The forces of the Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov were the first smash into Berlin in April 1945, during the Second World War, but Lavrentiy Beria’s SMERSH agents were the first to capture all the Nazi institutions of strategic and propagandistic value, including Hitler’s headquarters, where they took control of the half-burned dead bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun, and the installations where nuclear research was being conducted.
Within hours of the fall of Berlin, the SMERSH agents took control of Hitler’s military research programs, including his nuclear weapons program. Zhukov had no knowledge of the activities of the SMERSH agents, who were reporting directly to Beria, not to the military high command. The German physicists were a few years away from developing a nuclear reactor and a weapon. In the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, the SMERSH agents found a rich haul of metallic uranium, uranium oxide, and heavy water. They transported the nuclear material and all the German physicists that they could find to the USSR.
In December 1944, Stalin had given the Soviet Union’s nuclear project to Beria, who had promised that he would conduct a nuclear test in five years. Beria kept his promise and on 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first secret nuclear test. When he became the Soviet Premier, after the death of Stalin, Khrushchev buried Beria in history as a psychopath, serial-rapist, and a mass murderer. But it seems that Beria was an efficient and ruthless bureaucrat.