Although governments and other institutions rely on past experience to guide them they know that all history is shaped by the participants and they try to shape it themselves. Totalitarian governments try for years afterwards to hide their horrific crimes by lies and repression. But democratic politicians also lie and obfuscate when faced with intensive questions from the media. However, if they acquire a reputation for mendacity the public will quickly turn against them. In wartime they censor the media often with enthusiastic public support and they sometimes do the same in a time of general peace when publication of particular facts may lead to violence between communities. If historians can eventually show what ‘really happened’ they have to follow a tortuous road.