In The Sociological Imagination, Wright Mills observes that ‘we cannot very well state any problem until we know whose problem it is’ (Wright Mills 1959: 76). This is certainly the most reliable guideline one can follow when dealing with the twin notions of ‘Americanism’ and ‘anti-Americanism’, that too often seem to be atemporal concepts detached from any particular confi guration of social forces and contexts. If there can be no ex ante defi nition of their meaning, it is because what they actually designate depends on the concrete situations in which they are used to trace distinctions and oppositions that evolve over time. Indeed, as categories indicating both identity and enmity, they are fundamentally weapons used in ideological struggles. Taking Wright Mills’ advice and asking who regarded as an important political task the promotion of ‘Americanism’ and the defeat of its critique (‘anti-Americanism’) makes it possible to give a specifi c historical content to notions that are too quickly turned into intemporal, universally valid concepts.