The Liberal MP, Jeremy Thorpe, famously commented "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life." The term "Night of the Long Knives", mockingly applied to the sacking of the seven Tory Cabinet Ministers, was a reference to the original "Night of the Long Knives" of 1934, in which Adolf Hitler brutally removed hundreds of political opponents in Germany through murder and mass arrest.
D.R. Thorpe writes: "The Night of the Long Knives was the moment when luck began to run out for Macmillan. His reputation for unflappability was gone for ever and the unprecedented events gave a focus for the discontent of the awkward squad on the backbenches. Lloyd was received with acclamation in the Commons the following Tuesday, Macmillan with silence." Read the rest of Thorpe's dramatic account here.