After the end of the war in 1945, the occupied Germany underwent a ‘de-Nazification’ process. Because Party membership was compulsory for many professions after 1937, being a Nazi did not make one an evil person automatically. But Party members had to be assessed as to their involvement in evil acts.
After the death of Stalin in 1953, the Soviet Union had a similar purge of hardline actors who committed crimes. Ideological cleansing also took place, as the communists disowned many of the policies of the Stalin years. Similar disowning of their history happens when many long-serving leaders finally fall (see Bjelke-Petersen’s regime or many eastern European countries at the end of the Cold War).
As I watch the death throes of the current government, I wonder how many of the current Cabinet are trying to cover themselves against the future, against a time when Howard is no longer all-conquering, and their actions are called into question. Especially those around the 2001 “Dark Victory” win.