What happened on this day in history: Adolf Hitler is named TIME's "Man of the Year," the English serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper is apprehended, and more.
1832: Jules Brunet, “The Last Samurai” Is Born In France
Jules Brunet is born in Belfort, France. Sent by France to teach Western war tactics to Japanese soldiers, Brunet eventually joined the fight against imperialist forces in Japan. Shogunate forces, which had ruled Japan since the 11th century, began fighting against imperialist Emperor Meiji and his modernization efforts in the mid-1800s. Brunet, who was in Japan at this time, chose to fight for the shogunate.
He would later flee to France after suffering a decisive defeat by the imperialists and remain a wanted man in Japan for years. Later, the Japanese government would pardon Brunet and even award him medals, including the Order of the Rising Sun, and a popular blockbuster called ‘The Last Samurai’ would immortalize his story.
1839: Louis Daguerre Takes The First Known Photo Of The Moon
French photographer and inventor Louis Daguerre, creator of the daguerreotype photographic process, uses this method to take the first known photo of Earth’s moon. Unfortunately, Daguerre’s laboratory burned down just two months later, destroying his records and the image of the moon. The next year, John W. Draper took the first surviving daguerreotype of the moon from his rooftop watchtower at New York University.
1939: TIME Names Adolf Hitler “Man of the Year
TIME releases its annual “Man of the Year” issue, naming Adolf Hitler as the man who most influenced 1938 — “for better or worse.” The magazine’s editors wrote, “Hitler became in 1938 the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.” Later that year, Hitler would go on to invade Poland, setting in motion the start of World War II.
1942: All 33 Members Of The Duquesne Spy Ring Are Sentenced
The 33 members of the Duquesne Spy Ring are sentenced to a total of more than 300 years in prison. The Duquesne Spy Ring was a German espionage network led by Fritz Joubert Duquesne that worked within the United States during World War II. Its members were all found guilty in the largest espionage case that ended with convictions in American history.
1981: The “Yorkshire Ripper” Is Arrested
Peter Sutcliffe — the “Yorkshire Ripper” who murdered at least 13 women across England between 1975 and 1980 — is arrested. When police pulled him over on suspicion of false plate numbers, they realized Sutcliffe matched descriptions of the Yorkshire Ripper and brought him in for questioning.
He was later found guilty of the murders and sentenced to 20 life terms. He died of COVID-19-related complications in November 2020 while in prison.