Publish Date: Jan. 2, 1939
Cover Story: Adolf Hitler: Man of the Year, 1938
How TIME Covered the News: The most-controversial Person of the Year cover, and the only one not to show the face of the person receiving the title, Adolf Hitler was made TIME’s Person of the Year in 1938 for influencing the year’s news most “for better or for ill.” That year, Hitler’s Third Reich sounded the drums of the epic war to come, annexing Austria and the Sudetenland, the term for predominantly German-speaking areas in Czechoslovakia. Heads of state elsewhere in Europe seemed powerless to stop him.
“But the figure of Adolf Hitler strode over a cringing Europe with all the swagger of a conqueror. Not the mere fact that the Führer brought 10,500,000 more people (7,000,000 Austrians, 3,500,000 Sudetens) under his absolute rule made him the Man of 1938. Japan during the same time added tens of millions of Chinese to her empire. More significant was the fact Hitler became in 1938 the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”
Next 1939 – Pablo Picasso