13.07.

1962: The British “Night of the Long Knives” – Prime Minister Harold Macmillan Dismisses Seven Members of his Cabinet

1962: The British “Night of the Long Knives” – Prime Minister Harold Macmillan Dismisses Seven Members of his Cabinet
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 13 July 1962
  • It was the largest sacking of Ministers in such a short term in British political history. The media called this reshuffle the "Night of the Long Knives", after Hitler’s showdown with his political competitors in 1934.

On this day in 1962, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan sacked seven members of his cabinet. It was the largest dismissal of Ministers in such a short time in British political history.

Prime Minister Macmillan replaced his ministers mostly with younger people in an attempt to restore the power of his party (the U.S. president at that time was the relatively young John F. Kennedy, so youth gained popularity in politics).

Among the seven dismissed ministers were Harold Watkinson (Minister of Defence), Selwyn Lloyd (Chancellor of the Exchequer), David Eccles (Minister of Education), John Maclay (Secretary of State for Scotland), Charles Hill (Minister of Housing and Local Government), Lord Kilmuir (Lord Chancellor, i.e. a sort of Minister of Justice) and Lord Mills (Minister without Portfolio).

The media called this reshuffle the “Night of the Long Knives”, after Hitler’s showdown with his political competitors in 1934.

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