High Stakes in the East is made on behalf of the Netherlands Information Services of the Dutch government in exile. In the aftermath of the Allied defeat in the battle for Java, after which the island fell into Japanese hands, this propaganda film made for American audiences shows what has been lost. "Why are the Netherlands East Indies so important to the modern world?" the bombastic voice-over asks at the beginning of the film. The answer lies in the raw materials to be found in these "Dutch treasure islands." Accompanied by archive footage of Javanese crafts and industries, the narrator sums these up: rice, sugar, tea, rubber, oil. For contemporary audiences, the nonchalant way in which the population of Java is also seen as a raw material is a portent of the colonial independence struggles that would flare up after World War II.