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In the summer of 1944, Arnhem was a city under occupation. Even after the Germans entered the city in 1940, its population of approximately 90,000 residents had still experienced very little of the violence of war. The front was a long way away in Normandy, France. This all changed on Sunday, 17 September. The sky to the west of the city, in the direction of Oosterbeek, turned black with parachutes. “The Tommies are coming!” someone shouted, meaning that the British were on their way. A man arrived on his bike, having cycled all the way from Renkum. “They’re here!” he shouted, “They’re here! Thousands of them!” Some of Arnhem’s residents went out onto their roofs to wave, while others hung out flags. They thought that liberation had come. British planes were dropping pamphlets that said as much. “Liberation is near!” But the Battle of Arnhem had not yet even begun...