This is amazing revisionist history. It sounds more like a patriotic movie script than reality. I asked a few "oldtimers" about this a number of years ago because I didn't understand why they did it. The basic answers I got as to why everyone turned in the gold can be summarized in two main responses: 1) People didn't turn in that much gold. Most was already held by the banks as reserves against the currency outstanding and they just kept it. Family treasures were not turned in to help the country. They were sold to stay alive. 2) People couldn't afford not to exchange gold coins they might have had because they were largely out of work, needed money to spend, and gold coinage could no longer be spent. So exchange was really the only survival option. Unfortunately, most folks of adult age in 1933 are gone now, so people can make up any story they want about the event and how people heroically reacted to it. I also believe [going from memory here so corrections are welcome] there was an exemption of something like five $20 gold coins per family member that the government permitted people to keep without fear of prosecution. They weren't out to persecute the little guy as many articles today would have you believe. That was a lot of money then, more than most people could afford to keep around the house when times were rough.