Taylor file photo [1019]

Maxwell Taylor

Given NameMaxwell
Died19 Apr 1987
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseAn accomplished soldier and statesmen, Maxwell Davenport Taylor’s career spanned some of the most important moments of the 20th century.

ww2dbaseA graduate of the US Military Academy in 1922, Taylor's steady rise through the ranks eventually led him to the 82nd Airborne Division, where he was Chief of Staff under Matthew Ridgeway. He also served as the Division’s artillery commander for operations in Sicily and Italy.

ww2dbaseTaylor was not inclined to let his soldiers assume all the risks of war. He is credited with passing

"through enemy lines 24 hours before the Allied invasion of Italy (1943) to confer with Italian leaders about the possibility of conducting an airborne assault on Rome."

ww2dbaseSeveral months before Operation Overlord, Taylor assumed command of the 101st Airborne Division after its first commander was injured in a training jump. Taylor jumped with his troops into Normandy on D-day and commanded the Division until the end of the war.

ww2dbaseIn late 1944, his "Battered Bastards of Bastogne" became famous for defending Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, though he was absent attending a conference in Washington DC.

ww2dbaseIn Behind Hitler’s Lines Taylor's son, Thomas, recounts what his father's response might have been to the famous surrender ultimatum issued by the German command:

"Years later [I] asked Taylor how he would have replied to Luttwitz [the German General making the demand] had he returned in time for the surrender ultimatum. Taylor's answer was that because this was an international communication he would have replied in French, the proper language of diplomacy, and would have said something like, 'These are still the Ardennes, but this is no longer 1940.'"

ww2dbaseGeneral Taylor reached the Division three days after the ultimatum was delivered, and by then "Nuts!" (General McAuliffe’s response) went "out to the world and into history." Despite his absence at Bastogne, Taylor led arguably one of the best fighting Divisions in the European theatre.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Taylor served as commander of the Allied troops in Berlin and later as the Army Chief of Staff. He retired from the military in 1959, but was recalled to service by President Kennedy in 1962. Taylor acted as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until 1964 and as Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1964-1965.

ww2dbaseGeneral Taylor died in 1987.

ww2dbaseSources: Arlington National Cemetery, Behind Hitler’s Lines, Britannica Online, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2005

Maxwell Taylor Interactive Map

Maxwell Taylor Timeline

19 Apr 1987 Maxwell Taylor passed away.


Badoglio declared war on Germany, 13 Oct 1943; American representative Taylor on leftBernard Montgomery bestowing the British Distinguished Service Order on Maxwell Taylor of the American 101st Airborne Division, Blay, Normandy, France, 7 Jul 1944.US Major General Maxwell Taylor posing in paratrooper equipment, circa 1944-1945Portrait of US Army Major General Maxwell Taylor, circa 1945-1949
See all 7 photographs of Maxwell Taylor

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code



1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Maxwell Taylor
Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender
» Normandy Campaign, Phase 1

Maxwell Taylor Photo Gallery
Badoglio declared war on Germany, 13 Oct 1943; American representative Taylor on left
See all 7 photographs of Maxwell Taylor

Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!