22.2 Following the unification of Germany, the nation became Europe’s industrial leader. German chemical electrical industries were global leaders and their shipping was 2nd only to Britain. Vast coal and iron deposits, an educated workforce, and industrial progress during the mid 19th century drove economic progress. German industrialists were the 1st to use science for the creation of synthetic chemicals and dyes. A single currency was issued, the banking system was reorganized and railroads were coordinated. As chancellor Otto von Bismarck pursued foreign and domestic policies. He wanted to keep France weak, while linking Austria and Prussia to one another. He did not seek to compete with the British Navy’s superiority. Domestically he sought to destroy local loyalties and all other opposition to the state. The Catholic church was hated on due to their loyalty to the pope. Kulturkampf, or “battle for civilization” lasted from 1871-1878 and focused on making the state the #1 loyalty to Catholics. The faith was supported by it’s followers and Bismarck back peddled to make peace with the Church. The Social Democratic Party was created by workers to improve working conditions. Bismarck feared that workers would align with this group instead of the German state. Socialist newspapers and meetings were banned. Workers revolted and once again Bismarck had to appease his opposition. He issued health, accident, and old age insurance. Other nations were influenced by Germany’s social programs. In 1888, William II took the title of chancellor. He was very confident in his ability to lead and thus asked Otto von Bismarck to step down as chancellor. Social welfare programs such as electricity, public schools and cheap transportation. His drive to expand German lands and to improve their navy led to tensions prior to the start of WWI.