Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Health care in France
The French health care system is one of universal health care financed by government national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "close to best overall health care" in the world. In 2011, France spent 11.6% of GDP on health care, or US$4,086 per capita, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe but less than in the US. 77% of health expenditures are covered by government funded agencies. Most general physicians are in private practice but draw their income from the public insurance funds; these funds, unlike their German counterparts, have never gained self-management responsibility. Instead, the government has taken responsibility for the financial and operational management of health insurance; the French government refunds patients 70% of most health care costs, 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments. Supplemental coverage may be bought from most of them nonprofit, mutual insurers.
Until 2000, coverage was restricted to those who contributed to social security, excluding some poor segments of the population. Only about 3.7% of hospital treatment costs are reimbursed through private insurance, but a much higher share of the cost of spectacles and prostheses and dental care. There are public hospitals, non-profit independent hospitals, as well as private for-profit hospitals. France 1871–1914 followed well behind Bismarckian Germany, as well as Great Britain, in developing the welfare state including public health. Tuberculosis was the most dreaded disease of the day striking young people in their 20s. Germany set up vigorous measures of public hygiene and public sanatoria, but France let private physicians handle the problem, which left it with a much higher death rate; the French medical profession jealously guarded its prerogatives, public health activists were not as well organized or as influential as in Germany, Britain or the United States. For example, there was a long battle over a public health law which began in the 1880s as a campaign to reorganize the nation's health services, to require the registration of infectious diseases, to mandate quarantines, to improve the deficient health and housing legislation of 1850.
However the reformers met opposition from bureaucrats and physicians. Because it was so threatening to so many interests, the proposal was debated and postponed for 20 years before becoming law in 1902. Success came when the government realized that contagious diseases had a national security impact in weakening military recruits, keeping the population growth rate well below Germany's; the current system has undergone several changes since its foundation in 1945, though the basis of the system remains state planned and operated. Jean de Kervasdoué, a health economist, believes that French medicine is of great quality and is "the only credible alternative to the Americanization of world medicine." According to Kervasdoué, France's surgeons, clinicians and its emergency care system are an example for the world. However, despite this, Kervasdoué criticizes the fact that hospitals must comply with 43 bodies of regulation and the nit-picking bureaucracy that can be found in the system. Kervasdoué believes that the state intervenes too much in regulating the daily functions of French hospitals.
Furthermore, Japan and the Netherlands have health care systems with comparable performance to that of France's, yet spend no more than 8% of their GDP. According to various experts, the battered state of the French social security system's finances is causing the growth of France's health care expenses. To control expenses, these experts recommend a reorganization of access to health care providers, revisions to pertinent laws, a repossession by CNAMTS of the continued development of medicines, the democratization of budgetary arbitration to counter pressure from the pharmaceutical industry; the entire population must pay compulsory health insurance. The insurers are non-profit agencies that annually participate in negotiations with the state regarding the overall funding of health care in France. There are three main funds, the largest of which covers 84% of the population and the other two a further 12%. A premium is deducted from all employees' pay automatically; the 2001 Social Security Funding Act, set the rates for health insurance covering the statutory health care plan at 5.25% on earned income and winnings from gambling and at 3.95% on benefits.
After paying the doctor's or dentist's fee, a proportion is reimbursed. This is around 75 to 80%, but can be as much as 100%; the balance is a co-payment paid by the patient but it can be recovered if the patient pays a regular premium to a voluntary health insurance scheme. Most of them are managed by non-for-profit groups. Under recent rules, general practitioners are expected to act as "gate keepers" who refer patients to a specialist or a hospital when necessary; however the system offers
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
National Insurance Act 1911
The National Insurance Act 1911 created National Insurance a system of health insurance for industrial workers in Great Britain based on contributions from employers, the government, the workers themselves. It was one of the foundations of the modern welfare state, it provided unemployment insurance for designated cyclical industries. It formed part of the wider social welfare reforms of the Liberal Government of 1906–1915. David Lloyd George, the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, was the prime moving force behind its design, negotiations with doctors and other interest groups, final passage. Lloyd George followed the example of Germany, which under conservative Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had provided compulsory national insurance against sickness from 1884. After visiting Germany in 1908, Lloyd George said in his 1909 Budget speech that Britain should aim to be "putting ourselves in this field on a level with Germany, his measure gave the British working classes the first contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment.
The Act only applied to wage earners—about 70% of the work force—their families and the unwaged were not covered. After first praising the proposal, the Conservatives split, most voted against it, but when returned to office they did not change it. Some trade unions who operated their own insurance schemes, friendly societies who had their own schemes, at first opposed the proposal, but Lloyd George convinced most of them to support it; the friendly societies and trade unions were given a major role in administering health insurance. Covered workers outside those agencies dealt with the local post office; the government picked up responsibility for the basic benefits that the unions and societies had promised, thus helping their financial reserves. The Act was psychologically important, as it removed the need for unemployed workers to rely on the stigmatised social welfare provisions of the Poor Law; this hastened the end of the Poor Law as a social welfare provider: the Poor Law Unions were abolished in 1929, the administration of poor relief was transferred to the counties and county boroughs.
Key figures in the implementation of the Act included Robert Laurie Morant and economist William Braithwaite, who drafted the details after inspecting the German system. The medical profession was angry with the law, despite support from some prominent leaders such as Victor Horsley; some critics on the right such as Hilaire Belloc considered the Act to be a manifestation of The Servile State, which Belloc blasted in his book of the same name. The National Insurance Act Part I provided for a National Insurance scheme with provision of medical benefits. All workers who earned under £160 a year had to pay 4 pence a week to the scheme. Under the Act, workers could take sick leave and be paid 10 shillings a week for the first 13 weeks, 5 shillings a week for the next 13 weeks. Workers gained access to free treatment for tuberculosis, the sick were eligible for treatment by a panel doctor. Due to pressure from the Co-operative Women's Guild, the National Insurance Act provided maternity benefits. In parts of Scotland whose economy was still based on subsistence farming, the collection of cash contributions was impractical.
The Highlands and Islands Medical Service was established in the crofting counties on a non-contributory basis in 1913. Though the fund was held centrally, the obligation to pay into it was a nationally imposed one, access to the scheme was via Approved Societies, who collected the contributions, paid out for treatment, provided day-to-day administration. A worker could choose. Any organisation could become an Approved Society, as long as it was registered under the Act, complied with the Act's obligations, including to operate on a not-for-profit basis; as well as societies created by the Trade Unions, friendly societies, commercial insurers established Approved Societies, such as the National Amalgamated Approved Society. The 1911 Act only allowed Approved Societies to collect the contributions of their members; the societies' own expenditure, such as the cost of treatment for their members, would be reimbursed by the Fund, on a six-monthly basis. The government did not reimburse any "improper" payments, such as "treatments" that did not comply with government regulations, or corrupt payments.
Many Approved Societies were nominally profitable, contributing more to the National Insurance Fund than they took out. In 1925, 1931, further Acts were passed which reduced the government contribution to the Fund: the government pressured the backers of Approved Societies to take on the financial burden themselves. Together with increasing government control on which treatments they were allowed to fund, this led many Societies to complain that they had become little more than branches of government, membership attendance at society meetings dwindled away, becoming non-existent by 1940; the National Insurance Act 1946 introduced a single national organisation in the healthcare field which, among other things, fulfilled the role of the Approved Societies. The National Insurance Act Part II provided
Health care in Colombia
Health care in Colombia refers to the prevention and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well being through the services offered by the medical and allied health professions in the Republic of Colombia. Tropical diseases are important issues in Colombia because they area major causes of death. Malaria affects nearly 85% of the national territory the Pacific ocean coast, the Amazon jungle and eastern savannas, with an estimated of 250,000 cases/year and a mortality rate of 3/100,000; the main agent is Plasmodium vivax with 66% of the cases, except on the Pacific coast, where Plasmodium falciparum causes 75% of the cases. Yellow fever and Dengue fever are major public health concerns, because of their high epidemic potential, high mortality rate and wide distribution of Aedes aegypti; the Colombian government develops vaccination campaigns against yellow fever on a regular basis. Chagas disease is endemic to nearby areas. Other diseases such as Leishmania, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and West nile virus are present in Colombia.
Snakebites are a big concern, because of the shortage in antivenom supplies countrywide. Different forms of malnutrition affect the population children under five years of age, with moderate to severe rates of malnutrition of 21% and iron deficiency anemia of 23%.. The first graduated medical doctor, Alvaro de Aunón came to New Granada from Seville Spain, in 1597 and stayed for a short time; the first drug-store in Colombia was opened at the same time, in the main square of Bogotá by Pedro Lopez Buiza. In 1636, Rodrigo Enriquez de Andrade started the first faculty of medicine in the New Granada, at St Bartholomew's College with little success because of the prejudices against the medical career in the Spanish culture, where it was considered vulgar and proper of lower-class people. Most of the medical practice in the country was provided by people without formal education; the first medical book written in Colombia was "Tratado de medicina y modelo de curar en estas partes de Indias" by Pedro Fernandez de Valenzuela.
In 1740, don Vicente Tomás Cansino started the medical program at Our Lady of the Rosary University. The medical care at the time was made exclusively in the particular homes of the sick people due lo the lack of health institutions; the first hospital in Colombia was San Pedro Hospital, in the capital city Bogotá. The hospital started functioning in 1564, built by bishop Juan de los Barrios. In 1739 the Hospital San Juan de Dios, Bogota was built by fray Pedro Pablo Villamor. In 1877, Anna Galvis Hotz became the first Colombian woman to become a Doctor of Medicine having graduated the University of Bern in Switzerland since women could not attend university in Colombia at the time. In 1925, Paulina Beregoff became the first woman to become a Doctor of Medicine from a Colombian institution, the Russian-American graduated from the University of Cartagena. In 1945, Inés Ochoa Pérez became the first Colombian woman to become a Doctor of Medicine from a Colombian institution having graduated from the National University of Colombia.
Health standards in Colombia have improved since the 1980s. A 1993 reform transformed the structure of public health care funding by shifting the burden of subsidy from providers to users; as a result, employees have been obligated to pay into health plans to which employers contribute. Although this new system has widened population coverage by the social and health security system from 21% to 56% in 2004 and 66% in 2005, health disparities persist, with the poor continuing to suffer high mortality rates; the refractive surgery keratomileusis was developed by Ignacio Barraquer in 1964 in Bogotá. On January 10, 1985, Dr. Elkin Lucena performed the first successful In vitro fertilization, that allowed the birth of the first Latin American test tube baby Carolina Mendez. On December 14, 1985 the Dr. Alberto Villegas performed the first heart transplant in Latin America to Antonio Yepes. On May 20, 1994 Dr. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo received the Prince of Asturias Awards by his technical and scientific research in the development of synthetic malaria vaccine.
In 2002 Colombia had 58,761 physicians, 23,950 nurses, 33,951 dentists. In 2005 Colombia was reported to have only 1.1 physicians per 1,000 people, as compared with a Latin American average of 1.5. General government spending on health accounted for 20.5% of total government expenditures and for 84.1% of total health expenditures in 2003. Total expenditures on health constituted 5.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2005. The per capita expenditure on health care in 2005 at an average exchange rate was US$150. Urban and rural residents experienced significant differences in access to health care; the coverage in the three largest cities—Bogotá, Medellín, Cali—was 95 percent. At the rural level, the best services were delivered by the departments in the coffee-growing areas. At the bottom of the scale—in terms of quality and coverage—were the rural areas in the non-Andean regions as well as the marginal neighborhoods in medium-sized and small cities. Since 2001–2 Colombia has halved its homicide rate, more than 60 per 100,000 inhabitants, or 28,837, in 2002, one of the world’s highest homicide rates.
In 2006, a total of 17,206 violent deaths were recorded, the lowest figure since 1987. Other than homicide, heart disease is the main cause of premature death, followed by strokes, respiratory diseases, road accidents, diab
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890. In 1862, King Wilhelm I appointed Bismarck as Minister President of Prussia, a position he would hold until 1890, with the exception of a short break in 1873, he provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state in 1867, leading it as Federal Chancellor; this aligned the smaller North German states behind Prussia. Receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire in 1871, unifying Germany with himself as Imperial Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia at the same time.
The new German nation excluded Austria, Prussia's main opponent for predominance among the German states. With that accomplished by 1871, he skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, it was Bismarck who "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for twenty years after 1871, devoted himself and to maintaining peace between the powers". However, his annexation of Alsace-Lorraine gave new fuel to French nationalism and promoted Germanophobia in France; this helped set the stage for the First World War. Bismarck's diplomacy of realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy, he disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a complex interlocking series of conferences and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position and used the balance of power to keep Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s.
A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist enemies. In the 1870s, he allied himself with the Liberals and fought the Catholic Church in what was called the Kulturkampf, he lost that battle as the Catholics responded by forming a powerful Centre party and using universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs, formed a political alliance with the Centre Party to fight the Socialists. A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his king, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him against the advice of his wife and his heir. While the Reichstag, Germany's parliament, was elected by universal male suffrage, it did not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite that consisted of the landed nobility in eastern Prussia.
Under Wilhelm I, Bismarck controlled domestic and foreign affairs, until he was removed by the young Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890, at the age of seventy-five. Bismarck – a Junker himself – was strong-willed and overbearing, but he could be polite and witty, he displayed a violent temper, he kept his power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision but the short-term ability to juggle complex developments; as the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism", Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists. Many historians praise him as a visionary, instrumental in uniting Germany and, once, accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy. Bismarck was born in Schönhausen, a wealthy family estate situated west of Berlin in the Prussian province of Saxony, his father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck, was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer.
He had two siblings: his younger sister Malwine. The world saw Bismarck as a typical Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing military uniforms. Bismarck was well cosmopolitan with a gift for conversation. In addition to his native German, he was fluent in English, Italian and Russian. Bismarck was educated at Johann Ernst Plamann's elementary school, the Friedrich-Wilhelm and Graues Kloster secondary schools. From 1832 to 1833, he studied law at the University of Göttingen, where he was a member of the Corps Hannovera, enrolled at the University of Berlin. In 1838, while stationed as an army reservist in Greifswald, he studied agriculture at the University of Greifswald. At Göttingen, Bismarck befriended the American student John Lothrop Motley. Motley, who became an eminent historian and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel in 1839, Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about l