Irish membership of NATO or any European defence organisations arouses deep hostility in a substantial section of the Irish public. This arises from a popular perception that the Irish state maintained a fastidious and unpartisan neutrality during the Second World War. However, of necessity Irish neutrality was biased towards the Allies. The Irish government only maintained a scrupulous facade of diplomatic and military neutrality. This served to conceal substantial material subsistence to Britain and the United States. Ironically, de Valera government's appearance of meticulous neutrality not only served to deceive the Third Reich but also the Irish population and Allied opinion. This allowed the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, to repeatedly claim that Irish neutrality was a danger to Britain knowing full well that Irish neutrality protected Britain's flank, benefited the British war economy and facilitated substantial Irish recruitment to the British armed forces. MI5 told him so. What was even more tragic was that the illusion of Irish wartime neutrality was used to justify unreflective Irish neutrality and badly damaged Ireland's reputation in the Free World.