regions – which became (East and West) Pakistan. Once again the lines drawn on a map by colonial civil servants are to have many unforeseen results – in particular leaving tens of millions as minorities in the newly independent states of India and Pakistan and special difficulties in Kashmir, together leading to the violent deaths of as many as one million people. The following year Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (now Sri-Lanka) are given independence. Britain thus exits from a substantial part of Asia with relative ease though Kashmir and Sri Lanka will both go on to have long and bloody wars.
MANDATE OF PALESTINE
The British Mandate of Palestine, where an Arab majority lived alongside a Jewish minority, presented the British with a similar problem to that of India. Frustrated by Arab opposition to Jewish immigration, swollen by the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust, and attacks by Jewish paramilitary organisations as well as the increasing cost of maintaining its military presence, Britain had withdrawn in 1948 leaving the UN to handle the issue of Israeli independence.
However it is in North Africa that Britain is to meet its most fateful situation. In Egypt in July 1952, after a coup led by Colonel Gamal Nasser King Farouk I abdicates. It is Colonel Nasser whose later actions will trigger the collapse of Britain’s imperial role in the world when he nationalizes the Suez Canal evoking a Franco-British invasion which the Americans and Russians forcefully oppose. Thereafter, with the exception of the Falklands war and intervention in Sierra Leone, British colonial military action ends.
Next, in the British colony of Kenya in 1952 the Kikuyu dominated Mau Mau movement, oppressed by white domination of the rich plateau region, starts to attack white settlers. Although it is only dozens of white settlers who are killed by the Mau Mau, more than 10,000 people are killed during the uprising and British forces are accused of using exceptional force. Initially the British try to decapitate the movement by declaring a State of Emergency and arresting 180 alleged Mau Mau leaders. But they then move on to intern tens of thousands of the capital Nairobi’s suspected Mau Mau members and sympathisers. During this operation the UK government has now accepted that prisoners suffered “torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration”
Finally the African National Congress (ANC) which had signed its version of the Atlantic Charter while securing growing black support in 1942-3 meets its key challenge from the uncompromising South African government – twenty Black leaders are arrested and charged under the Suppression of Communism Act. The accused includes Dr. J. S. Moroka, President of the African National Congress (ANC), Walter Sisulu Secretary-General of the ANC, Dr. Y. M. Dadoo, President of South African Indian Congress (SAIC), and Nelson Mandela, President of ANC Youth League.
There is almost no correlation with guerrilla warfare in the Korean war which features more conventional battles though the period sees thousands of guerrilla fighters in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania participating in unsuccessful guerrilla warfare against Soviet occupation. By 1953 the Soviets had succeeded in wiping out or suppressing this resistance (though the action in Lithuania continues for a longer period) and it makes very little mark on European or world history. But Guerrilla warfare is to find its first successful and longterm success elsewhere in an improbable place – on an island less than 100 miles off the south eastern coast of the United States – in Cuba.
In December 1950 a Cuban named Fidel Castro becomes an active member of the Cuban Peace Committee, campaigning against western involvement in the Korean War. He decides to run for Congress in the 1952 elections during which he meets General Fulgencio Batista, the former president who in March 1952, seizes power in a military coup. Declaring himself president, Batista cancels the planned June presidential elections. Dissatisfied with the non-violent opposition to Batista’s right wing dictatorship, Castro forms ‘The Movement’, a group consisting of both a civil and a military committee – the former campaigns while the latter arms and trains anti-Batista recruits. The organization is based upon an innovative clandestine cell system and later that year attempts an armed raid on the Moncada Barracks, a military garrison outside Oriente. The plan was to then seize control of a Santiago radio station, broadcasting the Movement’s manifesto. But the plan fails with many of the rebels getting rounded up, tortured and executed without trial.
Accompanied by 19 comrades, Castro decides to set out for Gran Piedra in the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains where they can establish a guerrilla base. This is to be the start of many guerrilla developments in Latin America but uniquely the revolution that Castro inaugurates in July 1953 is successful. Batista is not to be ousted till 1959 but Castro’s Communist Party of Cuba (PPC) is still in power in Cuba over 50 years later. While many other guerrilla movements will model themselves on Castro’s none will attain that success.
At that same time an Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara visits Guatemala prompted by a desire to help overturn what he sees as its capitalist exploitation by the United States. Guatemala is undergoing social reforms under a left leaning President Jacobo Arbenz, who will shortly afterwards be overthrown at the behest of the major US employer the United Fruit Company through a CIA assisted coup. It is there that Che Guevara’s political ideology gets solidified. Guevara is to join Castro’s movement rising to second-in-command, and play a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign. More importantly his stylized face is set to become a worldwide countercultural symbol of rebellion.
As the In square begins German physicist and rocket engineer Wernher von Braun and a team of some 118 German scientists start arriving in Huntsville, Alabama, to work on the US space and missile program. In January 1951 atomic testing begins in the Nevada desert as the US Air Force drops a one-kiloton nuclear bomb on Frenchman Flats some 60 miles outside Las Vegas. Over the next 40 years 928 nuclear devices will be exploded at this site. In April 1951 husband and wife Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death on charges of selling US atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, enabling the Soviets to detonate their first nuclear weapon in 1949. In September the Soviet Union conducts its second nuclear test.
In that same month the USAF tests a nuclear reactor on board a modified Convair aircraft. The aircraft test is to study shielding requirements for an airborne reactor and to determine whether a nuclear aircraft was feasible. This was the only known airborne reactor experiment by the US and the entire nuclear aircraft program is later abandoned. In November 1951 the very first atomic explosion to be witnessed by troops occurs at Yucca Flat, Nevada. The following April a further atomic test there becomes the first nuclear explosion to be shown on live network television. Nuclear fallout shelters, first on sale in 1951, start to sell well.
US EXPLODES THE FIRST HYDROGEN BOMB
In February 1952 Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that Britain has developed its own atomic bomb and in October the British detonate their first atomic bomb, a 25-kiloton device, in the Monte Bello Islands off Australia. But in November 1952 comes the big event – the US explodes the first hydrogen bomb in a test in the Marshall Islands – an event announced by President Truman in his State of the Union address in Jan 1953. The Thermonuclear era has begun.
On December 20, 1951 in the USA electricity is generated by a nuclear reactor for the first time – at the EBR-I experimental station near Arco, Idaho. In 1952 in Kentucky the 750-acre Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant begins operation recycling used nuclear reactor fuel. Radiation levels are later alleged to have been dangerously high for workers at the plant.
There are two nuclear accidents in this timeframe. On Dec 12 1952 at Chalk River, Ontario, Canada a reactor shutoff rod failure, combined with several operator errors, leads to a major power excursion at AECL’s NRX reactor. The Operators take remedial action but a cover gas system failure leads to hydrogen explosions, which severely damage the reactor core. Subsequent monitoring of surrounding water sources reveals no contamination and no immediate fatalities or injuries result. In March 1953 less serious nuclear accidents happen in the Mayak and Sarov/Arzamas nuclear complexes in the USSR.
The Korean War as the first major issue to confront the United Nations, the US’s Mutual Security Act committing the US to global containment of the Soviet Union, the McCarran–Walter Act revealing how nervous parts of US society are getting about immigration, the Senator McCarthy anti-communist witchhunt and the death of Stalin are all challenges or extensions to developments seen at the Conjunction The development of the hydrogen bomb and the first use of nuclear power to produce a measurable amount of electricity are both central extensions of the work undertaken by the Manhattan project at the cycle conjunction.
OPPOSITION Feb 1965 to April 1967 (exact in April & Aug 1965, Feb & Nov 1966 and January 1967)
Can we find in 1965 and 1966 key developments that suggest that the tectonic changes that arose at the conjunction in 1942 have reached a stage of maximum fruition but where inherent contradictions are starting to appear? In particular can we find any of the five developments cited at the conjunction unequivocally reaching this stage in their development? We shall examine carefully the events within a 10 degree orb of this Square – between February 1965 and April 1967 (strictly speaking excluding May to August 1966 when the orb widened beyond 10 degrees)
1965 is dominated by American entry into the Vietnam war with 200,000 troops and demonstrations both against the war and advancing the black civil rights movement. There is also political unrest in Rhodesia, Indonesia, West Pakistan and Dominica. 1966 sees increased bombing and the doubling of US troops in Vietnam, race riots in the US, the purge of the Chinese leadership along with Israeli-Syrian clashes and coups in Syria, Ghana and Nigeria. The most important events across this two year period are the US’s war in Vietnam along with the growth of black civil rights and the death of colonialism. The structural significance of opposition to the war in Vietnam is that for the first time the idea of directly supporting corrupt regimes simply because they are ideologically on your side gets effectively challenged. If we follow through the five developments we have ascribed to the conjunction and which were reflected in the 1951 outgoing square we find much firmer evidence of an on-going correlation.
UNITED NATIONS AND APARTHEID
In late 1966 the UN made its first major proactive moves against regimes imposing apartheid or denying majority rule by stripping South Africa of its mandate to govern South-West Africa (Namibia) and by imposing mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for the unconstitutional unilateral declaration of independence issued by its white leading party. This can be clearly seen as a maximising of the powers intended by the people who created the idea of the United Nations back in 1942. And unlike the challenge faced by the UN with the Korean War in 1951, the UN’s actions here are decisive and confident. And yet neither of these actions actually leads on to bringing Namibia or Zimbabwe a fair system of government. Here is a sign of the inherent contradictions which are supposed to accompany the maximising effect of the cycle opposition. The limitations of UN declarations and sanctions should become only too evident at the 1975 cycle In square.
In December 1965 The UN General Assembly passes a resolution strongly condemning apartheid policies and calling for economic and diplomatic sanctions against South Africa. In September 1966 the UN General Assembly votes by 114 votes to two (South Africa and Portugal), with three abstentions (Britain, France and Malawi) to terminate South Africa’s mandate over South West Africa and to declare its administration to be the responsibility of the UN.
In December 1966 the UN General Assembly passes a draft Resolution indicating that the situation in South Africa constitutes a threat to international peace and that universally applied mandatory economic sanctions are the only means of achieving a peaceful solution. In June 1967 South Africa passes the harshest Terrorism Act yet. It authorises indefinite detention without trial on the authority of any senior policeman – the definition of terrorism is very broad and includes most criminal acts. No time limit is specified for detention.
The Vietnam War takes place in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. Was there something special about the events in that war that take place between February 1965 and April 1967 ?
VIETCONG and NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY
This war between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the US and other anti-communist countries at first sight appears similar to the Korean War but there are key differences. The VietCong (or NLF), a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist front, fights a guerrilla war (see below) against anti-communist forces in the south while the North Vietnamese Army engages in a more conventional war – as had the North Korean army. The US government is trying to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. The North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong view the conflict as a colonial war. Unlike the Korean war this conflict does not end in stalemate but in unequivocal victory for the Communist North.
THE ‘ROLLING THUNDER’ BOMBING CAMPAIGN
In August 1964 (out of orb) the US Congress approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving the President power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. On 8 March 1965, exactly as the opposition comes into orb, the first US combat troops, some 3,500 U.S. Marines. are dispatched to South Vietnam. This marks the beginning of the American ground war and US public opinion at this stage overwhelmingly supports the move. In the same month following an attack on a US Marine barracks at Pleiku, Operation Rolling Thunder commences. This bombing campaign on North Vietnam’s air defences and industrial infrastructure, which will last through till 1968 (out of orb) is intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF). The ‘Rolling Thunder’ operation deluges the north with a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.
AMERICAN B-52 s BOMB NORTH VIETNAM
By December 1965 US forces deployment increases to 200,000. Soon after they suffer heavy losses at the Battle of Binh Gia and General Westmoreland’s call for a more aggressive US posture side-lining South Vietnamese forces is agreed by President Johnson. No longer is the government of South Vietnam responsible for defeating the guerrillas – that now falls to the US and its SEATO allies – notably Australia and New Zealand. The UK and Canada had declined involvement. New aggressive military operations are started but the communist insurgents remain elusive and demonstrate great tactical flexibility. In 1966 in an effort to disrupt movement along the Mugia Pass, the principal point of entry into the Ho Chi Minh Trail – the main route used by the North Vietnamese Army to send personnel and supplies via Laos into South Vietnam – American B-52s bomb North Vietnam for the first time.
OPERATION CEDAR FALLS
In January 1967, just before the opposition goes out of orb, in a major ground war effort dubbed Operation Cedar Falls, about 16,000 US and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops set out to destroy Vietcong operations and supply sites near Saigon. They discover a massive system of tunnels in an area called the Iron Triangle which serves as an apparent headquarters for Vietcong personnel. In an attempt to permanently destroy the Iron Triangle as a Vietcong stronghold, the operation involves the complete deportation of the region’s civilian population to so-called New Life Villages, the destruction of their homes, as well as the defoliation of whole areas.
The cycle opposition seems to correlate with the excesses of two strategic moves – the bombing of North Vietnam’s military and industrial infrastructure and the ruthless ‘scorched earth’ policy in the south in areas infiltrated by the Vietcong. In 1967 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, appearing before a Senate subcommittee, testified that US bombing raids against North Vietnam had not achieved their objectives. Operation Cedar Falls is seen by some critics as severely detrimental to the US effort to win Vietnamese hearts and minds driving many into the ranks of the NLF instead.
US GLOBAL INVOLVEMENT
What of the development of US global financial supremacy? We have pointed to the indirect link between Lend-lease in 1942 and the foundation in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel community (the genesis of the EU). If there is anything in this correlation it is certainly substantiated at the cycle opposition in 1965-1967 when the Treaty of Rome which founds the EEC (later the EU) is signed. The Treaty signed in April 1965 is ratified that year by France and Germany and the following year by the Benelux countries and Italy. In 1967 when the Treaty comes into force the UK applies to join though it would be another ten years before it actually makes the move. The maximisation of US global financial power can be seen in the massive increase between 1965 and 1967 in the number of US banks operating abroad, growing from 13 to 26 US banks and with total assets overseas rising from $12bn to nearly $20bn (Fieleke). Even more conclusive is the rise in the status of the US dollar when in 1967 Britain devalues the pound sterling against the dollar from $2.80 to $2.40.
SOVIET UNION – IN SPACE & SIGNING TREATIES
In February 1966 the Soviet probe Luna 9 becomes the first man made object to make a soft landing on the moon. The Soviet Union beats the US to win this global plaudit and thus establishes itself in the world’s eyes as the leading Space power – this will only be broken when the Americans make a human landing on the Moon in July 1967
In March Leonid Brezhnev becomes First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and promptly denounces American policy in Vietnam – calling it one of aggression. Despite this at the end of March President Lyndon Johnson signs the Consular Treaty, the first bi-lateral pact with the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution. And in June Russia with 60 other nations signs the Outer Space Treaty with the US – banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons.
However in this period Svetlana Alliluyeva, the daughter of Josef Stalin, appears at the US Embassy in India and announces her intention to defect to the West. At the same time Russian dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn arranges to have smuggled copies of his books exposing Russian forced labour camps ‘The First Circle’ and ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ published in the West.
BRITISH EMPIRE DECLINE
We should expect to see at the cycle opposition a large number of colonies being given independence – in the case of Britain independence is granted to Aden, Barbados, Botswana, Gambia, Guyana, Lesotho, the Maldives, Mauritius, Singapore, and Swaziland. Democratic governments prove stable in these countries but Gambia and Lesotho experience a number of coups. In Southern Rhodesia, a self governing colony, the white government issues a Unilateral Declaration of Independence as temporarily does the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean.
in 1965 Fidel Castro authorizes Che Guevara to travel to Kinshasa, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, to train revolutionaries against the western-backed government. Castro is personally devastated when Guevara is subsequently killed by CIA-backed troops in Bolivia. In 1966 Castro stages a third world conference in Havana where he creates the Latin American Solidarity Organization (OLAS). Che Guevara, though dead, will go one to be iconized on hundreds of thousands of T shirts worldwide.
But the key guerrilla movement in this period is of course the Vietcong. In Feb 1965 as the cycle opposition comes into orb, it is Vietcong guerrilla attacks on the US military that spur President Johnson into escalating the war and first ordering air strikes against targets in North Vietnam, In the same month the Vietcong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) get massively supported with Soviet aid following a visit to Hanoi by Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin – weapons include up-to-date surface-to-air missiles.
VIETCONG GUERRILLA STRATEGY & TACTICS WIN
But it is not so much armaments as guerrilla strategy, tactics and infrastructure that will make the Vietcong successful. To begin with US forces encounter the VC in straightforward attacks. At the end of May 1965 the first Vietcong offensive against the US base at Da Nang takes place. In August as major US ground combat operations start, US forces destroy a Vietcong stronghold near Van Tuong. But as 1966 gets underway it becomes clear that the battle is going to be geographically much more complex as a well organised infrastructure has been established in South Vietnam by the VC. In January 1966, Australian troops uncover a massive tunnel complex along with thousands of documents revealing the inner workings of the Viet Cong. It appears that many VC units operate at night, are organised into tight cells and are sustained by rice procured at gunpoint. They employ terror as a standard tactic and squads are assigned monthly assassination quotas – it is estimated their death squads assassinated at least 37,000 civilians in South Vietnam and alleged Vietcong atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at Huế,
INTEGRATING POLITICAL & MILITARY EFFORTS
The Guerrilla model adopted showed some of the hallmarks of the Cuban model but mainly drew on the tactics of the Chinese Maoists, closely integrating political and military efforts into the concept of one struggle – the so called ‘dau tranh’. The military struggle had guerrilla warfare at its very core – not just building cells, recruiting members, infiltrating organisations, spreading propaganda and setting up parallel local governments and stockpiling weapons but also the main activities of terrorists today, ambushes, kidnappings, gun or bomb attacks and sabotage.
TIGHTLY ORGANISED DISCIPLINED CONTROL
Vietcong/NVA strategy counted on sustaining a protracted war, gradually over time wearing down the opposition with an attritional campaign. It involved a mix of combat styles from small-scale guerrilla attacks to main-force battles. Its key aim was to ensure that even when confronted by powerful US forces it controlled what was happening in the population, in the countryside. Its organisation encompassed a tight overlapping structure subject to close control. This was supported by a parallel system of party control at all levels from province to village hamlet, One American Vietnam War historian calls the Viet Cong “more disciplined and organized than nearly any insurgents in history”.
The Vietcong’s tactics were founded on controlling the initiative – when, where and with what intensity to strike. A steady but low-key logistical build up taking as long as 6 months then a quick advance to a staging area from where the attack is launched. A very quick attack concentrated at the weakest point of the target would be followed by quick clearance and withdrawal. Their logistics – in particular the supply of weapons and armaments – were thorough and sustained.
The development of atomic power and atomic weapons in 1942 led on in 1951 to the development of the hydrogen bomb and the deployment of nuclear power stations. Are there any events in this field in 1965 and 1966 which can be described as maximising these developments? In late 1964 (out of orb) China conducts its first nuclear test. In 1966 the US and USSR sign the Outer Space treaty, which comes into force in 1967, to prohibit nuclear arms in space. All weapons of mass destruction are banned from orbit, as is military activity on the moon and other celestial bodies. This is a significant move though in a much longer timeframe.
Much more significant however is an announcement in 1965 by US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that ”‘the United States would rely upon the threat of ‘mutually assured destruction’ to deter Soviet attack.” At this time the USA and USSR’s complement of ballistic weapons (the US alone had 30,000 weapons) are capable of near total destruction of the population and infrastructure of both countries. The number and the capability of nuclear weapons had reached a maximum – short of a dramatic technological leap any increase in number or capability of weapons on one side would still leave that country, if it initiated a nuclear exchange, with the assured destruction of most of its population and infrastructure. We shall see what happened in 1975 to challenge this finely balanced lethal assurance equation – so central to the world’s balance of power.
In February 1967 the world’s first nuclear weapons free zone is established in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Treaty of Tiatelolco, signed in Mexico City, bans the manufacture, storage or testing of nuclear weapons and the devices for launching them. On June 17, 1967 (out of orb), China successfully explodes its first hydrogen bomb. The explosive power is 150 times that of the atomic bomb used by the US in Hiroshima during WW2.
In February 1965 several underground nuclear tests conducted by the US in the Nevada desert release radioactivity into the environment – a further test in Nov 1966 does the same. Russia and China also conduct tests in this period. In November 1965 in the USSR an unintended nuclear chain reaction occurs at the Electrostal plant. In December 1965 a U.S. Navy Skyhawk aircraft with one B43 nuclear bomb on board falls off the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga into 16,200 feet (4,900 m) of water while the ship is underway from Vietnam to Japan. The plane, pilot and weapon are never recovered.
In January 1966 a US Air Force B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs collides in mid-air with its tanker aircraft and crashes on the Spanish coast near Palomares. Three of the bombs are quickly recovered, but the fourth is not found until March when a US midget submarine locates it. Some plutonium is released in the crash. In April 1966 unit 1 of Chmelnizkiy nuclear plant in the Ukraine, suffers a malfunction in the reactor cooling system. In October 1966 a sodium cooling system malfunction causes a partial core meltdown at the Enrico Fermi demonstration breeder reactor near Detroit, Michigan. Radiation however is contained.
In Winter 1966 the Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin suffers a major accident with one of its three reactors. To find the leak the crew break through the concrete and steel radiation shield with sledgehammers, causing irreparable damage. Rumours had it that around 30 of the crew were killed. The ship is abandoned for a year to allow radiation levels to drop before the three reactors are removed, to be dumped into the Tsivolko Fjord on the Kara Sea, along with 60% of the fuel elements packed in a separate container.
In Feb 1967 at the Gundremmingen nuclear plant in Germany a steam pipe ruptures. In April 1967 at the Mayak nuclear complex in the USSR wind disperses over inhabited areas radioactive silt from dried out parts of the Karachai lake used as a radioactive waste dump. In the same month the South Ukraine nuclear plant suffers a defect in a steam generator’s reactor protection system
The UN’s proactive anti-apartheid declarations and sanctions, the saturation bombing of North Vietnam and the destruction of Vietcong-compromised South Vietnamese villages, the Treaty of Rome kick starting what will become the EU while US banking around the world surges, the Russians becoming for a time the pre-eminent nation in Space, the surge of decolonisation as the British Empire contracts and the Mutually Assured Destruction equation for intercontinental nuclear missiles are all examples of maximisation in this cycle.
INCOMING SQUARE June 1975 to August 1977 (exact in Oct 1975, July 1976, Feb & April 1977)
Can we find between mid 1975 and mid 1977 key developments that suggest the major tectonic changes we have charted so far through this cycle have reached a stage of terminal challenge? In particular can we find any of the five developments cited at the conjunction unequivocally reaching this terminal stage in their development? We shall examine carefully the events within a 10 degree orb of this Square – between June 1975 and August 1977.
KEY CHANGES AND EVENTS AROUND POLITICAL LEADERS
These two years, which see the Cambodian genocide unchecked by any international intervention and the Communist victory in Vietnam are dominated by key changes and events around political leaders. In the US the Watergate scandal ridden President Nixon gives way to President Ford who survives two assassination attempts before passing the baton to President Carter. In the UK Margaret Thatcher is elected leader of the Conservative party while scandal impacts the Leader of the Liberal party and a former Labour Minister. In Spain Franco dies to give way to the first King in 44 years. In China the ruthless Mao Zedong dies. In Saudi Arabia King Faisal is assassinated, in Cambodia the President flees a communist takeover by the Khymer Rouge, in Laos the King abdicates, in Peru the President is ousted, in Argentina the government of Isabel Peron is overthrown by the military, in Uruguay the military ousts President Bordaberry and in India and Pakistan Indira Gandhi and Benhazir Bhutto are swept from power. In Bangladesh Sheik Mujibar Rahman, the country’s founding leader is killed by army officers. In Nigeria General Muhammad in the ruling junta is killed in a coup attempt.
These leadership upheavals certainly echo the symbolism of this cycle but we need to look at underlying changes which are more evidently cyclical, especially in terms of the five developments we have been tracking.
UNITED NATIONS –SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED ?
4 DAMAGING DEFICIENCIES
What happens to the United Nations in this two year period ? Its status appears to have become seriously compromised. It is true that the UN had managed in 1975 to adopt a Declaration on ‘the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ and in 1976 its ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ comes into force. However the number and seriousness of international crises across the world in the years 1975-77 seriously challenges the UN’s claim to be an effective international mediator not least in the following countries – South Africa, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, East Timor, Lebanon, Palestine and Angola. In particular there are four damaging deficiencies – though the fourth is very minor. They are 1) the UN’s inaction in East Timor 2) its inaction in the Cambodia genocide (covered separately later in this section 3) its resolution describing Israel as racist and equating Zionism with South African apartheid and 4) the questionable background of its Secretary General Austrian Kurt Waldheim.
INACTION IN EAST TIMOR
First, East Timor, having just been granted independence by Portugal, is invaded by Indonesia who declares it part of its territory. The UN calls on Indonesia to withdraw without delay in Dec 1975 and April 1976 but despite widespread evidence of human rights violations is unable to enforce its resolution. This seems likely to have been because the governments of the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom were all supportive of Indonesia and stayed so throughout the occupation till independence in 1991. Much later it is revealed that President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger met with Indonesian President Suharto and explicitly approved Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor. Yet it is clear that during these twenty-five years the people of East Timor are subjected to extrajudicial executions, torture, and starvation. This a shameful chapter in the UN’s history suggesting how dependent it is on the attitudes and interests of its Security Council members and their allies.
COMPARES ZIONISM TO APARTHEID
The UN also makes another serious error in directly comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. On 10 November 1975 the General Assembly adopts a Resolution titled ‘Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination’. The text cites a 1975 conference of the Organisation of African Unity (a precursor to the African Union), which compared Zionism to South African apartheid: “…the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being.”
The resolution went on to declare Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It passes in the General Assembly by a 72-35 vote, with 32 countries abstaining. The Israeli ambassador described the resolution as “anti-Semitic.” It would eventually become the only General Assembly resolution to be revoked but it stayed on the books till 1991.
SECRETARY GENERAL’S WARTIME PAST
Finally it is unfortunate that the Secretary General during this period – the Austrian Kurt Waldheim – is widely believed to have lied about his wartime past. He had been a junior officer in the Wehrmacht Army Group E which was rumoured to have been involved in, or aware of, massacres in Yugoslavia as well as the sending of Jews in Salonika, Greece to Auschwitz during WW2. Later there are rumours that the KGB blackmailed him during his time at the UN.
However in November 1976 the UN General Assembly makes a fully justified move – it approves ten resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa, including one characterizing the white-ruled government as “illegitimate.” This leads onto an important decision it makes in November 1977 when it enacts an arms embargo against South Africa.
DOES NOTHING ABOUT CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE > next section
3 MILLION DIE IN KHMER ROUGE GENOCIDE
More damaging than the UN inaction in East Timor is the impotence of both the UN and world powers in the face of the massive genocide in Cambodia – the largest in Asian history. The combined effects of executions, forced labour, malnutrition and lack of medical care result in the deaths of approximately 25 percent of the Cambodian population – between 1.5 and 3 million people. It is reckoned that fully half that total were executed. Their deaths are a result of the policies of the Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot’s three-year premiership from April 1975 to January 1979 (out of orb).
The Khmer Rouge’s goal was to create a new Cambodia based on self-sufficiency through an agrarian society. Peasant farmers made up 85% of the Cambodian population. Based on this type of communism every citizen would be equal. An equal agrarian society would have no need for books, money or schools so the Khmer Rouge planned to “purify the urban dwellers”, the middle classes, and “turn the country into a nation of peasants in which the corruption and parasitism of city life would be completely uprooted”.
DEMOCRATIC KAMPUCHEA – YEAR ZERO
In January 1975 Communist troops launched an offensive which succeeded in overthrowing the Republic led by General Lon Nol on April 17, 1975, just days after the US mission evacuates Cambodia and just one month from the start of the cycle In square. The Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot changes the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea and establishes 1975 as the “year zero” marking the beginning of a new era. The new regime, set on implementing Maoist agrarian ideals, immediately evacuates the cities, sending the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They manage to evacuate 2.5 million people out of Phnom Penh in three days. Ethnic minorities, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese are targeted but the majority of victims are Khmer professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers – anyone intellectual.
These along with civil servants, police, and military officers who are automatically killed, are either executed or die of hunger, disease, exhaustion, and exposure. Hundreds of thousands of the people rejected by the Khmer Rouge are taken out in shackles to dig their own mass graves. They are then executed (mainly by pickaxes to save bullets) and buried into mass graves – known as the Killing Fields. Those bodies not in mass graves are left in the fields which is why even today there are bones strewn about the countryside. The Khmer Rouge security apparatus called Santebal has its base in a former high school capable of holding up to 1,500 prisoners. Some 17,000 people pass through this notorious interrogation and torture centre before they too are taken to ‘the Killing Fields’.
WHY NO OUTSIDE INTERVENTION OR OPPOSITION ?
So how and why could this genocide proceed on such a huge scale in such a space of time without any outside intervention or concerted international opposition ? This genocide (some have queried the use of the term but what other word can be used for mass murder on this scale) is the worst since the Holocaust which you may recall was initiated precisely at the beginning of this 45 year cycle in 1942. After WW2 many among the Allies, perhaps shocked at their failure to realize the scale of what had been going on in Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz, had vowed “never again’. Yet here was genocide on a similar scale.
The finger of blame has been pointed at the US government – either because the US Cambodian intervention and bombing campaign led to increased support for the Khmer Rouge among the Cambodian peasantry and hence the Administration should have seen what was coming or because once the Khmer Rouge had taken over even the scanty horrific accounts coming out via departing diplomats and the few journalists who managed to get in and out without being killed should have convinced the US government and hence the UN Security Council that something apocalyptic was going on in the country.
Some historians have claimed that it was by no means clear what was going to happen until it was too late. One thing is certain – the country was plunged into the sort of chaos that proved highly favourable for a Khmer Rouge take over. The other important factor was the ability of Pol Pot’s regime to do without public announcements of any kind – certainly any going outside the country’s borders. There were no embassies after the US and French had left and those journalists temporarily allowed to stay were lied to and not allowed into zones where the horrors were taking place.
But of course there is some firm evidence (detailed in Samantha Power’s book on America and the Age of Genocide) on US awareness of the genocide. For instance there was Kenneth Quinn, the State Department reporter who discovered the atrocities being committed by Cambodian communists – even before the Khmer Rouge came to power ! And in March 1975 President Ford was predicting in a News conference “an unbelievable horror story” if the Khmer Rouge took power, and calling on Congress to renew air support for the Lon Nol regime – which it refused to do.
US ‘VIETNAM FATIGUE & NO STRATEGIC INTEREST
But the accusation that the US failed to act after the take-over by the Khmer Rouge in April 1975 has a quite clear if unpalatable answer. Firstly the disinterest of US and other policymakers to do anything significant to intervene had a lot to do with what has been referred to as “Vietnam fatigue.” Just two weeks after Pol Pot takes over in Phnom Penh the fall of Saigon takes place and the last American troops leave Vietnam. The US has humiliatingly just failed at defeating Communism in Vietnam, its army has lost over 58,000 soldiers dead with another 304,000 wounded.
What strategic advantage or interest was there for the United States in carrying out a further costly military campaign in the country next door to Vietnam where it had so disastrously lost and where a war between those two Communist countries was likely ? indeed after the Khmer Rouge period ended Vietnam did invade Cambodia and it stayed under Vietnamese occupation for a decade. But to put it brutally there was no national interest in US intervention. There were no strategic resources like oil in Cambodia and geographically control or influence over that continental peninsula had, with the fall of Vietnam, no vital strategic advantage left
WHY DID THE UN DO NOTHING ?
But why did the UN itself not at least protest during the killing years? Even if the key players in the Security council had their reasons to stay quiet, what of neighbouring countries in South East Asia ? After all reporters like Elizabeth Becker and Feargal Keane continued to write heart-wrenching pieces abut the Khmer Rouge and the horrors that were happening in Cambodia. if the UN’s answer was that there was insufficient confirmable evidence, there is another more damning criticism – why did it not take action after the fall of the Khmer Rouge when the evidence was much easier to confirm ?
After all Cambodia was one of the countries which ratified the Genocide Convention in 1951 – yet genocide charges were never brought against the Khmer Rouge regime. Israel became the first country to raise the issue of a potential genocide in Cambodia. In March, 1978, Britain’s UN representative responded to popular pressure from the main churches in England by raising the subject before the UN commission on Human Rights, calling for the appointment of a special human rights rapporteur to investigate. However the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Syria teamed up to block even this route. Three years after the genocide, no official UN body had condemned the slaughter. Indeed after 1979, the US and other states refused to allow the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government to take over the seat of Cambodia at the UN. The seat, by default, remained in the hands of the Khmer Rouge.
INEXCUSABLY SHAMEFUL MARK ON UN’S RECORD
Moreover it has taken many years to gain UN and international support for the tribunal that was eventually set up in 2003 and the trial and sentencing to life imprisonment of Kang Kek Iew, or “Comrade Duch”, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. It therefore took the United Nations 27 years to bring the first perpetrator of the fifth worst genocide in modern history to justice – a lasting and inexcusably shameful mark on the UN’s record – that aptly matches the terminal stage of this cycle whose start saw the birth of the UN.
On 23 April 1975 President Ford had given a televised speech declaring an end to the Vietnam War. Then on 29 April the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last US diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel begins – in an atmosphere of desperation with hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vying for the limited space available. In the US South Vietnam is now perceived as doomed. On 30 April 1975, as the last US Marines evacuate the embassy by helicopter, Vietnamese People’s Army troops enter the city of Saigon quickly overcoming all resistance. President Duong Van Minh broadcasts a message of unconditional surrender. The city is renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
On 2 July 1976, North and South Vietnam are merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Following the communist takeover at least 1 million South Vietnamese are sent to re-education or labour camps – an estimated 165,000 prisoners die and at least 100,000 South Vietnamese are executed. At least 200,000 Vietnamese die trying to escape the country by boat.
In July 1977 the UN Security Council votes to recommend admitting Vietnam to the UN – the General Assembly later approves its admission. This cycle has been about the US and its allies failing to satisfactorily resolve a war in Korea, over-committing themselves in Vietnam and finally unequivocally losing the war in Vietnam and control or influence over its south eastern neighbours. The next cycle may see quite a different regional enemy in the US’s sights.
US FINANCIAL SUPREMACY
What of the development of US global financial supremacy? In 1974 OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quadruples the price of oil. This sends a massive shockwave not just through Western economies but also the more fragile economies of less developed countries. It not only greatly reduces the growth of world trade, it transfers large sums to economies whose powers of absorption are low. It fundamentally changes the balance of power, giving the Middle Eastern oil exporting countries a huge bargaining counter against US global financial moves. This certainly begins to look like a terminal challenge to the type of US global market strategy which was seeded in 1942 when the US became the Free World’s banker. There is an echo of this development in the Eurodollar crisis, which at this time is brought about by the failure of a major German bank. However in a further indication of the hugely dominant status of US currency in March 1976 the British pound falls below the equivalent of $2 for the first time. And in September 1976 as a double humiliation Britain under PM Callaghan is obliged to apply to the IMF for a loan of $3.9 billion.
USSR – SUPERPOWER COLLABORATION
At this time there is only one event that has international status significance for the Soviet Union – in July 1975 a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docks with a US Apollo spaceship in orbit in the very first superpower linkup of its kind. Not only does this event recognise the USSR’s very strong experience in the spacecraft field but it may be a signal that the Cold War is truly on the wane and that the US and Russia may once more be allies – albeit just in one technological area.
BRITISH EMPIRE DECLINE
In 1976, after the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean gains independence, Britain has one remaining major colonial possession apart from leased Hong Kong – Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). However it is still under de facto white minority rule after having in 1965 issued a unilateral declaration of independence and in March 1970 declared itself a Republic. But a guerrilla war, along with the lack of any international recognition, is wearing down the white government.
In August 1975 Rhodesian government and black nationalist leaders meet at Victoria Falls for negotiations brokered by South Africa and Zambia – but the talks never get beyond the procedural phase. The Rhodesian representatives make it clear they are prepared to fight an all out war to prevent majority rule. However, the situation changes dramatically after the end of Portuguese colonial rule in Mozambique in 1975. Rhodesia now finds itself almost entirely surrounded by hostile states and even South Africa, its only real ally, is pressing for a settlement seeing that a war could only have one bloody outcome.
The black resistance movement ZANU has an alliance with FRELIMO (the Liberation Front of Mozambique) and the porous border between Mozambique and eastern Rhodesia enables large-scale training and infiltration of ZANU fighters. Guerrillas begin to launch operations deep inside Rhodesia, attacking roads, railways, economic targets and isolated security force positions. In 1976, the South African and US governments manage to pressurise Rhodesian PM Ian Smith to agree to a form of black majority rule within two years.
Britain’s earliest colony to gain independence had been South Africa in 1910. The years 1975 to 1976 see its apartheid state violence reach a level that causes a massive surge in international revulsion. Two events cause international outrage – the Soweto Uprising in which police kill at least 176 people and wound perhaps up to 700 and the death of Steve Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, in police custody.
These years mark the terminal stage in post war decolonisation – not just by the United Kingdom but also by Portugal, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and France.
LEADING TO 2 MAJOR CIVIL WARS AND AN INVASION
In July 1975 Portugal gives independence to Angola, the Cap Verde islands, the islands of Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor and Mozambique but the result in Angola is civil war and in East Timor the new state is immediately invaded and annexed by Indonesia. In June 1975 Mozambique becomes an independent state ending nearly five centuries of Portuguese rule – however a long civil war starts between the Marxist Frelimo government and Renamo, the group supported by white-led governments in Rhodesia and South Africa. In September 1975 Papua New Guinea gains independence from Australia. In November 1975 Angola proclaims independence from Portugal but civil war between the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) and the FNLA (Front National) follows. Some 350,000 Angolans die in the Civil War. While Cuba and the Soviet Union militarily back the MPLA, South African troops and US guns and money support UNITA.
In the same month Suriname gains independence from the Netherlands and Spain relinquishes administrative control of Western Sahara to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania. As with some other de-colonisations a war follows – between those countries and the Sahrawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front. It proclaims the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) but with a government-in-exile in Algeria. Mauritania will later withdraw leaving effective control of most of this very sparsely populated territory, including all the cities and natural resources, to Morocco. In June 1977 French Somaliland, also known as the “French Territory of the Afars and the Issas” (after its dominant ethnic groups), the present Djibouti, gains independence.
By the end of this cycle in 1988 there are almost no colonies of any size or major population left – with the exception of Eritrea, Palau, Hong Kong and Macau. Strictly speaking the constituent states of the USSR all gain independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan – and of course Russia itself. Most of the remaining micro-colony territories are military bases.
LTTE – 33 YEARS OF LETHAL ACTIVITY
In precisely this period one of the most long lived and lethally active guerrilla organisations in the world emerges – the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Why is this so significant ? It is significant because of the length of its single issue campaign for separate Tamil statehood (1976 – 2009) and because of the wide variety of means of attack used – bombings, ambushes, kidnappings, assassinations, naval attacks, air attacks and not least the infamous first use of suicide bombings. For it is the LTTE, a secular and atheistic group, not any Islamic group, who pioneer and perfect the use of suicide belts. The LTTE will also carry out some of the most lethal terrorist attacks in modern times and will also develop its own small navy and airforce (5 light aircraft, 2 microlight planes, 2 helicopters and 2 drones) – something not even the longer lived Colombian guerrilla organisation FARC had ever achieved.
In May 1976 the LTTE is founded as the successor to the Tamil New Tigers. while the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) adopts the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution declaring the Tamils’ absolute right to statehood. The group had carried out its first assassination the previous year – of Jaffna mayor Alfred Duraiappah. Velupillai Prabhakaran, now its military commander, sets out to “refashion the new LTTE into an elite, ruthlessly efficient, and highly professional fighting force” notes international terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna.
CARRIES OUT 3RD MOST LETHAL TERRORIST ATTACK
The LTTE is later to carry out what to date is still the third most lethal terrorist attack of modern times when it massacres 774 Sri Lankan police officers in 1990. Only al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the USA (2,977 deaths) and its suicide bombing of the Yazidi communities in Iraq (796 deaths) are more lethal. Two other LTTE massacres around the same time, one of Muslims, one of Sinhalese, each killed around 150.
The emergence of the LTTE signals at this terminal stage of the Saturn/Uranus cycle the development of a new type of guerrilla warfare – what would ordinarily just be termed today ‘terrorism’. Whether the terrorism aims are ideological/religious (al-Qaeda) or separatist/nationalist (LTTE), in most crisis areas in the world the targets are as much civilians as security forces and the weapon of choice increasingly the suicide bomb.
THE FIRST TO USE SUICIDE ATTACKS
The first ever suicide attack by LTTE will take place in 1987, the next Saturn/Uranus conjunction. The number of terrorist attacks using suicide tactics grows from an average of fewer than five per year during the 1980s to 180 per year by 2005 and from 81 suicide attacks in 2001 to 460 in 2005. Just to emphasise the key role of the LTTE – between 1980 and 2000 the largest number of suicide attacks is carried out by the LTTE – almost double that of nine other major extremist organizations
The development of nuclear weapons is marked between 1975 and 1977 by four major milestones 1) the USA-USSR nuclear test treaty, 2) the spread of nuclear technology across the world with South Africa, India and in particular Pakistan acquiring the wherewithal to develop an atomic weapon 3) a nuclear-proliferation pact curbing the spread of nuclear weapons which is signed by 15 countries, including the US and USSR and finally 4) the establishment of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to minimise the risk of diversion of nuclear technology and to regulate nuclear technology transfers, to control the export of nuclear material, equipment and technology and to monitor the transfer of dual-use materials.
INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA & PAKISTAN JOIN NUCLEAR CLUB
However shortly before the signing of the non proliferation pact India had carried out a limited nuclear test, South Africa had started to make preparations for nuclear tests and Pakistan had initiated its nuclear weapons program, purchasing components and technology for an uranium-enrichment centrifuge facility. If these nations are now to become members of the Superpower nuclear club (US, USSR UK, China and France) what is to prevent other nations from demanding nuclear capability? We shall see whether the new cycle starting around 1988 will correlate with this issue?
On August 1, 1975, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe is adopted in Helsinki by 32 European nations and the US and USSR. and Canada. But outside the US and USSR the nuclear club is fast expanding. In that year Pakistan’s atomic development program takes off with the return of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan – Pakistan’s highly enriched uranium and nuclear bomb design are reported to have come from China. In South Africa a nuclear explosive test shaft is completed in the Kalahari desert while the South African Atomic Energy Board secretly tests a full scale model of a gun type nuclear device.
UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS LIMIT
In May 1976 US President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev sign the Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (PNE) Treaty, which limits individual explosions to 150 kilotons and multiple explosions to 1,500 kilotons. Brezhnev and US Secretary of State Kissinger had met earlier in the year to discuss the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). At this point the US has 28,100 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union 23,500, the United Kingdom 350, France 188, China 185 and Israel approximately 20.
NEUTRON BOMB TEST & NUCLEAR REPROCESSING
In July 1977 the US successfully tests a neutron bomb – the neutron bomb is essentially a hydrogen bomb which lacks the shield that ordinarily absorbs neutrons to increase the blast. As a result, the explosive power of the bomb is much less but its immediate dose of radiation much more powerful, making it a weapon that can be used to kill or wound soldiers in the field. The US administration sees it as potentially cancelling out the Soviet military superiority in tanks.
In 1976 President Ford suspends nuclear reprocessing under the fear that terrorist groups might steal plutonium from US plants to manufacture bombs. President Carter will make the decision permanent in 2007. In April 1977, President Carter bans the reprocessing of all commercial reactor spent nuclear fuel. In June 1977 Brazil signs an agreement with West Germany to obtain significant nuclear technology. The US objects but can only persuade West Germany to impose safeguards.
There are comparatively few nuclear accidents in this period – possibly reflecting the adoption of increased standards of safety. In April 1976 a nuclear warhead on the cruiser USS Albany is damaged. In September 1977 a Soviet Delta class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine accidentally jettisons a nuclear warhead near Kamchatka in the Pacific. The bomb is later recovered.
All the developments we have described moving through the four stages of this cycle are structural global innovations that have come to underpin and help determine the broad make up of the contemporary world we live in. They are also developments which could have only come about with the emergence of a totally new mindset. They have altered for ever the parameters of the world we used to live in.
The UN has become the ultimate political reference for all major political disputes in a way that would make a World War 3 difficult to imagine. US global financial supremacy has translated into such an overwhelming dominance of multinational corporations that the capital of these largely US owned entities exceeds the GDP of many of the world’s nations – yet China is soon set to overtake it. Nuclear weapons have proved so ultimate a military force that they have made an all-out military war between major powers almost inconceivable and yet possession of, and access to, that technology has significantly and dangerously widened
There appears to be a non exclusive correlation with the Saturn/Uranus cycle which is non sequential – see GENOCIDE page
The Saturn/Uranus In square is exact in February, June and December 2021 but will be in orb from 9 January 2020 till 3 July 2020 and from 31 July 2020 to 1 November 2020 and from 23 November 2020 till 24 January 2023