Controversy of Adolf Hitler: Time Magazine Man of the Year, 1938 (Fact Check)

The Person of the Year franchise, originally known as “Man of the Year,” began in 1927 with Time magazine. Following his historic solo flight across the Atlantic in 1928, Charles Lindbergh was the first person to appear on the cover.

It was Adolf Hitler's turn a decade later. In 1938, the magazine named the Nazi leader “Man of the Year.”

Controversy Ensued, and It Persists to This Day.

In an Aug. 16 post, the text with a photograph of Hitler reads, “Never forget the fact Adolf Hitler was TIME magazine's ‘Man of the Year' in 1938.” “Lesson learned: the mainstream media is not your friend.”

Chase's Account

While Hitler was named Time's “Man of the Year” in 1938, it was not a compliment. In reality, quite the opposite is true.

Time reported in 2014 that the selection criteria were “the person or persons who most touched the news and our lives, for good or bad.” “You could probably do a nasty man every year and get away with it.”

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Tim was constantly exhausted. That was his way of life for many years, until he was diagnosed with narcolepsy.

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More than 14,000 people have shared the message. The user was contacted by USA TODAY for comment.

The Choice of Time Was a Betrayal, Not a Compliment.

This story has been circulating online since at least 2016, according to the Australian Associated Press.

The current piece, like the previous assertions, misunderstands the nature of Time's selection, rendering any attempt to draw inferences about Time's or the media's validity illogical. It is not always an honour for Time to choose the people who have the greatest impact on the news.

Hitler is described as “the biggest menacing force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today” in Time's 1939 issue.

“The man most responsible for this world disaster is a melancholy, brooding, unprepossessing, 49-year old Austrian-born ascetic with a Charlie Chaplin moustache,” it stated, adding that Hitler's actions “left civilised men and women aghast.”

Even the photo on the cover of the 1939 edition was not the standard cover, according to a 2019 Time storey on Hitler's legacy.

“With his dead victims spinning on a St. Catherine's wheel, he was shown as a little figure with his back to the audience, playing a gigantic organ.”

Is it true or false? Learn the truth about news stories you've seen on the internet.

The Nazi commander is one of Time's most divisive picks, but he isn't the only bad guy who made the cut. Former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatullah Khomeini were among the others.

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According to our research, the allegation that Hitler's selection as Time's “Man of the Year” demonstrates why the media “is not your friend” is MISSING CONTEXT. According to Time, the selection criteria are based on the person's influence — good or negative – on the news and lives of others. Because of his unfavourable impact, Hitler was chosen in 1938.

Our Fact-checking Sources Include:

Associated Press of Australia, 15 January Hitler was once dubbed ‘Man of the Year' by TIME, but that's no accolade.

  • Time The History of TIME's Person of the Year Franchise, as of December 5, 2017
  • Time, 16 December 2006, Adolf Hitler, Person of the Year: A Photo History, 1938
  • Time, April 19, 2019: Hitler Is Still a Symbol of Evil 130 Years After His Birth
  • The Vault – Jan. 2, 1928, No. 1 Cover, Time, viewed Aug. 16
  • The Vault – Jan. 2, 1939, No. 1 Cover, Time, viewed Aug. 16
  • Time, accessible Aug. 16; The Vault – Jan. 2, 1939, No. 1 Page 14; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed
  • Time, accessible Aug. 16; The Vault – Jan. 2, 1939, No. 1 Page 15; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed Aug. 16; Time, accessed
  • Time, 9 December 2014, TIME's Person of the Year: Everything You Needed to Know

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