This is my first question so I apologize for some inadvertent mistakes.

My question revolves around an excerpt from book called "Between Churchill and Stalin The Soviet Union Great Britain and the Origins of the Grand Alliance" which I am reading right now. What bothers me exactly is this particular fragment:

“What did we gain by concluding the non-aggression pact with Germany? We secured our country peace for a year and a half and the opportunity of preparing its forces to repulse fascist Germany should it risk an attack on our country despite the pact. This was a definite advantage for us and a disadvantage for fascist Germany.” “Germany ...,” Stalin claimed, “has lost politically by exposing itself in the eyes of the entire world as a bloodthirsty aggressor.”

I am asking for explanation of the meaning of "should" in this context. Is it expressing possibility, describing purpose or condition. Is it adding emphasis? I am puzzled and hope you'll find a solution.

  • Should it risk (formal) = if it risked. e.g. Should you have any more questions, feel free to ask = If you have any more questions...
    – Centaurus
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:16
  • I agree with the answers below but I would more accurately translate Should it to If it were to
    – S.Frogile
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


Should in this excerpt basically means "in the case that." In the context of the passage you included, the Soviet Union signed the non-aggression pact with Germany to prepare itself "in case" Germany risked an attack on their country. Yes, it is expressing possibility. The Soviet Union decided to defend themselves because, otherwise, it was possible for them to be attacked.

Another example:

I studied all night so that I will be prepared should my teacher give our class a pop quiz.

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