Plates are easily susceptible to buckling under compression, in particular when plate’s thickness becomes sufficiently small with respect to others plate’s sizes; such a mode of failure is often prevalent with respect to strength failure. The buckling phenomena under tension loading can also occur, especially in plates containing defects such as cracks or holes; when the buckling load is reached, complex wrinkling deflection patterns in compressed regions develops around such imperfections. In the present paper, the buckling analysis of variously cracked rectangular elastic thin-plates under tension and compression is considered. A short explanation of the buckling phenomena in plates is recalled and several numerical analyses, carried out by using the Finite Element Method (FEM), are performed in order to determine the critical load multiplier, both in compression and in tension, by varying some plates’ parameters. In particular, the critical load multiplier is determined for different relative crack length, crack orientation and Poisson’s coefficient of the plate’s material which is made to range between 0.1 and 0.49. Moreover a simple approximate theoretical model to explain and predict the buckling phenomena in cracked plates under tension is proposed and some comparisons are made with FE numerical results in order to assess its reliability in predicting buckling load multipliers. Finally, the obtained results are graphically summarised (in dimensionless form) in several graphs and some interesting conclusions are drawn.