7

From the script of this scene:

Tarkin: In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this station's destructive power on your home planet of Alderaan.

Leia: No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can't possibly–

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Hilarious gifs like this one notwithstanding, was Leia telling the truth?

Did Alderaan really have no weapons? If not, why?

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    Which part of "We have no weapons" was unclear? Are you accusing her of lying? – Valorum May 14 '16 at 22:32
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    @Marakai - From the novelisation "Nonetheless, he turned to them and insinuated himself into their conversation. “The defense systems on Alderaan, despite the Senator’s protestations to the contrary, were as strong as any in the Empire. I should conclude that our demonstration was as impressive as it was thorough.”" – Valorum May 14 '16 at 22:40
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    "Tarkin turned to him, nodding. “The Senate is being informed of our action at this very moment. Soon we will be able to announce the extermination of the Alliance itself, as soon as we have dealt with their main military base. Now that their main source of munitions, Alderaan, has been eliminated, the rest of those systems with secessionist inclinations will fall in line quickly enough, you’ll see.” – Valorum May 14 '16 at 22:41
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    @WadCheber - She (Leia) was the ambassador, a representative of her government. – Valorum May 14 '16 at 23:13
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    One guy had a pocket knife. He was promptly exiled for life. – Rogue Jedi May 14 '16 at 23:15
4

The Ultimate Star Wars factbook confirms Leia's statement that Alderaan is without planetary weapons and explains why.

The planet holds true to its peaceful beliefs, refusing armaments even as conflict troubles the Galaxy

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