Shell script to Remove history from a git Branch


Samir Ranjan Parhi


30 April 2024

Word Count:


Estimated Read Time:

2 minutes

There are various instances where we decide to remove the history from a git repository.

The most common use case :

You find out there are some secret information like credential or the database string that is been exposed to git hub and also it is recorded in the history. at this moment you may searching to delete the history.

This shell script allows you to remove all the history of a given branch (please remember this shell script remove all the history of the branch), you can make use of this script which is combination of few git commands and has been clubbed to make this task easier for you.

Shell script :

    echo "Important !!! Make sure you are Checked out to the Branch in which you want to remove the history"
    echo "your Repository URL: (usually looks like "
    read gitURL
    git clone $gitURL
    if [ $? -eq 0 ]
    dir=$(basename $gitURL | cut -f1 -d".")
    cd $dir
    echo "From Which Branch you want to delete the History ? "
    read BranchName
    git checkout $BranchName
    echo "Enter your commit message here:"
    read CommitMessage
    git checkout --orphan new_br
    git add -A
    git commit -am "$CommitMessage"
    git branch -D $BranchName
    git branch -m $BranchName
    git push -f origin $BranchName
    echo "finished successfully "

Now let’s understand few key words here

basename $gitURL : extract the last path value from a URL or a directory string.

Try out: basename

** cut -f1 -d"." **: is used to extract the world before “.” .

Try out: echo "test.txt" | cut -f1 -d"."

git checkout --orphan <branch name> : create a branch without any ancestor reference. that means it will be a independent branch (ref :

Thank you !