World War II: Operation Market Garden: Civilians

Figure 1.--There is not much doubt about the American unit involved here. Dutch Civilians are helping America 101st Aurborn troopers locate themselves and the German troop positions. They are near Eindhoven at the onset of Market Garden, about Sepember 20, 1944.

The Netherlands surrendered so quickly after the German invasion (May 1940) that little damage was done during this ininital phase of the War--even considering the terror raiod on Rotterdam. Subsequently as the strategic bombing campaign ramped up, large numbers of Allied bombers passed over the Netherlands on the way to targets in the Reich. Very few attacked a limited number of targets in the Nerherlands, such asthe Phillips electronic factory in Eindhoven (December 1942). The Allies did attack military installions like the Luftwaffe air base at Volkel. This changed with Market Garrden. A great deal of damage was done to towns and villages south and north/east of the Rhine where extensive fighting gook place. And the Gemans were not hesitant to shell Dutch towns in part becuse of the civilian sympathy with the Allies. Given that the Dutch were close to Norfic, probably more Aryan than the Germans, there was a tendency for the Germans to see the Dutch as essentially traitors. Given the brutality with which the Germans treated any resistance, such astrying to save Jews, there was very little the Dutch could do. Andny kind of violent resistance was impossible during the occupation. Many brave people did what they could and paid for it with their lives. Efforts included saving people, spreading information, saving downed airmen, and collecting information. When Allied forces reached the Netherlands, the Resistance provided invaluable assistance as guides and translators as well as intelligence as to where the German postions were. As bad as the situation was before Market Garden, it got much worse for civilians afterwards north of the Rhine in the area still controlled by the Germns. Hitler decided to punish the Dutch by restricting commerce between the countryside and urban areas. German road blocks ensured that food did not get into the cities. The result was the terrible Hunger Winter in which Dutch civilians starved.



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Created: 1:11 AM 1/26/2019
Last updated: 1:11 AM 1/26/2019