Karl Stromberg: The Villain Who Plotted to Sink the World and Start Anew
Karl Stromberg is a man whose twisted vision of utopia threatens to submerge humanity in the darkest depths of the ocean. Originating from the land of Vikings, this Swedish enigma is an affluent businessman and the mastermind behind Stromberg Shipping, one of the most influential maritime enterprises of its time.
Making his first appearance as the main villain in the 1977 film, The Spy Who Loved Me, Karl Stromberg’s chilling persona was brought to life by the late Austrian actor Curt Jurgens. Delving further into his twisted psyche, Christopher Wood’s accompanying novelization offered a more intimate exploration of this malevolent character, revealing him as Sigmund Stromberg.
A man who envisions a new world order beneath the waves, Stromberg’s relentless pursuit of global annihilation and aquatic renaissance is up there with the best evil plots. Join us as we unravel the enigmatic tapestry of this Bond villain, and take a deep dive into the abyss of Karl Stromberg’s underwater realm.
As a successful businessman, Karl Stromberg is head of his own shipping firm, Stromberg Shipping, and a chain of laboratories. He has an obsession for the ocean, and lives in his secret lair, Atlantis, which is off the coast of Sardinia.
Stromberg also owns a supertanker, Liparus, which serves as his headquarters away from Atlantis. Aboard the tanker, he has a small army of soldiers clad in orange jumpsuits.
Although Stromberg has a passion for all things marine life, but he hates everything about the human race. He has a congenital condition in which his hands are webbed. It’s his personal mission to start over with an underwater civilization.
He contracts scientists Dr. Bechmann and Professor Markovitz to create a state-of-the-art Submarine Tracking System, which helps him capture the British HMS Ranger and the Potemkin, a Soviet submarine. Hijacking the subs he managed to take control of their atomic intercontinental ballistic missiles.
His plan calls for the use of firing nuclear weapons at Moscow and New York City, so the governments start a nuclear war, which he hopes will wipe out humanity. However, the Soviet and British governments send the agents Anya Amasova and James Bond respectively to investigate the disappearance of the submarines.
Stromberg meets with Dr. Bechmann and Professor Markovitz on Atlantis, informing them of the ten million dollar payments into their Swiss accounts. He reveals his suspicions about someone attempting to sell the Microfilm of the submarine tracking system schematics.
When his assistant enters the elevator, Karl Stromberg drops her into a shark tank, exposing her as the one responsible. After Bechmann and Markovitz leave, Stromberg calls henchmen Sandor and Jaws, ordering them with recovering the tracking system and killing anyone connected to it.
Stromberg watches the helicopter containing Bechmann and Markovitz leaving Atlantis and, with them having outlived their usefulness, blows the helicopter up. He then swiftly cancels the transaction and tells another secretary to inform the two men’s families that they have met with an accident and are “buried at sea.”
Bond and Amasova recover the Microfilm leading them to Stromberg’s marine research laboratory on Sardinia. Posing as a marine biologist and his assistant/wife, Bond and Amasova are granted “an audience” with Stromberg.
Karl Stromberg’s helicopter pilot, Naomi, picks up the spies and brings them to Atlantis in a speedboat, and Stromberg secretly watches them with his hidden cameras. While Bond goes to meet Stromberg, Naomi volunteers to show Amasova around.
Stromberg tests Bond’s cover by asking about the fish in his aquarium. Bond correctly deduces a certain species of fish, surprising Stromberg. Then they briefly discuss Stromberg’s ocean obsession before parting ways.
As Bond and Amasova leave, Jaws confirms it was them he fought on the train, so Stromberg instructs Jaws, Naomi, and other henchmen to let them get to shore before killing them.
Back on Sardinia, Bond and Amasova are chased, but escape the hit thanks to Bond’s sharp driving and his gadget laden Lotus Esprit submarine car. Naomi is killed when her helicopter is torpedoed down by a missile from the car while it’s submerged under the sea.
Karl Stromberg’s men then capture an American submarine, USS Wayne, with help from Liparus, and Bond and Amasova are inside with the crew.
Stromberg orders the crew to be imprisoned with the crews of the other submarines. However, as the men walk off, Stromberg recognizes Bond and Amasova and instructs his men to bring the pair to him.
Standing before him, Stromberg reveals his plan to fire nuclear missiles from the stolen submarines at Moscow and New York City, framing each other’s government and triggering World War Three. This would lead to humanity’s destruction and allow him to create a new civilization under the oceans.
Stromberg orders his men to imprison Bond with the rest of the crew of the Wayne while he takes Amasova for himself. Bond manages to free himself and the captured American, British, and Soviet crews.
United against a common enemy, the Brits, Americans and Soviet men take over the Liparus, defeating a majority of Stromberg’s henchmen. Meanwhile, in Atlantis, Stromberg starts to think of Amasova as his lover, dressing her in a revealing outfit, intending for her to be part of his new underwater civilization.
Bond foils Stromberg’s nuclear threat and heads to Atlantis to free Amasova. Stromberg tries to dro Bond into the shark infested pool, but 007 is aware of his plan and manages to evade his trap. Bond then sits down at the long dining table, opposite him.
Stromberg then tries to shoot Bond with a hidden Harpoon Gun attached under the table, but Bond evades the missile. Bond then fires his gun in the harpoon, which directs the bullets straight into Stromberg, killing him dead. 007 then rescues Amasova and they leave in an escape pod before Atlantis is obliterated.
Curd Jürgens, a renowned German-Austrian actor, was born in Munich on December 13, 1915. Encouraged by his wife, actress Louise Basler, he pursued acting and quickly gained acclaim on stage in Vienna.
However, his anti-Nazi sentiments led to his imprisonment in a Hungarian labor camp, but he later escaped and became an Austrian citizen. Jürgens played soldiers in various war films, including Des Teufels General, The Enemy Below, and The Longest Day.
He starred ina. few English-speaking films, but his most prominent role was as Bond villain Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Jürgens also had an accomplished stage career, notably playing the title role in Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival from 1973 to 1977. His final stage appearance was with the Vienna State Opera in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.