Elevated temperature data for powder metallurgy alloy René 95 generated in vacuum are presented to demonstrate that the life differences observed between surface and internally initiated failures are due to an environmental effect. The transition in behavior from a mode at low stress dominated by internal initiations to a surface dominated mode at high stress is quantitatively described in terms of both a weakest-link model and a local strain relationship. A fatigue failure mechanism is provided that explains that the natural selection of initiation site is based upon the concept that the site displaying the highest local cyclic plastic strain is the location where fatigue initiates.

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