We always think of some technology as being more advanced than others, e.g. (space rocket) > (aeroplane) > (car). To what extent is such a scale absolute, and to what extent does it just come from the order of development in our history?
A specific example I'm thinking of is nuclear vs. conventional explosives. Wouldn't it be possible to have a society which has developed nukes without ever having gunpowder? I want to have a world that has the threat of devastating nuclear war, but in which all the fighting is with medieval weapons like swords and bows (no guns).
Edit after reading answers and comments: let's say the available minerals and chemicals in that world are such that gunpowder, dynamite, etc. can't be made. Nuclear bombs can be made using two pieces of uranium which are brought together by (say) powerful springs rather than conventional explosives. And I've changed the title so that I can ask later about other examples of technology developing in a different order without having to edit this question!
Thanks in advance for any answers!