An unusual rupture process is described. It consists of the sudden appearance of internal cracks in bonded rubber cylinders at a well-defined and comparatively small tensile load. The cracks occur in all the vulcanizates examined, and in particularly weak rubbers are found to cause failure. Their appearance may also lead to marked changes in the load-deflexion relationship. A theoretical treatment is presented on the basis of a proposed criterion for crack formation. It is assumed that they form when the negative hydrostatic pressure component of the applied stress reaches a critical value. It is shown by means of the theory of large elastic deformations that a critical value of the negative pressure exists at which any cavity in the rubber will burst, and the calculated value is shown to be in satisfactory agreement with experiment. Moreover, the theory successfully predicts the observed dependence of the cracking stress on the Young's modulus of the rubber, its virtual independence of the rubber strength and extensibility, and the general form of the observed variation of cracking stress and crack disposition with the thickness of the test-piece.