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 (an acronym of Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) was a fictional global terrorist organisation featured in the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, the films based on those novels, and James Bond video games. Led by evil genius and supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the organisation first formally appeared in the novel Thunderball (1961) and in the movie Dr. No (1962).SPECTRE is not aligned to any nation or political ideology, enabling the later Bond books and Bond films to be regarded as apolitical. SPECTRE began in the novels as a small group of criminals but became a vast international organisation with its own SPECTRE Island training facility in the films.

Ideology Edit

Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers! Plot and/or ending details follow.

In Ian Fleming's novels, SPECTRE was a commercial enterprise led by Blofeld. Their top-level members were 21 individuals, 18 of whom handled day-to-day affairs and were drawn in groups of three from six of the world's greatest criminal organisations—the Gestapo, SMERSH, Marshal Josip Broz Tito's secret police, the Mafia, the Unione Corse, and a massive heroin-smuggling operation based in Turkey. Their debut was in Thunderball. At the time of writing the novel (1959) Fleming believed that the Cold War might end during the two years it would take to produce the film, which would leave it looking dated; he therefore thought it better to create a politically neutral enemy for Bond. The organisation was next mentioned in The Spy Who Loved Me, when Bond describes investigating their activities in Toronto before the story begins.

The organisation's third appearance was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service where Blofeld, hired by an unnamed country or party (though the Soviet Union is implied) is executing a plan to ruin British agriculture. Blofeld, with a weakened SPECTRE would appear for the final time in You Only Live Twice.

In the films, the organisation had a more active role, often as a third party in the ongoing Cold War. The goal of world domination was only ever stated in You Only Live Twice, and SPECTRE was working not for itself but for an unnamed Asian government whose two representatives Blofeld speaks to during the movie; perhaps Red China, who earlier backed Goldfinger. SPECTRE's goals in the other films it has appeared in have always been less lofty. Its long-term strategy, however, is illustrated by the analogy of the three Siamese fighting fish Blofeld keeps in an aquarium in the film version of From Russia with Love. Blofeld notes that one fish is refraining from fighting two others until their fight is concluded. Then, that cunning fish attacks the weakened victor and kills it easily. Thus SPECTRE's main strategy was to instigate conflict between two powerful enemies, namely the superpowers, hoping that they would exhaust themselves and be vulnerable when it seizes power. SPECTRE thus worked with both sides of the Cold War. For example, in Goldfinger it (apparently as there is not actual mention of SPECTRE in Goldfinger and Auric Goldfinger himself is clearly not in league with them) worked with both China, to destabilise the Western world's economy, and the French Foreign Ministry, to kill a defector to the USSR.

In both the film and the novel Thunderball, the physical headquarters of the organisation were aid in Paris, operating behind the terrorist front organisation aiding refugees (Firco in the novels; International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons in the films).

Organizational discipline was notoriously draconian with the penalty for disobedience or failure being death. As quoted by Blofeld on several occasions: "This organisation does not tolerate failure". Furthermore, to heighten the impact of the executions, Blofeld often choosed to focus attention on an innocent member, making it appear his death is imminent, only to suddenly strike down the actual target when that person is off guard.

Fleming's SPECTRE had elements inspired by mafia syndicates and organised crime rings that were actively hunted by law enforcement in the 1950s. The strict codes of loyalty and silence, and the hard retributions that followed violations, were hallmarks of U.S. gangster rings, Mafia, the Unione Corse, the Chinese Tongs/Triads and the Japanese Yakuza/Black Dragon Society.

Leadership & Hierarchy Edit

SPECTRE was headed by the supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld who usually appeared accompanied by a white Persian cat in the movies, but not in the books. In both the films and the novels, Emilio Largowas the second in command. It is stated in the novel that if something were to happen to Blofeld, Largo would assume command. Largo appears for the first and only time in Thunderballand also in the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

The members of the head board of SPECTRE went by numbers (e.g.: Number 1) as codenames. In the novels, the numbers of members were initially assigned at random and then rotated by two digits every month to prevent detection. For example, if one was Number 1 this month, he would be Number 3 next month. At the time of Thunderball, the leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, has been assigned "Number 2", while Emilio Largo is assigned "Number 1". In the films the number indicates rank: Blofeld is always referred to as "Number 1" and Emilio Largo, in Thunderball, is "Number 2".

The SPECTRE cabinet had a total of 21 members. Blofeld was the chairman and leader because he founded the organisation, and Largo was elected by the cabinet to be second in command. A physicist named Kotze and an electronics expert named Maslov were also included in the group for their expertise on scientific and technical matters.

This particular example of numbering was perhaps deliberately borrowed from revolutionary organisations, wherein members exist in cells, and are numerically defined to prevent identification and cross-betrayal of aims. By deliberately drawing attention away from the true leader of the organisation, he was protected by masquerading as a target of lower importance, and the structure of the organisation was also obscured from intelligence services.

EON Films Edit

This list shows all SPECTRE board members mentioned in the official film series:

  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld (No. 1) –  the head of the global criminal organisation. Still at large.
    • Emilio Largo (No. 2) – the second in command and designated by Blofeld to oversee all field operations for Thunderball; killed by Domino Vitali.
      • Fiona Volpe – Emilio Largo's henchwoman.
    • Rosa Klebb (No. 3) – Shot by Tatiana Romanova
    • Count Lippe (No. 4) – Blown up by Fiona Volpe.
    • Kronsteen (No. 5) – Eliminated by Morzeny using a poison tipped boot.
    • Jacques Bouvier (No. 6)  – Strangled with fireplace poker by Bond.
    • Helga Brandt (No. 11) - Fed to piranhas by Blofeld.