Norman Ebbutt (1894-1968) was a British journalist. In 1925 he was sent to Berlin, where he became chief correspondent for The Times of London. He warned of Nazi warmongering but The Times censored his reports to promote appeasement. He was expelled by the Nazis in August 1937, following accusations of espionage.
In 1910, at the age of 16, Norman Ebbutt spent six months teaching English to adults at the School of languages in Duisburg, Germany. The following year he had his first job in journalism, becoming second correspondent in Paris for The Morning Leader (later Daily News and Leader). Before returning to England in 1913, he spent some time in Finland and Russia.
He got a job with The Times in August 1914 but left a few months later to join the R.N.V.S. as temporary Lieutenant for the duration of the first world war, returning to The Times in 1919 to work in the foreign sub editors department. In 1925, he was sent to Berlin, where he became chief correspondent.
During his time in Berlin, Ebbutt became well acquainted with top government officials and counted Chancellor Heinrich Brüning among his friends, and developed a reputation for accurate reporting and intelligent analysis. He was distrustful of Hitler and disliked the Nazis. In April 1933 he wrote in The Times:
Later journalist and author Douglas Reed described the article as "a masterpiece of careful political forecasting, based on expert knowledge." However, Ebbutt felt his message about the real mood of Germany was not being fully conveyed to the British public, because of The Times and its editor Geoffrey Dawson. Dawson was closely allied with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and pushed hard for the Munich Agreement in 1938. Candid news reports by Ebbutt from Berlin that warned of warmongering were rewritten in London to support the appeasement policy. American William Shirer, a fellow correspondent in Berlin who praised Ebbutt as "by far the best correspondent here", summed up:
Ebbutt was eventually expelled under a supposed charge of "espionage" in retaliation to the expulsion of three German nationals from England. Ebbutt always denied the charge. Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister, sent a warning to all other foreign journalists not to attend his departure at Berlin station, saying that their presence there would be an unfriendly act. Despite these warnings, around fifty people turned up to say goodbye to him, including Shirer, who described Ebbutt as "terribly high-strung, but moved by our sincere...demonstration of farewell."
After only a month back in England, Norman Ebbutt suffered a severe stroke, thus effectively ending his career as a journalist. He was 43 years old.