What were two major decisions made about Germany at the Yalta Conference?

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The Yalta Conference was held February 4–11, 1945, in the Soviet resort town of Yalta, on the shore of the Black Sea. Attendees included the heads of state of the three major Allied powers. These were Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States. With the European front of World War II drawing to a close, one of the main objectives of the conference was to ensure the participation of the Soviet Union in the war in the Pacific against Japan. However, major decisions were also discussed and made regarding Germany.

One decision that was made concerned the responsibility of Germany for reparations after the war. As part of the reparations, German soldiers and civilians would take part in forced labor to help rebuild Eastern and Western Europe. Millions of German people were placed in virtual imprisonment and forced to work in the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

The other major decision about Germany concerned its division into four zones of occupation. These zones were to be administered by the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States, and France.

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At the Yalta Conference, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gathered to discuss the nearly inevitable Allied victory in Europe and what they should do to hold Germany accountable for World War II.

During this conference, the Allied leaders decided that Germany should be held responsible for some reparations after the war and that—in addition to Great Britain, Russia, and the United States—France should have a role in governing Germany after the war.

Though Germany was held financially responsible for World War II, the country was not obligated to pay full reparations—as it was after World War I. Some world leaders realized how the significant burden placed on Germany after World War I ultimately led to the rise of Adolf Hitler, so they chose to soften the punishment after World War II.

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