Many manufacturing processes can induce residual stresses in components. These residual stresses influence the mean stress during cyclic loading and so can influence the fatigue life. However, the initial residual stresses induced during manufacturing may not remain stable during the fatigue life. This paper provides a broad and extensive literature survey addressing the stability of surface and near-surface residual stress fields during fatigue, including redistribution and relaxation due to static mechanical load, repeated cyclic loads, thermal exposure and crack extension. The implications of the initial and evolving residual stress state for fatigue behaviour and life prediction are addressed, with special attention to fatigue crack growth. This survey is not a critical analysis; no detailed attempt is made to evaluate the relative merits of the different explanations and models proposed, to propose new explanations or models or to provide quantitative conclusions. Primary attention is given to the residual stresses resulting from four major classes of manufacturing operations: shot peening and related surface treatments, cold expansion of holes, welding and machining.