The first large-scale application of strontium was in the production of sugar from sugar beet . Although a crystallisation process using strontium hydroxide was patented by Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1849  the large scale introduction came with the improvement of the process in the early 1870s. The German sugar industry used the process well into the 20th century. Before World War I the beet sugar industry used 100,000 to 150,000 tons of strontium hydroxide for this process per year.  The strontium hydroxide was recycled in the process, but the demand to substitute losses during production was high enough to create a significant demand initiating mining of strontianite in the Münsterland . The mining of strontianite in Germany ended when mining of the celestine deposits in Gloucestershire started.  These mines supplied most of the world strontium supply from 1884 to 1941. Although the celestine deposits in the Granada basin were known for some time the large scale mining did not start before the 1950s. 
Swire notes that there are three main causes: “the continuing effects of Moore’s Law — or the idea that computing power doubles every two years, the sociology of information technologists, and the different source and methods for signals intelligence today compared with the Cold War.” One factor is that spreading leaked information is easier than ever. In the past, it was often difficult to get information published. Newspapers feared legal repercussions if they shared classified information. Anyone can now release secret information, often anonymously, as with WikiLeaks. Governments cannot as easily rely on media gatekeepers to cover up leaks.