The separation between fatigue crack initiation and propagation has often been defined as a macrocrack, visible in a low-power microscope. However, in the last decade, research on the small-crack effect in numerous materials has indicated that crack propagation from a microstructural defect (5 to 20 μm in size) consumes a large percentage (50 to 90%) of the total fatigue life of materials, even near the fatigue limit. Thus the initiation of a “fatigue crack” may occur early in life from defects or irregularities, such as inclusions, voids, dislocations, or slip bands. In the present paper, an assessment has been made of a total-life analysis based solely on crack propagation. The analysis is based on observations of defect sizes at initiation sites and on fatigue-crack-growth rate data for small and large cracks. The assessment was based on data from 2024-T3 aluminum alloy, 2090-T8E41 aluminum-lithium alloy, annealed Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy, and high-strength 4340 steel under either constant-amplitude or spectrum loading. Comparisons made between fatigue lives measured on notched specimens with those computed from the total-life analysis agreed well. The computed lives generally fell within the scatterband of experimental fatigue life data.