The Bundestag is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the chamber of deputies along the lines of the United States House of Representatives or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Through the Bundesrat, a separate institution, the individual states of Germany participate in legislation similar to a second house in a bicameral parliament; the Bundestag was established by article III of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 as one of the legislative bodies of Germany and thus the historical successor to the earlier Reichstag. Since 1999 it has met in the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Wolfgang Schäuble is the current President of the Bundestag. Members of the Bundestag are elected every four years by all adult German citizens in a mixed system of constituency voting and list voting; the constitutional minimum number of seats is 598. The Election Day can be called earlier than four years after the last if the Federal Chancellor loses a vote of confidence and asks the Federal President to dissolve the Bundestag in order to hold new general elections.
In the 19th century, the name Bundestag was the unofficial designation for the assembly of the sovereigns and mayors of the Monarchies and Free Cities which formed the German Confederation. Its seat was in the Free City of Frankfurt on the Main. With the dissolution of the German Confederation in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin, the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia. Two decades the current parliament building was erected; the Reichstag delegates were elected by equal male suffrage. The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the Chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for the Reichstag, the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In March 1933, one month after the Reichstag fire, the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, a retired war hero, gave Adolf Hitler ultimate power through the Decree for the Protection of People and State and the Enabling Act of 1933, although Hitler remained at the post of Federal Government Chancellor.
After this, the Reichstag met only usually at the Krolloper to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942. With the new Constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new West German parliament; because West Berlin was not under the jurisdiction of the Constitution, a legacy of the Cold War, the Bundestag met in Bonn in several different buildings, including a former waterworks facility. In addition, owing to the city's legal status, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, were instead represented by 22 non-voting delegates chosen by the House of Representatives, the city's legislature; the Bundeshaus in Bonn is the former parliament building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the northern areas the branch office of the Bundesrat, which represents the Länder – the federated states).
The southern areas became part of German offices for the United Nations in 2008. The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition and served as a conference center; the Reichstag building was occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Bundesversammlung, the body which elects the German Federal President. However, the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building. Since April 19, 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin in its original Reichstag building, built in 1888 based on the plans of German architect Paul Wallot and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Lord Norman Foster. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and parliamentary group meetings take place in three auxiliary buildings, which surround the Reichstag building: the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.
In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German Parliament. It was decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin. Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag is the legislative branch of the German political system. Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Bundestag considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program; the committees play a prominent role in this process. Plenary sessions provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered; the Bundestag members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public.
Youth For Understanding
Youth For Understanding is an international educational exchange organization. A network of over 50 independent national organizations worldwide, YFU representatives work together to advance learning across cultures. Within each country's culture, YFU organizations subscribe to and operate under a common set of principles and standards that aim to facilitate cooperation and harmony; each year, YFU exchanges 4,500 students worldwide. YFU conducts its exchange programs via direct contact between independent national organizations in over 50 countries; these autonomous organizations represent the international community network of YFU. Other YFU international activities are carried out by a volunteer International Advisory Council and a professional staff known as the International Secretariat. YFU organizations around the world subscribe to a set of basic operating and philosophic standards that embody YFU's commitment to conducting high quality programs; the standards set the basic requirements.
The umbrella body for national Youth For Understanding organisations across Europe is EEE-YFU. Youth for Understanding was founded by Rachel Andresen. In 1951 it was proposed to church leaders in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA that teenagers from Germany be brought to the United States to live with a family and attend high school for a year; as a result, 75 German teenagers arrived in Michigan in July 1951 and were hosted by volunteer U. S. families. The exchange program itself originated in late summer 1951 by the High Commission in Germany as the "Urban/Rural Teen-Age Exchange Program". In its first year it was supported by members of the Michigan Council of Churches under the motto "Youth for Understanding". Within the next 10 years it evolved into YFU-Germany; the first "exchange" from the US to Germany was a summer program with 30 US high school students organized by MCC-alumni. During that year, Germany became a sovereign country, the US government stopped funding the exchange program with Germany, which continued as a not-for-profit activity between the two YFU organizations.
In 1961/62, a one-year exchange program from the US to Germany was added with 6 initial students from the US. The first exchanges across the Pacific and to Mexico were established in 1958, South America in 1959. YFU, Inc. the non-profit educational organization, was established in 1964, the organization's offices were moved to Rosedale in Washington, D. C. in 1978. During most of the 1990s, YFU, Inc. served as the primary administrative organization for applications and interviews in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship program, overseen by the now defunct United States Information Agency. With the dissolution of the USIA toward the end of 1999, the CBYX scholarship program began to be reorganized on a regional basis, YFU ceased its central administrative control. On March 8, 2002 YFU, Inc. ceased operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that year. The YFU organization in United States was reorganized as YFU USA Inc. which opened on March 9, 2002. The organization's offices were moved to Bethesda, Maryland in 2002.
Ulrich Zahlten and former chair of YFU Germany, became the new chairman of the board of YFU USA. This reorganization reversed the organization's misfortunes. YFU USA has five district offices: Founders, Horizon and Southeast. YFU remains a volunteer-based organization as YFU USA has 1,400 active volunteers; the guidelines for the work of the national YFU organizations will be decided by the International Advisory Council. The committee, which meets twice a year, consists of 15 representatives from national organizations; the United States and Japan as the largest members are represented. The International Advisory Council is supported by the International Secretariat. YFU USA offers a range of educational opportunities for students, families and schools. High school study abroad programs are offered during the summer and include options for group or individual travel; the summer programs are four to eight weeks. Semester long and gap-year programs are offered. All YFU programs center on the family living experience.
The YFU USA Study Abroad Program provides opportunities for United States high school students to live with a host family and study abroad for a year, semester, or summer. Each year, YFU USA awards over 250 partial scholarships. Many of these scholarships are to Japan and Germany, which are among the most popular destinations for American students. However, new sponsorships, from both the government and corporate sectors, have allowed more scholarships to be awarded for study in other countries; the YFU USA International Student Program offers American families the opportunity to host an exchange student. In 2013, YFU USA welcomed more than 1,800 students from over 60 countries; the YFU USA Community College Program is present at community colleges across the United States. European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding is an international youth exchange non-profit organisation, founded in 1985, it is the umbrella body for national Youth For Understanding organisations across Europe and consists of 28 members.
The mission of EEE-YFU is to advance intercultural understanding, mutual respect, social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth and communities. YFU was founded shortly after the end of World War II, in 1951, it is one of the world's oldest education exchange organisations and has programmes in about 60 countries ar
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London; the city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, contiguous with its capital, Potsdam; the two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions. Berlin straddles the banks of the River Spree, which flows into the River Havel in the western borough of Spandau. Among the city's main topographical features are the many lakes in the western and southeastern boroughs formed by the Spree and Dahme rivers. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. About one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers and lakes; the city lies in the Central German dialect area, the Berlin dialect being a variant of the Lusatian-New Marchian dialects.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided. East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics and science, its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a complex public transportation network; the metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics.
Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras and entertainment venues, is host to many sporting events. Its Zoological Garden is one of the most popular worldwide. With the world's oldest large-scale movie studio complex, Berlin is an popular location for international film productions; the city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Since the 2000s Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, east of the River Saale, that once constituted, together with the River Elbe, the eastern border of the Frankish Realm. While the Frankish Realm was inhabited by Germanic tribes like the Franks and the Saxons, the regions east of the border rivers were inhabited by Slavic tribes; this is why most of the villages in northeastern Germany bear Slavic-derived names. Typical Germanised place name suffixes of Slavic origin are -ow, -itz, -vitz, -witz, -itzsch and -in, prefixes are Windisch and Wendisch.
The name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. Since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city, it is therefore a canting arm. Of Berlin's twelve boroughs, five bear a Slavic-derived name: Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Treptow-Köpenick and Spandau. Of its ninety-six neighborhoods, twenty-two bear a Slavic-derived name: Altglienicke, Alt-Treptow, Buch, Gatow, Kladow, Köpenick, Lankwitz, Lübars, Marzahn, Prenzlauer Berg, Schmöckwitz, Stadtrandsiedlung Malchow, Steglitz and Zehlendorf; the neighborhood of Moabit bears a French-derived name, Französisch Buchholz is named after the Huguenots. The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's Berlin are a wooden beam dated from 1192, remnants of a house foundation dated to 1174, found in excavations in Berlin Mitte; the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century.
Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. 1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, profited from the staple right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, their internal administrations still being separated. In 1415, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. During the 15th century, his successors established Berlin-Cölln as capital of the margraviate, subsequent members of the Hohenzol
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of the Senate; the Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 100 senators; the House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house and vote in congressional committees, introduce legislation; the members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "district". Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population using the United States Census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative.
Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators. There are 100 senators representing the 50 states; each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years one-third of the Senate is up for election. To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 or 30, have been a citizen of the United States for seven or nine years, be an inhabitant of the state which they represent; the Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation. Although not mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are affiliated with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party and only with a third party or independents. Article One of the United States Constitution states, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process—legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers. However, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers; the Senate ratifies treaties and approves presidential appointments while the House initiates revenue-raising bills. The House initiates impeachment cases. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required before an impeached person can be forcibly removed from office; the term Congress can refer to a particular meeting of the legislature. A Congress covers two years; the Congress ends on the third day of January of every odd-numbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators. Scholar and representative Lee H. Hamilton asserted that the "historic mission of Congress has been to maintain freedom" and insisted it was a "driving force in American government" and a "remarkably resilient institution". Congress is the "heart and soul of our democracy", according to this view though legislators achieve the prestige or name recognition of presidents or Supreme Court justices.
One analyst argues that it is not a reactive institution but has played an active role in shaping government policy and is extraordinarily sensitive to public pressure. Several academics described Congress: Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses, it reflects our regional idiosyncrasies, our ethnic and racial diversity, our multitude of professions, our shadings of opinion on everything from the value of war to the war over values. Congress is the government's most representative body... Congress is charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day. Congress is changing and is in flux. In recent times, the American south and west have gained House seats according to demographic changes recorded by the census and includes more minorities and women although both groups are still underrepresented. While power balances among the different parts of government continue to change, the internal structure of Congress is important to understand along with its interactions with so-called intermediary institutions such as political parties, civic associations, interest groups, the mass media.
The Congress of the United States serves two distinct purposes that overlap: local representation to the federal government of a congressional district by representatives and a state's at-large representation to the federal government by senators. Most incumbents seek re-election, their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent; the historical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government; the First Continental Congress was a gathering of representatives from twelve of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, referring to the new nation as the "United States of America"; the Articles of Confederation in 1781 created the Congress of the Confederation, a
Washington, D. C. formally the District of Columbia and referred to as Washington or D. C. is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father; as the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually; the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U. S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, the District is therefore not a part of any state; the states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land ceded by Virginia. Washington had an estimated population of 702,455 as of July 2018, making it the 20th most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth largest, had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents. All three branches of the U. S. federal government are centered in the District: Congress and the U. S. Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments, museums situated on or around the National Mall; the city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, professional associations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, the American Red Cross.
A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, Congress may overturn local laws. D. C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961. Various tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people inhabited the lands around the Potomac River when Europeans first visited the area in the early 17th century. One group known as the Nacotchtank maintained settlements around the Anacostia River within the present-day District of Columbia. Conflicts with European colonists and neighboring tribes forced the relocation of the Piscataway people, some of whom established a new settlement in 1699 near Point of Rocks, Maryland. In his Federalist No. 43, published January 23, 1788, James Madison argued that the new federal government would need authority over a national capital to provide for its own maintenance and safety.
Five years earlier, a band of unpaid soldiers besieged Congress while its members were meeting in Philadelphia. Known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security. Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution permits the establishment of a "District as may, by cession of particular states, the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States". However, the Constitution does not specify a location for the capital. In what is now known as the Compromise of 1790, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would pay each state's remaining Revolutionary War debts in exchange for establishing the new national capital in the southern United States. On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River; the exact location was to be selected by President George Washington, who signed the bill into law on July 16.
Formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles on each side, totaling 100 square miles. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, founded in 1751, the city of Alexandria, founded in 1749. During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including a free African American astronomer named Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the borders of the federal district and placed boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new federal city was constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the three commissioners overseeing the capital's construction named the city in honor of President Washington; the federal district was named Columbia, a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800. Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 that organized the District and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department; the current Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, who ascended to the office in April 2018 after Rex Tillerson resigned. The State Department's duties include implementing the foreign policy of the United States, operating the nation's diplomatic missions abroad, negotiating treaties and agreements with foreign entities, representing the United States at the United Nations, it is led by the Secretary of State, a member of the Cabinet, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In addition to administering the department, the Secretary of State serves as the nation's chief diplomat and representative abroad; the Secretary of State is the first Cabinet official in the order of precedence and in the presidential line of succession, after the Vice President of the United States, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate.
The State Department is headquartered in the Harry S Truman Building, a few blocks away from the White House, in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D. C.. The U. S. Constitution, drafted in Philadelphia in September 1787 and ratified by the 13 states the following year, gave the President the responsibility for the conduct of the nation's foreign relations; the House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Foreign Affairs on July 21, 1789, President Washington signed it into law on July 27, making the Department of Foreign Affairs the first federal agency to be created under the new Constitution. This legislation remains the basic law of the Department of State. In September 1789, additional legislation changed the name of the agency to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties; these responsibilities grew to include management of the United States Mint, keeper of the Great Seal of the United States, the taking of the census.
President George Washington signed the new legislation on September 15. Most of these domestic duties of the Department of State were turned over to various new federal departments and agencies that were established during the 19th century. However, the Secretary of State still retains a few domestic responsibilities, such as being the keeper of the Great Seal and being the officer to whom a President or Vice President of the United States wishing to resign must deliver an instrument in writing declaring the decision to resign. On September 29, 1789, President Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia Minister to France, to be the first United States Secretary of State. John Jay had been serving in as Secretary of Foreign Affairs as a holdover from the Confederation since before Washington had taken office and would continue in that capacity until Jefferson returned from Europe many months later. From 1790 to 1800, the State Department had its headquarters in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States at the time.
It occupied a building at Fifth Streets. In 1800, it moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C. where it first occupied the Treasury Building and the Seven Buildings at 19th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. It moved into the Six Buildings in September 1800, where it remained until May 1801, it moved into the War Office Building due west of the White House in May 1801. It occupied the Treasury Building from September 1819 to November 1866, except for the period from September 1814 to April 1816, it occupied the Washington City Orphan Home from November 1866 to July 1875. It moved to the State and Navy Building in 1875. Since May 1947, it has occupied the Harry S. Truman Building in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington. Condoleezza Rice became the second female secretary of state in 2005. Hillary Clinton became the third female secretary of state when she was appointed in 2009. In 2014, the State Department began expanding into the Navy Hill Complex across 23rd Street NW from the Truman Building.
A joint venture consisting of the architectural firms of Goody and the Louis Berger Group won a $2.5 million contract in January 2014 to begin planning the renovation of the buildings on the 11.8 acres Navy Hill campus, which housed the World War II headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services and was the first headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Executive Branch and the U. S. Congress have constitutional responsibilities for U. S. foreign policy. Within the Executive Branch, the Department of State is the lead U. S. foreign affairs agency, its head, the Secretary of State, is the President's principal foreign policy advisor. The Department advances U. S. objectives and interests in the world through its primary role in developing and implementing the President's foreign policy. It provides an array of important services to U. S. citizens and to foreigners seeking to visit or immigrate to the United States. All foreign affairs activities—U. S. Representation abroad, foreign assistance programs, countering internatio
AFS Intercultural Programs
AFS Intercultural Programs is an international youth exchange organization. It consists of over 50 independent, not-for-profit organizations, each with its own network of volunteers, professionally staffed offices, volunteer board of directors and website. In 2015, 12,578 students traveled abroad between 99 countries; the U. S.-based partner, AFS-USA, sends more than 1,100 U. S. students abroad and places international students with more than 2,300 U. S. families each year. More than 424,000 people have gone abroad with AFS and over 100,000 former AFS students live in the U. S; when war broke out in 1914, the American Colony of Paris organized an "ambulance"—the French term for a temporary military hospital—just as it had done in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 when the "American Ambulance" had been under tents set up near the Paris home of its founder, the celebrated Paris-American dentist, Dr. Thomas W. Evans; the "American Ambulance" of 1914 took over the premises of the unfinished Lycée Pasteur in the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine—and was run by the nearby American Hospital of Paris.
The volunteer drivers of 1914 found themselves behind the wheels of motorized, not horse-driven, vehicles: Model-Ts, purchased from the nearby Ford plant in Levallois-Perret. In the fall of 1914, when the war front moved away from Paris, the American Ambulance set up an outpost in Juilly and sent out detached units of volunteer drivers to serve informally with the British and Belgian armies in the north. In early 1915, one of those drivers, A. Piatt Andrew, was appointed “Inspector of Ambulances” by Robert Bacon, head of the American Ambulance and one of Andrew's colleagues from the Taft Administration; the newly appointed inspector toured the ambulance sections of Northern France and learned that the American volunteers were bored with so-called "jitney work," transporting wounded soldiers from railheads to hospitals far back from the front lines. French army policy prohibited foreign nationals from traveling into battle zones. In March 1915, Andrew met with Captain Aime Doumenc, head of the French Army Automobile Service and pleaded his case for the American volunteers.
They desired above all, he said, "to pick up the wounded from the front lines…, to look danger squarely in the face. Doumenc agreed to give Andrew a trial; the success of Section Z was immediate and overwhelming, by April 15, 1915, the French created American Ambulance Field Service operating under French Army command. This marked the formal beginning of American Ambulance Field Service, three units of which made their mark during battles in northern France, the Champagne and the Vosges. By the summer of 1916, the Field Service severed its ties with the American Ambulance and moved its operations from cramped quarters in Neuilly to Paris, onto the spacious grounds of the Delessert château at 21 rue Raynouard in the Passy area of Paris. There, it grew over the next year, continuing to provide "sanitary sections" to the French Army, while serving as a recruitment source of combat pilots for the newly formed Escadrille Lafayette, one of whose prime movers, Dr. Edmund L. Gros, was the Field Service’s in-house physician.
When the United States entered the war in April 1917, the French Army appealed to the Field Service for drivers for its military transport sections —and so, no longer limited to medical transport, the organization renamed itself the “American Field Service”, thus establishing today’s well-known acronym, “AFS”. Before the AFS was absorbed into the much larger, federalized U. S. Army Ambulance Service, it had numbered more than 2500 volunteers, including some 800 drivers of French military transport trucks, it had recruited its drivers from the campuses of American colleges and universities, promoting morale by creating units with volunteers from the same schools. All financed their own uniforms and transportation to France where they worked under the same conditions as French ambulance drivers—with the same pay—and found themselves serving under dangerous missions on the Front. By the end of the war, some 127 men who had served with the AFS were killed and a notable number of individuals and units earned the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de Guerre for their heroic actions as drivers.
Other volunteer ambulance corps served the French Army as “foreign sanitary sections” during World War I. The first was Henry Harjes’ “Formation” units under the American Red Cross, followed by Richard Norton’s American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, organized in London under the St. John’s Ambulance. Both would merge —under the American Red Cross—as the “Norton-Harjes”. In the summer and fall of 1917, when all the volunteer ambulance services were invited to join the new U. S. Army Ambulance Service, Norton’s units disbanded, while Harjes’, under the American Red Cross, moved into Italy where they would subsequently serve under the USAAS. Once the Americans entered the war, many drivers joined combat units, both French and American, serving as officers in a variety of assignments, notably in air force and artillery units. At the same time, a large percentage of volunteers signed up for the military, thenceforth members of USAAS units, but remaining identified with their AFS past—a past kept alive through the work of HQ, still at 21 rue Raynouard, where a Bulletin was published and where visiting ambulance drivers could find temporary lodgings and meals.
The young AFS drivers came from "prominent families in the States," and had attended, or were still attending, one of a hundred prominent colleges or universities around the country. Represented were a smaller group from Americ