During his service in the expeditionary forces, Zhang became involved in the political struggle between Wang Jingwei (Wang Ching-wei) and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) as to who should be the leader of a reunified China. Zhang cooperated with Wang and staged a coup in November 1927 to recapture Guangdong, at that time in the hands of the pro-Jiang Guangxi (Kwangsi) clique. At this juncture, the Chinese Communists staged the abortive Guangzhou uprising in early December. Defeated by the Guangxi clique and alleged to have a role in the Communist coup, Zhang left the army and retired to Japan. In early 1929, he returned to China, commanding several divisions against warlord forces. Nevertheless, Zhang was again involved in anti-Jiang coalitions centered around Wang in Guangzhou.
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 brought the reconciliation of Jiang and Wang. Zhang traveled abroad on a military inspection tour in 1932 until being recalled in 1935. He was then assigned the dual task of pacifying Chinese Communist areas and preparing for a full-scale Japanese invasion. When the Sino-Japanese War erupted in 1937, Zhang took command of the Eighth Army Group in the unsuccessful defenses of Shanghai in Jiangsu (Kiangsu) Province, Wuhan in Hubei (Hupeh), and Guangzhou.
In late 1938, Zhang was made commander of the Fourth War Zone of Guangdong and Guangxi. The situation in south China remained relatively stable until 1944, when the Japanese launched the devastating ichi-go Offensive, which forced Zhang's forces into major retreats. At year's end, Zhang relocated the Fourth War Zone to western Guangxi, reorganizing the military forces and resisting any further Japanese advance. In May 1945, Zhang retook Guangxi, and he returned to Guangzhou in September to receive the surrender of the Japanese forces.
Following the war, Zhang became director of Jiang's headquarters at Guangzhou until late 1947, when he served as commander of the Chinese land forces in the Chinese Civil War. In June 1949, Zhang went to Hong Kong, where he was associated with the so-called Third Force Movement. He avoided politics thereafter. Zhang died in Hong Kong on 10 March 1980. Errol M. Clauss and Debbie Law
Boyle, J. H. China and Japan at War, 1937–1945: The Politics of Collaboration. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1972.; Chi, His-sheng. Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937–1945. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1982.; Marr, David G. Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.; McAlister, John T. Viet Nam: The Origins of Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969.
Errol M. Clauss and Debbie Law