Friction stir welding (FSW) is a new solid-state welding process that can produce low-cost and high-quality joints of especially aluminum and mgnesium alloys. The welding zone consists of different regions with characteristic microstructuralal details such as a weld nugget, a thermo-mechanically-affected zone (TMAZ) and a heat-affected zone (HAZ). Tension-compression fatigue tests were performed using FSW aluminum alloy AA5454 sheet specimens at a stress ratio of –1. To investigate the propagation behavior of small fatigue cracks in those regions, an artificial defect was introduced into different defined locations in the FSW specimens as well as into the parent material specimens. The crack propagation rates depended on the defined locations and were a function of the hardness; that is, the lower the hardness was, the higher the propagation rate was. The crack paths were mostly perpendicular to the applied stress axis, but some crack paths exhibited deviations by the influence of the local anisotropy of the microstructure.