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25th Anniversary of Poland’s Accession to NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 as an international political and military alliance intended to counter the real threat posed by the Soviet Union to Western Europe. The guiding principle of the organisation can be summarised by the maxim: “One for all, all for one”.

However, enslaved by the Yalta order until 1991, Poland was forced to participate in a military structure subordinate to Moscow’s interests. It was not until liberation from its domination that it was possible to adopt a defence doctrine and build up armed forces appropriate to an independent state. With its political and economic return to the Western world, Poland also began the process of joining its military structures. In April 1991, the North Atlantic Council adopted a declaration of partnership with Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries. In December of the same year, Prime Minister Jan Olszewski declared Poland’s intention to become a full member of NATO, and Minister of National Defence Jan Parys launched procedures to adapt the Polish army to Western standards. Great organisational and personnel changes were made in the Polish Army, and Soviet-made equipment was gradually replaced by the equipment suited to the new challenges. The personnel of the thoroughly reorganised army were educated, among others, at American universities as well as during exercises and training conducted jointly with NATO formations. In September 1993, the withdrawal of Soviet troops which had been stationed in Poland for 49 years came to an end. In July 1997, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were invited to become members of the alliance. Poland formally joined NATO on 12 March 1999.

In 2023, 31 countries were members of the North Atlantic Alliance, with Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the process of being admitted. Today, NATO is the strongest military pact in the modern world. Poland’s position in NATO has increased considerably in recent years as a result of significant investment in our army, which guards the extremely important eastern flank of the alliance. One of the tasks performed by the Polish Air Force on a rotational basis is to patrol the eastern borders of three other NATO member states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

For centuries, the Commonwealth of Poland played the role of one of the main guarantors of security for Europe. Today, this role is fulfilled by the North Atlantic Alliance, whose power is partly based on the armed forces of our homeland.

Artur Adamski

The reverse of the coin features the silhouettes of five Polish Army soldiers representing modern military formations that are part of NATO, and the NATO symbol. The obverse features the composition of the armament equipment of the Polish Army: the Krab self-propelled gun-howitzer, the M142 HIMARS rocket launcher and the M1A1 Abrams tank.