Women were encouraged to enter the workforce and increase their education in order to promote industrialization.
Most countries have liberal divorce and abortion laws, as well as state- run child care.
Women's traditional roles as mothers and maids did not change despite the changes.
The double duty of work inside and outside the home was a problem for women.
Many women worked in important occupations, but few rose to positions of political or economic power.
National and ethnic identity was a final aspect of society that communist countries wanted to change.
As part of the superstructure, nationalism and ethnicity were seen as mechanisms by which the ruling elite pitted the working classes of different countries against one another to divide and rule them.
With the advent of the world communist revolution, divisions were expected to be replaced by equality and harmony.
National and ethnic identities were often hidden beneath the surface of communist parties, though they tended to reject any overt expressions of nationalism.
Communism encompassed many ethnic groups, but the Communist Party was dominated by Russians, who made up the largest ethnic group.
Russian domination was resented by many non- Russians.
Eastern Europeans saw communist rule as less of a threat than Russian rule.
The fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was aided by simmering nationalism.
Communism was bound to fail in retrospect.
Few expected it to happen on the eve of Europe's collapse.
The decline of communism was brought about by two factors.
Cold War struggles between the Soviet Union and the United States were the first.
After the tense decades of the 1950s and 1960s, which were marked by international competition, arms races, and harrowing events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States and the Soviet Union settled into a period of detente, in which peaceful coexistence became the main goal.
Detente lasted less than a decade.
Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union soured after the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the election of Ronald Reagan as president.
Reagan began a new policy of military build up after he viewed the Soviet Union as an evil empire.
It was difficult for the Soviet Union to meet this challenge because of economic stagnation.
A new generation of political leaders rose to power in the Soviet Union at the same time that the United States and the Soviet Union entered a new and costly stage of the Cold War.
The general secretary of the Communist Party was Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev understood the cost of a new arms race and the stagnation of the Soviet system.
He proposed to reform international relations and domestic politics in order to revive both the Soviet Union and communist thought.
The twin policies of glasnost and perestroika were initiated at the domestic level by Gorbachev to liberalize and reform communism.
The reforms were expected to include limited forms of democratic participation and market based incentives in the economy.
Gorbachev's goal was moderate reform.
Gorbachev proposed changes in the international arena.
He began to loosen his country's control over Eastern Europe in order to reduce the Soviet Union's military burdens and improve relations with Western countries.
Gorbachev hoped that limited liberalization in the region would ease tensions with Europe and the United States, allowing expanded trade and other economic ties.
The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform itself.
Ethnic groups within the Soviet Union and citizens of Eastern European states used glasnost to fight for freedom from Russian domination.
The unexpected effects of Perestroika were similar.
Gorbachev threatened those within the party who had benefited from the status quo by seeking political and economic reform.
The uncertainty over how far Gorbachev's reforms would go compounded the problem.
There was confusion about where communism and the Soviet Union were going.
The change in the Soviet Union's satellite states was going faster than expected.
Gorbachev's new hands- off policy to oppose communist regimes in Eastern Europe was used by the people to demand open elections and an end to one- party rule.
The leaders of the Eastern European Communist Party realized that the Soviet Union would no longer support them.
By 1990 communists were no longer in control of power in the region.
This regime change was mostly peaceful.
The Soviet Union wouldn't be far behind.
By 1991, the country was in turmoil, with limited reforms increasing the public's appetite for greater change, the end of communism in Eastern Europe emboldening opposition within the Soviet Union, and ethnic conflict and nationalism increasing.
The Soviet Union is the world's first communist country.
Stalin began to execute Soviet Communist Party members to consolidate his power.
Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union lead to the Cold War as the Soviet Army imposed communist regimes in Eastern Europe.
The Chinese Communist Party gained control of mainland China.
Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's use of terror and the Hungarian revolution was put down by the Soviet Army.