Famous newspapers may be committed to running “all the news that’s fit to print,” but some headlines immediately become iconic upon publication.
Let’s take a look at the top ten most famous – and infamous – headlines of all time.
1. “Wall Street Crash!” The London Herald
This October 29, 1929, headline announced the U.S. stock market crash that ultimately led to the Great Depression.
Plus, currencies from around the world fell flat as a direct result of the crash.
2. “The First Footstep,” Evening Standard
It’s nice to see a more positive headline on a list of the biggest newsmakers in history.
This July 21, 1969, article told of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
It also marked the birth of the famous phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
3. “Martin King Shot To Death: Gunned Down In Memphis,” Daily News
The terrible news that the iconic civil rights leader had been assassinated dominated headlines across the globe on April 5, 1968.
Dr. King was killed on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel at just 39 years old, leaving behind his widow, Coretta Scott King, and millions of grieving Americans.
4. “Peace! Japan Capitulates!” The New York Daily News
This August 15, 1945, headline was a huge source of joy and relief to readers around the world.
The end of World War II came when the Japanese surrendered, four months after the fall of the Third Reich in Germany.
Six years of horrific war had finally come to an end.
5. “U.S. Attacked: Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers And Hit Pentagon In Day Of Terror,” The New York Times
Everyone remembers where they were on September 11, 2001.
It seems like the world stopped the day that hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City, killing 2,726 people.
6. “Beatle John Lennon Slain,” The Los Angeles Times
Peace was his message, but on December 9, 1980, his young life came to a tragic end. John Lennon was shot by a crazed fan, Mark David Chapman, at 10:49 in the morning outside his New York City apartment.
He was shot four times in the back.
7. “Assassin Kills Kennedy: Lyndon Johnson Sworn In,” Chicago Tribune
It’s one of the darkest headlines in American history. This ran the news of JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Texas and told the story of his widow, Jackie’s, reaction.
8. “Nixon Resigns,” The Washington Post
This August 1974 headline announced the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal and made Gerald Ford the next President of the United States.
This was a hugely shocking ordeal to the American political system and the country’s people.
9. “Hitler Dead,” The News Chronicle
This paper, which would later become The Daily Mail, printed this headline on May 2, 1945. It announced the death of Hitler and his wife by suicide – but when it ran, people weren’t sure if they could believe it.
10. “Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg,” The New York Times
So, it may not have been the film that won Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar, but it’s still one of the most iconic – and heartbreaking – headlines of all time.
On April 14, 1912, the so-called “Unsinkable Ship” hit an iceberg and sank, resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 people.
What Will Be Next?
When you’re reading news headlines for today, which ones stick out in your mind as having the potential to go down in history?
Make sure you save the print newspapers with the headlines your grandchildren will ask you about!