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Press Advisory

From the BBC: Evacuation from Holland | 26 September, 1944

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The people of Eindhoven welcome the Allies at the beginning of the liberation campaign.

* * *

A Radio Broadcast from the BBC

26 September, 1944

* * *

Monty’s bold offensive to liberate occupied Holland, bypass the Siegfried Line, and then strike into the heart of industry Germany, has failed.

The War will not be over by Christmas.

The offensive was a lightning strike northward, a thin slashing line from Eindhoven to Arnhem. Glider and paratroopers landed at key points in the line, holding bridges open for Monty’s advancing tanks.

But at Nijmegen the Allied advance stymied under stiff - and unexpected - resistance from German SS units.

Meanwhile, the British 1st Airborne at Arnhem struggled against the full force of the SS as they clung onto the John Frost Bridge - the northernmost bridge of the advance - and held it from the German panzers. The 1st Airborne fought gallantly at Arnhem and the John Frost, awaiting Monty’s relief force.

But the John Frost was a bridge too far. Held at Nijmegen, the advance to Arnhem stalled.


The City of Nijmegen after the Battle. The contested Waal Bridge in the background.


The 1st Airborne at Arnhem was overrun on 21 September. Surviving elements evacuated with the rest of the Allied advance on 25 September.

The War will not be over by Christmas. But the enemy is yet on the back foot. On all sides, the Allies are closing in on the Reich. The Japanese Empire is reeling from its shattering defeat in India and continues to fall back through Burma. Its stronghold in the Pacific are being dug out one by one.

The failure to liberate Holland in 1944 is a tragic setback. The people of Holland, so stiff in their resistance to Nazi oppression, face again the terrible reprisals of their occupiers. We freedom-loving people of the world, failing in our earnest efforts of liberation, can only watch and weep for our friends in Holland and around the world.

We will echo the words of an American general. When US General Douglas MacArthur was forced by incipient Japanese invasion to evacuate the Philippines in 1941, he made a promise: “I came through and I shall return.

We say to the people of Holland: We shall return.

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