In the 1980s, severe social and economic problems took their toll on the family. Harsh economic conditions meant that most women had to work and most men had to hold second and even third jobs. These factors, combined with a housing shortage, subjected the family to considerable stress. Yet the harsh economic conditions also forced many people to turn inward, and they found in their families a refuge from the difficult economic realities.
In the postwar period, the regime had designed its mass organizations to take over some of the traditional socialization functions of the family. Thus, the mass organizations served as "transmission belts," attempting to inculcate regime values, and relaying and interpreting the policies of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (HSWP) to rank-and-file members and to the general public. In the late 1980s, some Western observers considered the mass organizations sponsored by the regime to be in a moribund state, hopelessly outclassed by newer, more spontaneous collective efforts. In response, some mass organizations liberalized their programs and distanced themselves from the regime.
Early in its history, the communist party considered the churches as competitors for the allegiance of the people. Therefore, the regime actively persecuted the churches, especially the Roman Catholic Church. After the Revolution of 1956, the regime relaxed its pressure on the churches, viewing them more as partners than as adversaries. By the late 1980s, the government allowed the churches wide latitude and eliminated virtually all legal and institutional restrictions on church activities.
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