Today In History Spotlights Jan. 2, 1942, Duquesne Spy Ring Convicted

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Today’s History Spotlight


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The United States FBI obtains the conviction of 33 members of a German spy ring. Known as the Duquesne Spy Ring, each of the members conducted their own mission of espionage against the United States. One member worked on an airline to inform the Germans when Allied ships crossed the Atlantic. Another sent letters that contained technical data on industry and the military.

Headed by Frederick Joubert Duquesne, this was the largest case of espionage in US history. The 33 members were sentenced to a total of 300 years in prison. Of those accused, 19 pleaded guilty after being investigated by the FBI. The other 14 were taken before a jury trial in New York City.

What Happened On This Day – January 2

  • 1981 The “Yorkshire Ripper” is caught. Peter Sutcliffe confessed to murdering 13 women and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • 1971 66 football fans die in the Ibrox disaster. Over 200 people were injured in the crush, which occurred at the end of an association football game between the Glasgow-based clubs, Rangers, and Celtic, at Ibrox Park.
  • 1967 Ronald Reagan is sworn in as Governor of California. Reagan became the 40th U.S. president in 1981.
  • 1959 Luna 1 is launched. The Soviet spacecraft was the first to reach the vicinity of the moon and orbit the sun.
  • 1860 Urban Le Verrier announces the discovery of the planet Vulcan. Despite a thorough search, the planet was never actually sighted.

Births On This Day – January 2

  • 1936 Roger Miller – American singer-songwriter, actor
  • 1928 Daisaku Ikeda – Japanese spiritual leader
  • 1920 Isaac Asimov – American chemist, author
  • 1905 Michael Tippett – English composer
  • 1873 Thérèse of Lisieux – French nun

Deaths On This Day – January 2

  • 1995 Siad Barre – Somalian military officer, politician, 3rd President of Somalia
  • 1989 Safdar Hashmi – Indian playwright, actor, director
  • 1960 Fausto Coppi – Italian cyclist
  • 1904 James Longstreet – American general, diplomat
  • 1892 George Biddell Airy – English mathematician, astronomer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at TimeandDate.com and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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