William Fife Knowland was an American politician, newspaper publisher, and Republican Party leader. He was a US Senator representing California from 1945 to 1959. He served as Senate Majority Leader from August 1953 to January 1955 after the death of Robert A. Taft.
As the most powerful member of the Senate and with his strong interest in foreign policy, Knowland helped set national foreign policy priorities and funding for the Cold War, the policy regarding Vietnam, Formosa, China, Korea and NATO, and other foreign-policy objectives.
He opposed sending American forces to French Indochina and was a sharp critic of Communist China under Mao Zedong. Knowland represented the right wing of the party and considered some of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's policies too liberal.
After the Republicans lost their majority in the 1954 election, he served as Minority Leader from 1955–1959. Knowland voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He was defeated in his 1958 run for California Governor. He succeeded his father, Joseph R. Knowland, as the editor in chief and publisher of the Oakland Tribune.