Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker

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Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker (January 31, 1898 – 1949) was an American journalist and author. He was nicknamed "Red" Knickerbocker from the color of his hair.[1]


A son of Rev. Hubert Delancey Knickerbocker, H. R. Knickerbocker was born in Yoakum, Texas. He graduated from the Southwestern University in Texas, then studied psychiatry at Columbia University before becoming a career journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize.[2]

Knickerbocker was noted for reporting on German politics before and during World War II. From 1923 to 1933 he reported from Berlin, but because of his opposition to Hitler he was deported when Hitler came to power. In 1931, as a correspondent for the New York Evening Post and the Philadelphia Public Ledger, he won the Pulitzer Prize for "a series of articles on the practical operation of the Five Year Plan in Russia".[3][4]

In 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union but before American's entry into World War II, Knickerbocker foresaw the outcome of the European war:[5]

But suppose the Red Army were able to hold the Germans for another year, the while Britain with the United States' help grows strong enough in the air to obtain supremacy over the Luftwaffe on the Western Front. Suppose during this time, with the aid of shipments from the United States the Red Air Force recovers and also grows strong enough to dominate the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front. It is then possible to imagine a time when the Germans, disintegrating from within, would begin to withdraw from the East and the Red Army begin to attack.

When once Germany begins to crumble, it is the conviction of all who know that brittle country that she will fall apart at once ... The German Army will have been defeated, disrupted, demoralized. For a time there will be anarchy. Then all will depend upon which forces reach German territory and the German capital first, the Red Army or the armies of the West.[5]

After World War II, Knickerbocker went to work for radio station WOR, in Newark, New Jersey. He was on assignment with a team of journalists touring Southeast Asia when they were all killed in a plane crash near Bombay, India, on July 12, 1949.

Knickerbocker was married first to Laura Patrick in 1918, and they had one son, Conrad, later a daily book reviewer for the New York Times; his second marriage was to Agnes Schjoldager, and they had three daughters.

Major publications[edit]

  • Fighting the Red Trade Menace (1931)
  • The New Russia (1931)
  • Soviet Trade and World Depression (1931)
  • The Soviet Five Year Plan and Its Effect on World Trends (1931)
  • Can Europe Recover? (1932)
  • The German Crisis (1932)
  • Germany-Fascist or Soviet? (1932)
  • The Truth about Hitlerism (1933)
  • The Boiling Point: Will War Come in Europe? (1934)


  1. ^ Preston, Paul (2009). We Saw Spain Die: foreign correspondents in the Spanish Civil War. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-60239-767-5. 
  2. ^ Walter Prescott Webb, Eldon Stephen Branda, The Handbook of Texas vol. 3 (1952), p. 482: "Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker, internationally known writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was born in Yoakum, Texas, on January 31, 1898, the son of Rev. Hubert Delancey and Julia Catherine Knickerbocker..."
  3. ^ "KNICKERBOCKER, HUBERT RENFRO". TSHAOnline. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  4. ^ "The Pulitzer Prize: 1931 Winners". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved Mar 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Knickerbocker, H.R. (1941). Is Tomorrow Hitler's? 200 Questions On the Battle of Mankind. Reynal & Hitchcock. pp. 101–102. 

External links[edit]