Released by the British Information Service in the aftermath of the Market Garden failure, this short black-and-white newsreel, part of the “Act and Fact” series and titled “Gateway to Germany,” begins with cheering crowds in September 1944, as the British 2nd Army roars through Belgium. Men, women, and children are shown reaching out to shake the hands of the soldiers at their convoys make their way through city streets at mark 00:20. The British 11th Armored Division are shown making their way to the outskirts of Antwerp at mark 01:00, where the Allies gain control of docks and railways in the city. Yet the war is not over for the Brits, we are told, as troops must continue fighting their way through the rest of Belgium. “The soldiers realize the days of their triumphant sweep are over. From here in, war is grim and unforgiving,” says the narrator at mark 01:34, as scenes of combat flash across the screen. “Battered by a merciless Germany rear guard, the troops press forward.” Meanwhile, the Allies launch an air strike on Holland, designed to get behind German water defenses and join the ground army “at the gateway to Germany.” Men of the British 1st Parachute Brigade are shown bailing out at mark 03:10 over Arnhem in the Netherlands, while enemy guns fall strangely quiet. As troops march through Eindhoven to meet the US 101st Airborne Division at mark 03:40, additional Allied aircraft soar overhead. Although troops were ordered to withdraw from Arnhem, as is shown at mark 05:25, Allied forces later regroup for a final assault beginning at mark 06:40, including a battle for Walcheren Island in late October. Canadian and British troops were eventually able to secure the area on November 2, 1944.

“On Walcheren they call it Heartbreak Island. But the people who live here, bear on their coat of arms: ‘I struggle and emerge…,’” says the narrator near mark 09:15. “The people of Walcheren say, ‘The Lord made the water rise and He will make it fall.’ Our children will live to see these trees bear fruit again.” As the film closes, Allied troops are shown entering the harbor at Antwerp, “A lifeline of supplies for the armies of the Western front. Bought and paid for with the blood of courage and the strength of sacrifice, the gateway to Germany today stands open.”

Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. Field Marshal Montgomery’s strategic goal was to encircle the heart of German industry, the Ruhr, in a pincer movement. The northern end of the pincer would circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line giving easier access into Germany. The aim of Operation Market Garden was to establish the northern end of a pincer ready to project deeper into Germany. Allied forces would project north from Belgium, 60 miles (97 km) through the Netherlands, across the Rhine and consolidate north of Arnhem on the Dutch/German border ready to close the pincer.

Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation. The 82nd Airborne Division’s failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal at Nijmegen before 20 September also delayed the advance of XXX Corps. Only a small force managed to capture the north end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, the paratroopers were overrun on 21 September. The remainder of the 1st Airborne Division were trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, having to be evacuated on 25 September. The Allies failed to cross the Rhine and the river remained a barrier to their advance into Germany until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden to form a foothold over the Rhine ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

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