Gisele Podbielski's Italy: Development and Crisis in the Post-War Economy provides a detailed account of the ruins that befell Italy and the policies that contributed to reform. Immediately following WWII, Italy was riddled with economic and political problems. Inflation, high levels of unemployment, dependence on foreign trade and investment, and regional divisions between the North and South were crippling the nation. These short-term "emergency" conditions needed to be alleviated and a long-term plan needed to be instilled, however, the nation was divided politically between the liberal party and their opposing "right-winged" factions. This rift in ideas contributed to a quickened reconstructive period, but not without contributing to inefficient policies and abusive power, especially on behalf of the winning liberal party. According to Podbielski, the failure of the authorities to "provide a sounder basis for a successful operation of both the public and private sectors…has deepened a long standing mistrust of the government…[and] outbursts of social unrest…" (3).
Italy’s post-war situation is crucial to understanding how the Italian neorealist movement first started. Although Divorzio all’Italiana was filmed during the shift away from neorealism, one can still find a neorealist heritage in the movie. Since the war devastated the government’s Cinecittà studios, filmmakers had to film their movies on location, as is observed in Divorzio all'Italiana. Germi greatly captures distinctly Sicilian elements in order to involve the audience in the truly traditional Sicilian society he aims to criticize. Furthermore, the “quick fix” provided by the liberal party to remedy the dire economic conditions was greatly felt in the South. Being a mostly agricultural area, the South benefited little from the reconstruction period, as can be seen by the large division between the lavish elite and the poor proletariat in Agramonte. Neorealism was the first time in twenty years in which filmmakers could really express Italy’s post-war reality. Having the freedom to deal with any topic of choice paved way for filmmakers to provide social commentaries of the Italian society by the 1960s.