Lamenting the cynicism of world players in the 1930s and 1940s, Francis said "the great powers divided up Europe like a cake."
He also cited what he called the "great tragedy of Armenia" in the last century. "So many died. I don't know the figure, more than a million, certainly. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way," the pope said.
In April, the pope angered Turkey when he referred to the slaughter of Armenians by Turkish Ottomans as "genocide."
In today's world, he told the young people: "Everything is done for money." He criticizes those advocating peace while manufacturing or selling arms.
Francis reiterated his view that conflicts in the world today are tantamount to "A Third World War in segments."
You know, Canada stands accused of committing cultural genocide. ISIS stands accused of committing genocide.
Lots of folk in this country getting their wrists slapped after double-dipping or misspending public dollars or blatantly abusing power.
"I don't think about anything unless I'm paid to" I've heard more than one high-priced consultant say - sometimes in conjunction with that merry line, "you don't have to know what you're talking about - just sound confident while you say it."
Yet, of course, there's no lesson in what the Pope has to say - not for history's actors. They are smart, we are dumb, as one of them told me years ago.
We are repeating mistakes that could and should have been prevented, with even a tad more foresight.