10. Soviet troops arrived in East Berlin in the early morning hours of June 17
While news of the events of June 16th swept across Germany Soviet combat troops arrived in East Berlin. Their presence in the city was quickly relayed to the Americans. By late evening, President Eisenhower knew of the uprising and the potential response of the East Germans and Soviets. In London, British Intelligence monitored the situation. Both Britain and the United States ordered additional intelligence operatives to Berlin. Ulbricht reported to the Soviets and to his own party in Berlin the demonstrations were the work of foreign agitators. He pointed to the broadcasts from RIAS as evidence supporting his claims. The broadcasts, repeating the demands of the workers for demonstrations the following day led to his next mistake in handling the crisis. Aware that Soviet troops were entering the city, he decided to order an increased police presence in several areas the following day.
The police deployed included the regular city police force, supported by units of the Barracked People’s Police, essentially an organized militia. Units were set up in several locations, including those in which the demonstrators had appeared. Ulbricht did not issue specific instructions over how the police units should respond to the demonstrators. Instead, he assumed the presence of police units would deter the people from gathering in large crowds. He believed that the fear of arrest for activities detrimental to the party would be sufficient to establish calm in the city. Subsequent events revealed his miscalculation. In the morning, as crowds gathered in the city, the police simply let the people pass. Without instructions to do otherwise, they became largely spectators during the morning of June 17th. Nor were the police prepared for the size of the demonstrations which ensued that day.