In a German grammar book I've read the following explanation of German Perfect:
As often in English, the true perfect is used to speak of something that happened in the past and has some bearing on what is being talked about in the present:
However, German uses the perfect in this way much more rigorously than English does:
Bismarck hat die Grundlagen des heutigen deutschen Staats gelegt, Bismarck laid the foundations of the present German state.
I was sure that it is English and not German that is highly rigorous about its tenses. Why "laid" and not "has laid"? Would it be possible to say "has laid" in the case above? If yes, is there any change in meaning between Past simple and Perfect in the above mentioned sentence?
Thanks in advance for your answers.