Did Nahum Goldmann really wrote "new pyramidal hierarchical system of our imposed global monolithic new world order." ?

J.d.K

Member
In 1915 Nahum Goldmann wrote a book called the Spirit of Militarism (The original in German is called "Der Geist des Militarismus") The following is the English translation circling around the internet:

“The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and re-organization of global society requires two essential steps: firstly, the destruction of the old established order, secondly, design and imposition of the new order. The first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy ethical barriers and social definitions, only then can the destroyed old system elements be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.

The first task of our world revolution is Destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated, individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct, traditional social norms must only be viewed as a disease to be eradicated, the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone.

After destruction of the old order, construction of the new order is a larger and more difficult task. We will have torn out the old limbs from their ancient roots in deep layers, social norms will be lying disorganised and anarchic so they must be blocked against new cultural forms and social categories naturally re-emerging. The general masses will have been first persuaded to join as equals in the first task of destroying their own traditional society and economic culture, but then the new order must be forcibly established through people again being divided and differentiated only in accordance with the new pyramidal hierarchical system of our imposed global monolithic new world order.

Capitalism must be condemned as a fundamental misfortune caused by the wealth of capitalist power exploiting the false separation between the high rulers and the oppressed exploited masses. The masses must be induce to repudiate the concept of personal wealth and personal rights, this second task will also be solved only by virtue of the great guiding principle of the subordinating militaristic spirit in which superior ranks impose order on inferiors, new world order: “which will bring the true aristocratic principle of “might is right” in the those who can rule – shall rule”.”


This is the original, which I couldn't find anywhere other than on random websites on the internet. However, I was able to verify it was indeed the original version by searching these words one by one on this site https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt...8;sort=seq;sz=10;start=1;page=search;orient=0:
All this is from page 38 of the original text:

"So besteht denn die erste Aufgabe unserer Zeit in der Zerstörung. Alle sozialen Schichtungen und gesellschaftlichen Formungen, die das alte System geschaffen hat, müssen vernichtet, die einzelnen Menschen müssen aus ihren angestammten Milieus herausgerissen werden; keine Tradition darf mehr als heilig gelten; das Alter gilt nur als Zeichen der Krankheit; die Parole heißt: was war, muß weg. Die Kräfte, die diese negative Aufgabe unserer Zeit ausführen, sind: auf dem wirtschaftlich-sozialen Gebiete der Kapitalismus, auf dem politisch-geistigen die Demokratie. Wieviel sie bereits geleistet haben, wissen wir alle; aber wir wissen auch, daß ihr Werk noch nicht ganz vollbracht ist. Noch kämpft der Kapitalismus gegen die Formen der alten, traditionellen Wirtschaft, noch führt die Demokratie einen heißen Kampf gegen alle Kräfte der Reaktion. Vollenden wird das Werk der militaristische Geist. Sein Uniformierungsprinzip wird die negative Aufgabe der Zeit restlos durchführen: wenn erst alle Glieder unseres Kulturkreises als Soldaten unseres Kultursystems uniformiert sind, ist diese eine Aufgabe gelöst.

Dann aber erst erhebt sich die andere, größere und schwierigere Aufgabe: der Aufbau der neuen Ordnung. Die Glieder, die nun aus ihren alten Verwurzelungen und Schichtungen herausgerissen sind und ungeordnet, anarchisch herumliegen, müssen zu neuen Formungen und Kategorien geschlossen werden; wurden bei der Lösung der ersten Aufgabe alle zunächst einmal für gleich erklärt, so müssen die Menschen nun wieder geteilt und differenziert: ein neues pyramidales, hierarchisches System muß errichtet werden. Auch diese Aufgabe versuchte der Kapitalismus zu lösen; wir wissen, mit welchem Mißgeschick. Er nahm die fundamentale Trennung in Herrschende und Beherrschte nach falschen Gesichtspunkten vor: nach denjenigen des Reichtums, der kapitalistischen Macht. Auch diese zweite Aufgabe wird nur der militaristische Geist lösen können kraft seines anderen großen Leitprinzips der Subordination. Er wird den wahren aristokratischen Grundsatz zur Herrschaft bringen: Herrschen soll, wer herrschen kann."

Google translated into english which ofcourse is a terrible translation and not to be taken seriously:

So the first task of our time is destruction. All social stratifications and social formations that the old system created must be destroyed, individual people must be torn out of their ancestral milieus; no tradition can be considered sacred anymore; the Old age is only a sign of illness; the slogan is: what was must go. The forces that carry out this negative task of our time are: in the economic and social field capitalism, in the political and intellectual field democracy We all know, but we also know that their work is not yet fully accomplished. Capitalism is still fighting against the forms of the old, traditional economy, and democracy is still waging a fierce battle against all forces of reaction the work of the militaristic spirit: its principle of uniformity will carry out the negative task of time completely: when all members are first If he is in uniform in our cultural area as soldiers of our cultural system, this one task is solved.

But only then does the other, larger and more difficult task arise: the building of the new order. The limbs that have now been torn from their old roots and layers and are lying around in an anarchic, disordered manner, must be closed to new formations and categories; If everyone was initially declared equal in solving the first task, people must now be divided and differentiated again: a new pyramidal, hierarchical system must be established. Capitalism tried to solve this problem too; we know with what misfortune. He made the fundamental separation into rulers and ruled according to the wrong viewpoints: according to those of wealth, of capitalist power. This second task can only be solved by the militaristic spirit by virtue of its other great guiding principle of subordination. He will bring the true aristocratic principle to rule: He who can rule should rule. "


What is obvious however is that the translation that is spread around on the internet "the new pyramidal hierarchical system of our imposed global monolithic new world order" contains way more words than the original one "ein neues pyramidales, hierarchisches System muß errichtet werden." and since my native language is dutch, which is quite similar to german, I can say that the google-translation of that portion is actually completely correct: "a new pyramidal, hierarchical system must [or "got to be"] be established". Nowhere does it say monolithic or world order or even imposed. It may have been what Goldmann intended, but it isn't what he actually wrote there in german. Nor does it actually say the following words (in bold) in the internet-translation: "The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system". The same happens near the end: "this second task will also be solved only by virtue of the great guiding principle of the subordinating militaristic spirit in which superior ranks impose order on inferiors, new world order". Where does it say new world order in the original text? Nowhere. Another one: "This conversion and re-organization of global society requires two essential steps"... the original doesn't say global society. And there's proparbly more, but I can't be bothered to look further. You can double-verify this by translating words like world revolution, humanity, global, society etc. in german and you'll see, using the website I mentioned above, they don't appear at page 38 or even at all. Who wrote this translation, I wonder? I don't know the context of this text beyond this little piece, and maybe Goldmann indeed wanted to revolutionize the whole world, but why add language that is common among conspiracy theorists that was never there to enforce your point?? I think that's manipulative and not ok.

Yet despite of that... the piece is quite disgusting really.
 
The translation differs so much from the original you found that it looks like a re-written version of the text. For example, in "the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone", everything I set in italics is actually not in the original, interpreting (and possibly falsifying the original "die Parole heißt: was war, muß weg." It's like somebody OCRed a text that had the original and comments on it. (And that's not the only example in this short excerpt! Another is "The masses must be induce to repudiate the concept of personal wealth and personal rights" which looks a foreign insert into the original text; and there are more.)

The translation you're trying to debunk seems to fit the original, though:
"monolithic" comes from "uniform" in the sense of "equalized", in connection with the following:
"imposed" comes from "guiding principle of subordination", Nahum describes a totalitarian system,
and "global" comes from "unser Kulturkreis", which is transnational and indicates Western Civilisation, i.e. all capitalist, democratic countries. But it's more like a commentary on the text than something that's actually written in it.
 
The translation differs so much from the original you found that it looks like a re-written version of the text. For example, in "the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone", everything I set in italics is actually not in the original, interpreting (and possibly falsifying the original "die Parole heißt: was war, muß weg." It's like somebody OCRed a text that had the original and comments on it. (And that's not the only example in this short excerpt! Another is "The masses must be induce to repudiate the concept of personal wealth and personal rights" which looks a foreign insert into the original text; and there are more.)

The translation you're trying to debunk seems to fit the original, though:
"monolithic" comes from "uniform" in the sense of "equalized", in connection with the following:
"imposed" comes from "guiding principle of subordination", Nahum describes a totalitarian system,
and "global" comes from "unser Kulturkreis", which is transnational and indicates Western Civilisation, i.e. all capitalist, democratic countries. But it's more like a commentary on the text than something that's actually written in it.
Thanks Mendel for your addition, I didn't catch those. About what I am trying to debunk... the translation of the points I picked out might fit the original, but even though it fits, does that make it a good translation? For example, Nahum might have wanted a "new world order", but by using those three words together, inmediately it takes up a link with the Illuminati/kabal-type conspiracies (and thus is used for that very reason in the documentary "Europa: the Last Battle". Yet he never actually wrote the words neue weltordnung, so why put it in the translation? Aren't the longer additions you mention in a way the same problem as the smaller additions I found?... that is, it is not a translation but something which has been editted, and thus, should not be ascribed to Nahum Goldmann. Maybe I could say it like this... even though it might be a bad and benign example... If I were to translate a book which talks about a car without specifying the colour or state of the car ( or at least on the specific page it doesn't), why would I add that the car is green and dirty, even though on the page prior the original said that people threw mud at the car and that the brown colour of the mud together with the green colour of the car made it look like puke. lol. Still, the page after that didn't mention any of that, so why add words to your translation that weren't in the original? This might seem like nit-picking, but the fact that it now comes to light that there's whole parts of sentences added to this kinda proves my point, doesn't it?

Anyway, thanks for looking into it a bit further.
 
Well, the English word "order" is ambiguous, it could also mean a select group of individuals (like the Templar order), and it is in fact a new world order he intends, same as Woodrow Wilson in 1918. There's not a single world order in politics either, the actual historical proposals that exist for new world orders all differ.
I'm not sure that well-intentioned translator should consider the CT meaning of the term; and if they translated it before WW2, they couldn't have.

Goldmann is concerned with replacing the aristocratic system of government (that WW1 finally buried for good all over in Europe) with a totalitarian militaristic hierarchy. You could probably connect these ideas with totalitarian national-socialistic and communist regimes, but his new (world) order doesn't fit any Western democracy today, even if you believe that there's a small evil cabal in control.
 
Well, the English word "order" is ambiguous, it could also mean a select group of individuals (like the Templar order), and it is in fact a new world order he intends, same as Woodrow Wilson in 1918. There's not a single world order in politics either, the actual historical proposals that exist for new world orders all differ.
I'm not sure that well-intentioned translator should consider the CT meaning of the term; and if they translated it before WW2, they couldn't have.

Goldmann is concerned with replacing the aristocratic system of government (that WW1 finally buried for good all over in Europe) with a totalitarian militaristic hierarchy. You could probably connect these ideas with totalitarian national-socialistic and communist regimes, but his new (world) order doesn't fit any Western democracy today, even if you believe that there's a small evil cabal in control.
I don't know. Perhaps you're right. I personally like it when a translation is more one on one except when a literal translation doesn't do the original justice due to a meaning getting lost in translation. But maybe that is actually nitpicking and the ideas of the translation are a right expression the ideas of Nahum. I must admit that I haven't looked into it that deeply, and, that I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the translation was a more recent one, written by someone that wants to push forward the small-evil-zionist-cabal-trope-idea.
 
the ideas of the translation are a right expression the ideas of Nahum.
nah, that text is a bad translation either way (unless it's a re-write by Goldmann himself) because of these weird commentary-like inserts in place where they actually remove meaning -- it might be a good translation with commentary that lost its formatting to make the commentary recognizable as such.

I mean, it could be a conspiracy theorist translation, many conspiracy theorists don't actually care if their quotes actually mean what they want them to mean: it's often easy to debunk them be supplying context. Because Goldmann is definitely not talking about a small cabal here, his New World Order is a stratified totalitarian state like Hitler, Stalin, or Mao were trying to establish; and he's thinking about in the context of "what will replace aristocracy as a social structure", which was appropriate in 1915, but not in our millenium.
 
Well, the English word "order" is ambiguous, it could also mean a select group of individuals (like the Templar order), and it is in fact a new world order he intends, same as Woodrow Wilson in 1918. There's not a single world order in politics either, the actual historical proposals that exist for new world orders all differ.
I'm not sure that well-intentioned translator should consider the CT meaning of the term; and if they translated it before WW2, they couldn't have.

Agreed, there is ambiguity, the language has been chosen for impact more than clarity; however, "order" just being a translation of "Ordnung" to imply a set of rules fits quite well:
External Quote:

Ordnung German noun
Ord·nung | \ ˈȯrd-nu̇ŋ

: order : orderliness : system of community norms
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ordnung
(Disclaimer: not in any way a German speaker.)
 
however, "order" just being a translation of "Ordnung" to imply a set of rules fits quite well:
Yes, it's a good translation, but the translation introduces ambiguity not present in the original, because English "order" has several distinct German translations, like "Ordnung" (organized state of things), "Orden" (a society or a medal), "Auftrag" (a command or a list of things to buy), "Reihenfolge" (a sort order), etc. So if you translate this word to English, your translation has to make clear (if it isn't clear from context) which type of order the German author had in mind.
 
Please review the link policy; you really need to quote the content you're linking, like so:
External Quote:
Thus, the first task of our time is destruction: all social stratifications and social formations created by the old system must be destroyed, individuals must be torn out of their ancestral milieus; no tradition may be considered sacred any longer; old age is regarded only as a sign of illness; the slogan is: what was, must go. The forces that carry out this negative task of our time are: in the economic-social field capitalism, in the political-spiritual field democracy. We all know how much they have already achieved, but we also know that their work is not yet completely finished. Capitalism is still fighting against the forms of the old, traditional economy, democracy is still fighting a hot battle against all forces of reaction. The militaristic spirit will complete the work. Its principle of uniformization will carry out the negative task of the time completely: when all members of our cultural circle are uniformed as soldiers of our cultural system, this one task will be solved.

But only then the other, greater and more difficult task arises: the construction of the new order. The links, which are now torn out of their old roots and stratifications and lie around disorderly, anarchically, must be closed into new formations and categories; if in the solution of the first task all were at first declared equal, now men must again be divided and differentiated: a new pyramidal, hierarchical system must be established. Capitalism also tried to solve this task; we know with what misfortune. It made the fundamental division into rulers and ruled according to wrong points of view: according to those of wealth, of capitalist power. This second task, too, can only be solved by the militaristic spirit by virtue of its other great guiding principle of subordination. He will bring the true aristocratic principle to rule: Let those who can rule, rule.
It's a fair translation.
 
Last edited:
Please review the link policy; you really need to quote the content you're linking, like so:
External Quote:
Thus, the first task of our time is destruction: all social stratifications and social formations created by the old system must be destroyed, individuals must be torn out of their ancestral milieus; no tradition may be considered sacred any longer; old age is regarded only as a sign of illness; the slogan is: what was, must go. The forces that carry out this negative task of our time are: in the economic-social field capitalism, in the political-spiritual field democracy. We all know how much they have already achieved, but we also know that their work is not yet completely finished. Capitalism is still fighting against the forms of the old, traditional economy, democracy is still fighting a hot battle against all forces of reaction. The militaristic spirit will complete the work. Its principle of uniformization will carry out the negative task of the time completely: when all members of our cultural circle are uniformed as soldiers of our cultural system, this one task will be solved.

But only then the other, greater and more difficult task arises: the construction of the new order. The links, which are now torn out of their old roots and stratifications and lie around disorderly, anarchically, must be closed into new formations and categories; if in the solution of the first task all were at first declared equal, now men must again be divided and differentiated: a new pyramidal, hierarchical system must be established. Capitalism also tried to solve this task; we know with what misfortune. It made the fundamental division into rulers and ruled according to wrong points of view: according to those of wealth, of capitalist power. This second task, too, can only be solved by the militaristic spirit by virtue of its other great guiding principle of subordination. He will bring the true aristocratic principle to rule: Let those who can rule, rule.
It's a fair translation.
Whoops, good call. Thanks for pasting the relevant portion.
 
I've never heard of Nahum Goldmann before, so my first thought on seeing this thread was 'Who was he? What were his motives? And what was the context of the particular passage quoted here? Was Goldmann expressing his own views, or perhaps writing in the spirit of parody or sarcasm?'

According to his Wikipedia entry, Goldmann is mainly known as a leading Zionist, and (among other things) a co-founder of the World Jewish Congress. However, the immediate context of his book on the 'Spirit of Militarism' (in fact more a tract or pamphlet than a book) is nothing to do with Zionism. Goldmann was born in 1895 in Tsarist Russia, in what is now Belarus, but his family moved to Germany when he was a child. Note that when the pamphlet was published in 1915 he was still only 19 or 20. It isn't clear from Wikipedia how he came to write it, but it was written in German and published in Stuttgart and Berlin quite early in WWI. One might guess that it is a piece of pro-German war propaganda, and reading the full text amply confirms this.

[The German text, with an English 'machine translation' is available from the Internet Archive here:

https://archive.org/details/spiritofmilitarism-bilingual/page/n11/mode/2up

The 'machine' evidently had trouble reading the Gothic typeface, resulting in a few bizarre translation glitches, e.g. the phrase 'jeder Korporal' [every corporal] comes out as 'cedar corporal', because the machine has misread 'jeder' as 'zeder'! But overall the translation does not look too bad, as far as my slight knowledge of German goes.]

Without further research into Goldmann's life, it is impossible to be sure what were his motives in writing the piece. According to Wikipedia, in 1916-18 he worked in a German government propaganda office. On a cynical view, one might suspect that in 1915 (and remember he was only 19 or 20) he thought 'Hmm, if I write some rousing pro-German propaganda, I might get a cushy job and not get sent to the trenches'. One would like to think that it did not reflect his sincere opinions. But even outstanding German minds like Thomas Mann went slightly bonkers in the war.

As for the context, the pamphlet is quite short, so I won't summarise it at length. The gist of it seems to be: 'our enemies, those awful French and English, accuse us of militarism, and say it is against the spirit of Western European civilization. But in fact militarism is great! It embodies the highest ideals of civilization, such as democracy, equality, and civic duty. And it is the spirit of the future, so it is bound to prevail.' To quote a stirring passage:
Because Germany embodies the progressive principle, it is sure of victory. Germany will be victorious, and the world will be dominated by the militaristic spirit. Whoever feels like it may regret it and sing laments; to want to prevent it is a folly and a crime against the genius of history, which England and France will have to pay heavily for having committed.
It is all fairly disgusting stuff, and, ironically, distinctly proto-fascist. The passage under discussion in this thread comes near the end of the pamphlet. It doesn't seem out of keeping with the rest, and I see no reason to interpret it as satire, unless the whole thing is a satire in the spirit of Swift's 'Modest Proposal'. The German publishers at the time seem to have taken it seriously, as they describe it as 'this beautiful work for Germany'.
 
Without further research into Goldmann's life, it is impossible to be sure what were his motives in writing the piece. According to Wikipedia, in 1916-18 he worked in a German government propaganda office. On a cynical view, one might suspect that in 1915 (and remember he was only 19 or 20) he thought 'Hmm, if I write some rousing pro-German propaganda, I might get a cushy job and not get sent to the trenches'. One would like to think that it did not reflect his sincere opinions. But even outstanding German minds like Thomas Mann went slightly bonkers in the war.
Unlike the US, Germany was still a monarchy up to WW1. It was predictable in 1915 that the war would change that, so people were understandably discussing what a post-war Germany could look like. An meritocratic hierarchy would not seem far-fetched to those accustomed to aristocracy and unaccustomed to democracy.

You correctly observe that these ideas asserted itself when democracy (aka the Weimar Republic) failed in Germany, producing the Third Reich. It took WW2 and lots of help afterwards to properly democratize the country.

To sum it up, WW1 was a time of upheaval for Germany, and it confused many Germans.
 
Unlike the US, Germany was still a monarchy up to WW1. It was predictable in 1915 that the war would change that, so people were understandably discussing what a post-war Germany could look like
Perhaps they should have been, but I don't think they were. Wouldn't it depend largely on who won? In 1915, and for long after that, the German government and people were confidently expecting victory. (Which in fact they achieved in the East in 1917 after the Bolshevik coup in Russia and the withdrawal of Russia from the war.) There was indeed some discussion within Germany on what demands they should make on the western allies after the expected German victory. Proposals included annexing Luxembourg and parts of Belgium and northern France, with the remainder of Belgium reduced to a 'vassal state' under German military occupation, and most of central Africa (at the time under British, French or Belgian rule) absorbed into the German Empire. (See David Stevenson, '1914-1918: The History of the First World War', pp. 211-12.)
 
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