What "we" did in WWII--do people in other countries say "we"?

I think you know what I mean. In the US, it’s pretty common to discuss how we stormed the beaches at Normandy, how we advanced across the Pacific, and how it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed us at Pearl Harbor.

Going further back, it’s not uncommon to hear about how we (say) fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans–a conflict of which noone alive today could literally say we when discussing America’s participation in that war.

And even in less savory circumstances, we straightforwardly talk about how we wiped out the Indians in most regions and how we intervened in Central America in the early 20th century.

People might debate whether we were justified to do such and such, or whether we really did such and such, but I don’t recall hearing anyone say, “that wasn’t us, that was another generation of Americans that that have nothing to do with us and can’t be included in our first person plural pronoun.”

Is this common in other countries? Do Brits talk about how we gave those pygmies a sound thrashing at Mboto Gorge? Do the Germans talk about how we were turned back at Stalingrad?

Koxinga, the Chinese do this a lot. “We ruled most of the world”, when it was actually the Mongolians. “We were invaded by the British” even though it was the Manchurians. “We beat the Americans in Korea”

In Taiwan, you hear all about “we Chinese and our gazillion years of civilization and history. You American’s have no culture, we Chinese have culture.”

Personally, I try to avoid this, but I fail often. I suppose it’s a reflection of our psychological investment in our society.

My dad did this for both the US and Ireland, where he was born and raised. It sometimes was confusing to hear about how England invaded and destroyed “our” society.

For some reason, it irks me more when people apply it to sports teams. “We held the line! We beat them!” Sheesh, were YOU down there on the field?

But you’re in Cheesehead Country, aren’t you? I always kind of admired the fact that if there’s any fan base that has the right to say “we”, it might be that of the Packers. Likewise University teams–at least you know the players were drawn from within your ranks, no?

But by my own logic, and to bring us back on track for the OP, if I’m a Longhorn I might boast of “our” winning anational championship in 2005, but can I do the same for 1963 or 1969, before I was born?

Maybe people from Green Bay have that right – IIRC the city owns the team, not the state.

As far as college teams – drawn from our own ranks? I suppose, if you consider the United States our “own ranks”. Recruiters travel all over the country – AFAIK there is not even a preference for in-state athletic scholarships, but I could be wrong about this.

I would say you are just as much a part of the 1969 championship as you were of the 2005 one. Which is to say, “zero”.

It’s argueable that the actions of a goverment you elect, or at least took a role in voting for or against, are on a different plane than sports teams. I personally don’t see how that would apply to actions a hundred years ago or more, with all parties to it now dead. But I’m sure there are a lot of people who would disagree. The concept of reparations for slavery come to mind. My ancestors hadn’t even arrived in America yet by the end of the Civil War – what is their, or my, responsibility?

I think it would be really interesting if the goverment agreed to pay, say $50 billion in reparations, to the descendants of slaves, but only those whose families had been here during the time of slavery had to pony up. You would see mass resignations from organizations like the DAR and Mayflower Society, as people “re-assessed” their lineage and realized that, ooh – it turns out they were wrong to claim such deep roots in America. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

Yes NZ does the WE thing as well. I’m sure most countries do.

This is interesting to me, since I’ve noticed that when folks around here debate really bad things in our country’s history, like slavery and Indian “removal”, you don’t hear “we”. In fact, people go to great pains to divorce themselves and their ancestors from these events.

But when we talking about the glorious battles of our past, both military and political (we claim the nation’s founders as our “forefathers”, for instance), everyone wants to be on the scene.

Forget it - he’s rolling.

Canadians do this as well.

How about when “we” showed early evidence of artistic inclinations in “our” cave paintings at Altamira?

Let the record show that Future Senator Blutarsky asked, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”, but made no assertion that they had bombed us.

We do it here.