The Dutch soldier in the foreground is showing the photographer an Indonesian propaganda poster produced by the Indonesian National Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI). This poster was probably hidden in one of the wickerwork baskets at the bottom of the photo. During the war of independence, Dutch soldiers were ordered to actively hunt down and collect Indonesian propaganda so that counter-propaganda could be produced. The poster says “Basmi!! Provokasi Moesoeh!” (Put an end to the provocation by the enemy!), so it is a call to battle. In the background of the poster are threatening silhouettes, a reference to the danger posed by the Dutch army. Now that this Indonesian propaganda poster has come into Dutch hands, it takes on another layer of meaning: the silhouettes have become people of flesh and blood.
A marine with a TNI propaganda poster. Java, c. 1946. Photograph taken by Frans de Waard. KITLV A1363, KITLV 169039.