Taylor, Maxwell D. (Davenport) (1901–1987), a United States army officer. Taylor played a major role in shaping American military and diplomatic strategy in the Cold War era. He developed the doctrine of “flexible response,” the limited use of military power in pursuit of foreign-policy goals. He was army chief of staff, 1955–59; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1962–64; ambassador to South Vietnam, 1964–65; and special Presidential consultant on military and diplomatic affairs, 1965–69.
Taylor was born in Keytesville, Missouri. He graduated from West Point in 1922. During World War II he commanded the 101st Airborne Division, 1944–45. He was superintendent of West Point, 1945–49; chief of staff of American Forces in Europe, 1949–51; and commander of the U.S. Eighth Army and United Nations forces in Korea, 1953. His memoirs, Swords and Plowshares , were published in 1972.