A large number of fracture mechanics experiments were carried out using a variety of specimens in order to investigate the applicability of the J-Q approach to initiation and growth of cracks. The study was performed at different temperatures spanning the transition interval of a pressure vessel steel. A comparison of the cleavage initiation levels with the model by Ritchie et al. (RKR) was also conducted. The experiments did not show, although the scatter was large, any systematic geometry effects that could not be explained within the framework of the J-Q concept. This was also the case for surface-cracked plates subjected to nonproportional loading. The trends of the dependence of the initiation on constraint are in qualitative agreement with the RKR model, although this model seems to underestimate this dependence for the current material. The ductile initiation level seems to be fairly independent of constraint but showed a tendency of variation with temperature.