Operation Market Garden (September 17–September 25, 1944) was an Allied military operation in World War II. Its tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands by large-scale use of airborne forces together with a rapid advance by armored units along the connecting roads, for the strategic purpose of allowing an Allied crossing of the Rhine river, the last major natural barrier to an advance into Germany. The planned rapid advance from the Dutch-Belgian border into northern Germany, across the Maas (Meuse) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine), would have outflanked the Siegfried Line and made possible an encirclement of the Ruhr Area, Germany's industrial heartland.
The operation was initially successful with the capture of the Waal bridge at Nijmegen on September 20. But it was a failure overall since the planned Allied advance across the Rhine at Arnhem had to be abandoned. The 1st Airborne Division did not secure the bridge at Arnhem, and although they managed to hold out near the bridge far longer than planned, the British XXX Corps failed to relieve them. The Rhine remained a barrier to the Allied advance until the offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. Due to the Allied defeat at Arnhem, the north of the Netherlands could not be liberated before winter and the Hongerwinter ('Hungerwinter') took thousands of lives, particularly in the cities of the Randstad area.