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Frank Knox

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Frank Knox

William Franklin "Frank" Knox (January 1, 1874April 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. He attended Alma College, in Michigan, and served in Cuba with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. 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 in about 1900. During World War I, Knox was an advocate of preparedness and United States participation. He served as an artillery officer 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 lost by a landslide, winning just Maine and Vermont. Knox, who was an internationalist and supporter of the World War II Allies, became Secretary of the Navy in July 1940, as President Roosevelt strived to create bi-partisan appeal for his foreign and defense policies following the defeat of France.

As Secretary, Frank Knox worked hard to expand the US Navy into a force capable of fighting in both the Atlantic and Pacific. His selection of new uniformed leadership in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor was important to seeing the Navy through the difficult times early in the war. Though he tended to leave military matters to the officer corps, his administrative talents and good judgment made invaluable contributions to the victory that he would not live to see.

Following a brief series of heart attacks, Secretary Knox died in Washington, D.C. on April 28, 1944.

USS Frank Knox is named in his honor. Fort Knox is named in honor of another famous Knox, Henry Knox.


Preceded by:
Charles Curtis
Republican Party Vice Presidential candidate
1936 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Charles L. McNary
Preceded by:
Charles Edison
United States Secretary of the Navy
19401944
Succeeded by:
James Forrestal

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