The International Congress on Fracture (ICF) was created through the vision of Takeo Yokobori in Sendai, Japan in 1965. The primary emphasis of Yokobori was to join the micro- and macro-mechanics aspects of fracture research. The outstanding growth of ICF demonstrates that the founding effort was the right approach to the right topic at the right time. The “ICF Brand” is now recognised around the world as one of the leading international societies in the broad field of structural integrity, fracture, fatigue, creep, corrosion and reliability – from biological to geophysical materials, from nano to macro scales, from basic science to practical engineering and technology and systems modelling. In this paper we trace the history of the development of fracture research and of ICF via the many threads of, for example, the E24/E9 committees of ASTM; the US Committee on Ship Steel linked to work on the Liberty Ships in the Engineering Laboratories, Cambridge, England; early work in Germany, France and Japan – culminating in the MIT Swampscott Fracture Conference of 1959 (“ICF0”), the pre-cursor to ICF1 in Sendai in 1965. We then examine the impact of the ICF quadrennial series of international fracture conferences from ICF1 through to ICF12 in Ottawa, Canada in 2009. The key is the original research presented in some 5000 scientific papers and to be made available online on the new ICF website (www.icf-wasi.org). Finally we examine the evolution of ICF since 2009 towards ICF13 in Beijing, China in 2013 (www.ICF13.org) and forward for the next decade and beyond.