ÃÂ¥-nd the Ministry of State Security (MGB) both ruled by Lavrenti Beria. This man was undoubtedly the most powerful man in the Soviet Union with a vast empire of prison camps, and informants to crush any traces of dissent. Of considerable importance to Beria was the race for the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union and the United States both plundered the German V-2 rocket sites for materials and personnel. In 1946 the MVD was responsible for the rounding up of 6000 scientists from the Soviet zone of Germany and taking them and their dependents to the Soviet Union.
The political conflicts of the 1930's and World War II left many educated people with the impression that only communism could combat economic depression and fascism. It was easy for Soviet agents to recruit men who would later rise to positions of power with access to sensitive information. 'Atom spies' were well positioned to keep the Soviets informed of every American development on the bomb.
Of considerable importance was a man by the name of Klaus Fuchs, a German communist who fled Hitler's purge and whose ability as a nuclear physicist earned him a place on the Manhattan Project. Fuchs passed information to the Soviets beginning in 1941, and was not arrested until 1950. Also passing secrets to the Soviets were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in the United States in 1953. The latter two were probably among the first who believed in nuclear deterrence, whereby neither country would use nuclear weapons because the other would use his in response, therefore there would be no possible winner. It is generally believed that with such scientists as Andrei Sakharov, the Soviets were capable of working it out for themselves without the help of intelligence.
(better transition) The National Security Act of 1947 gave...