Frank Knox: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Franklin Knox

In office
July 11, 1940 – April 28, 1944
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Charles Edison
Succeeded by James V. Forrestal

Born January 1, 1874
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died April 28, 1944 (aged 70)
Washington, D.C., USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Annie Reed Knox
Alma mater Alma College
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Religion Congregationalist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Major
Battles/wars Spanish-American War
World War I

William Franklin "Frank" Knox (January 1, 1874 – April 28, 1944) was the Secretary of the Navy under Franklin D. Roosevelt during most of World War II. He was also the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1936.



William Franklin Knox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where his father ran a grocery store, when he was nine. He attended Alma College in Michigan, where he was a member of the Zeta Sigma Fraternity ("the Pickles").

He served in Cuba with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.[1]

Following that conflict, Knox became a newspaper reporter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the beginning of a career that grew to include the ownership of several papers.

He changed his first name to Frank around 1900. In 1912 as founding editor of New Hampshire's Manchester Leader, forerunner to the New Hampshire Union Leader, he supported Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive ticket. During World War I, Knox was an advocate of preparedness and United States participation. He served as an artillery officer with the rank of Major in France after America entered the hostilities.

In 1930, Frank Knox became publisher and part owner of the Chicago Daily News. An active Republican, he was that party's nominee for vice president in the 1936 election, under Alf Landon. Landon and Knox were the only supporters of Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 to be later named to a Republican ticket. They lost by a landslide, winning just Maine and Vermont.

Admiral Harold R. Stark and Secretary Knox reading on a train in the United Kingdom in 1943

Knox, who was an internationalist and supporter of aid to Britain, became Secretary of the Navy in July 1940, as President Roosevelt strove to create bi-partisan appeal for his foreign and defense policies following the defeat of France.

As Secretary, Frank Knox followed Roosevelt's directive to expand the US Navy into a force capable of fighting in both the Atlantic and Pacific. He traveled extensively to naval installations worldwide in order to gain a first-hand knowledge of what his department had to deal with.

Following a brief series of heart attacks, Secretary Knox died in Washington, D.C. on April 28, 1944 while still in office. He was buried on May 1, 1944 in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.[2]

Posthumous honors and memorials

The Gearing-class destroyer USS Frank Knox (DD-742), commissioned in December 1944, was named in his honor.[3][4]

His father was from New Brunswick and his mother Sarah Barnard, was from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.[5] It seems probable that his Canadian connection led his widow, Annie Reid Knox[2] in 1948 to endow a scholarship in his name - the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowships - which supports scholars from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom wishing to study at Harvard University.[1]


Knox is well known for his public comments on the German massacre of civilians in the Czech village of Lidice in June 1942 following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich: "If future generations ask us what we are fighting for [in World War Two], we shall tell them the story of Lidice."[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Who is Frank Knox?", Harvard University.
  2. ^ a b c "William Franklin 'Frank' Knox", Arlington National Cemetery.
  3. ^ "Frank Knox (1874-1944)", Online Library of Selected Images, NHC.
  4. ^ "USS Frank Knox", USN Ships, NHC.
  5. ^ J. Ernest Kerr, Imprint of the Maritimes, 1959, Boston: Christopher Publishing, p. 123


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Department of the Navy.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Curtis
Republican Party vice presidential candidate
1936 (lost)
Succeeded by
Charles L. McNary
Military offices
Preceded by
Claude A. Swanson
United States Secretary of the Navy
1940 – 1944
Succeeded by
James V. Forrestal


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