Poland once had strong political, economic, military and cultural links with the countries of Western Europe and the United States. Since 1989, when the Eastern Block was dissolved and the communist system collapsed in the states of Middle and Eastern Europe, Poland has been striving to tighten its relationships with other European Countries. It supports enduring peace in the world by participating in the United Nations. Poland is also a member of important international organisations, including the Council of Europe, OECD and the European Union (from May 2004). It takes part in the anti-terrorist coalition and helps to reconstruct democracy in Iraq.
In the past Poland also played an important role in world history:
The Polish commanders Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski took part in the war for American independence. Kosciuszko helped to fortify Philadelphia and participated in battle of Saratoga. After his return to Poland he became famous as the leader of the War in Defence of the Constitution. Pulaski died of wounds inflicted during the Battle of Savannah.
Polish airmen participated in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War, in 1940. Polish squadrons were established according to an agreement signed by the British Government and the Polish Government in Exile. Poles made the largest group of foreign pilots in the Royal Air Force (145 people in Polish and British squadrons).
The codes generated by the German ENIGMA cipher machine were broken by three Polish mathematicians from the University of Poznan (Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski). Their great accomplishment enabled allies to read German secret messages and contributed to victory in World War II.
The Polish military represented American interests in Iraq and helped US agents to leave there before the war in Persian Gulf in 1990. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 there were 2,400 Polish soldiers, and seventeen of them were killed.