The Civic Culture addresses itself to one of the great questions of postwar social science: Why, in the period between the world wars, did democracy survive in Britain and the United States while collapsing on the European continent? Almond and Verba's characterization of political cultures in the five nations of Italy, Mexico, Germany, the United States, and Great Britain is based on two key attitudinal variables: commitment and involvement. The Civic Culture's research design—explaining divergent institutional outcomes in different countries—dictated that Almond and Verba stress differences between rather than within nations. Italian political culture, according to Almond and Verba, is characterized by "relatively unrelieved political alienation." German political culture, Almond and Verba instruct us, is a blend of feelings of subjective competence and political detachment. Political culture in Mexico, Almond and Verba argue, is a combination of alienation and aspiration.