During the Northern Expedition, Wang was the leading figure in the left-leaning faction of the KMT that called for continued cooperation with the Communist Party of China and the Comintern and for a halt in the Northern Expedition. Wang’s faction, which had set up a new KMT capital at Wuhan was opposed by Chiang Kai-shek, who was in the midst of a bloody purge of Communists in Shanghai and was calling for a push north. Lacking the military or financial resources to resist the increasingly powerful Chiang, the Wang faction collapsed and Chiang Kai-shek continued his purge.
In 1930, Wang tried another abortive coup against Chiang, this time with the aid of Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan. After this failure, Wang reconciled with Chiang's Nanjing government in the early 1930s and held prominent posts for most of the decade, and accompanied the government on its retreat to Chongqing during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). In late 1938, Wang left Chongqing and eventually ended up in Shanghai, ostensibly to negotiate with the Japanese invaders. In March of 1940, however, he agreed to become head of state of the Japanese puppet Central China government based in Nanjing serving as the Head of Legislative Yuan and National Government Chairman (行政院長兼國府主席) until his death four years later in Nagoya.
For his role in World War II, Wang has been vilified by most post-World-War-II Chinese historians.
See also: History of the Republic of China