The mechanical behavior of nano-scale metallic glasses was investigated by in situ compression tests in a scanning electron microscope. Platinum-based metallic glass nano-pillars were fabricated by thermoplastic forming. The nano-pillars and corresponding bulk substrate were tested in compression over the range of room temperature to glass transition. Stress–strain curves of the nano-pillars were obtained along with in situ observation of their deformation behavior. The bulk substrate as well as nano-pillars showed an increase in elastic modulus with temperature which is explained by diffusive rearrangement of atomic-scale viscoelastic units. © 2016, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.