I remember finding this quotation in the 1944 WT back when I was active, young, and single years ago, back when I had time to do such research. In fact, I was researching the whole 1975 thing on my own. After I found this WT study article, I interviewed one old bro. in the congo who went back to before Rutherford's death. He was surprised that I asked him about it but got very happy, even excited, that I did. He said, "Yes, there were some who felt that the preaching work was suddenly not as vital then, since according to the 'new light' revealed at the time, the end could not have come for 30+ more years. That WT study article was to chastise them not to have such a wrong attitude."
It really caused me to pause and consider how this change came about and what it meant at the time. First, how it came about. The Judge had gradually rejected many of Russell's beliefs and teachings (Christmas, the cross, the importance of modern (earthly) Israel in prophecy, some of his chronologies like the jubilees cycles, etc.), but for some reason had held on to the 6000 years from Adam's creation idea (as ending the 1870s). Fred Franz, as Rutherford's main advisor, had evidently dissented from the Judge's feelings here, so when Rutherford died, Franz, with Knorr's approval of course, set to change some doctrine. One of these was this chronology. This is what led to that 1944 WT study article.
Second, more important is the role this doctrinal change played in WTS history. Stop and think about it. Some significant institutional projects were begun, ones that would take a long time to complete, or that showed some long term commitment. 1. Gilead School. 2. Translating the Bible afresh (the NWT). 3. The Theocratic Ministry School, that is, training thousands of people to handle witnessing at the door and conducting Bible studies on their own. All of these indicate that to Knorr and Franz, the end was not just immediately around the corner. They saw a 30+ year window of opportunity to do the preaching work. If you look at the publications carefully after Rutherford's death, you will not see the "Armageddon is any day now" drumbeat that one sees today, that is, until Fred Franz began doing it in the 1960s, in that book, Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God, that is generally viewed as having started all the 1975 hype. In fact, it goes back much further, to this change in chronology that is reflected in the WT article that Splash has put up.
Finally, the whole 1975 debacle takes on a new dimension. We have Fred Franz in the mid 1940s coming to believe that the end could not come for 30+ more years. As the time drew nearer and nearer for, in his mind, the earliest possible date for the big A to arrive, he become more convinced that it had to come then. I suspect that this was a major factor in his speculations that caused the whole thing. If you look carefully at his pronouncements back then, you'll see that he was still dabbling in that jubilees cycle thing again, though he never really took off with it like the 6000 years from Adam chronology.
What I am so amazed at is that no one has ever recognized this till Splash's discovery, not Ray Franz who is supposed to have lived all thru this, not Penton who is supposed to have done all this research on the 1975 debacle, not anyone else. It's been missed by everyone, except perhaps that one old bro. that I interviewed years ago. Nice work, Splash for bringing this to light!